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Different Kinds of Guilt

heatherkrillheatherkrill Moderator Posts: 60 Moderator
10 Comments First Anniversary 5 Likes 5 Awesomes

This is my first official Reeve Connect discussion, and I'm not really sure I'm doing it correctly.  However, someone will probably clue me in if I'm not.  I write a regular caregiver blog for Reeve, and in a recent blogpost, I expected some commentary.  I'm generally surprised by what gets a lot of shares or likes and what doesn't.  So this was a passage from the blog where was very honest about how I'm feeling at the end of long winter with my patience in caregiving between working full time, being a mom and wife, and pursuing my own secondary career as a writer.  

"For example under the home page for relationships, there was this great post called “Managing your guilt about everything and anything” by Dr. Dan Gottlieb. I read it once and then a second time, and then I read all of the comments below the thread, and when I got to the one by WAGS, I took a really deep breath. Geoff has been traveling for two weeks in Bulgaria for work, and as much as I love and miss him, I do NOT miss taking care of him. There I said it. I said it out loud, and I feel pretty awful for saying it loud. But his travel allowed me to take time for me and not be a crazy maniac in the morning yelling at my kids to get ready before school. I’m wondering if I should put that in the Reeve Connect under that thread. Or, does that just make me look like a terrible person? It may to some, but I’m guessing that is a very real feeling of guilt for a lot of people like me. I recently shared Dr. Gottlieb’s post with a friend who cared for a family member for a long time, and that person has since passed away. He feels guilty for having time again and being able to choose what to do at that time. But that thread helped him too. That thread in Reeve Connect validated feelings which needed validation.

I can’t wait for Geoff to come home. But it’s also okay that I got to have some time without him. Thank you WAGS! Thank you, Dr. Gottlieb! Thank you to everyone else who has begun to weigh in at Reeve Connect. Thank you Reeve Community for developing this forum, and thank you to our own community for our endless support."

Since this is a discussion thread, I should pose a question, right?  How do we articulate to others in caregiving capacity that the spectrum of emotion is natural?  I had always been very independent and about 3 years ago I stopped saying, "Yes, we are all set, but thank you" whenever someone offered help.  How do you let others take care of you from time to time?

Comments

  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Moderator Posts: 384 Moderator
    100 Awesomes 100 Likes 100 Comments First Anniversary
    @heatherkrill this is a hard one! Its so difficult to allow others to look after YOU following your role as the ultimate multitasking caregiver to your partner. However, this is SO important. We always say to be a good caregiver you have to look after YOU first. This means organizing your life to suit Your needs - even if its tough at first. Managing your time to include things that please and make you happy, as well as looking after your own physical and mental health is important as well. This may seem impossible, but, with PRACTICE, its not.

    I found it very hard to look after ME and my emotional and physical needs after being the sole caregiver to my partner after his SCI. I felt guilty for leaving him alone, and used to take it on myself to sacrifice the spare time I did have during the day to spend more of it dealing with things that were about him. After I met Elena, I started taking more breaks, and practicing my own self care and letting others help me out. It took time, but after forcing myself, I am now able to organize my life how I want it, while still being a full time caregiver. It is possible, it just takes a lot of mental work.

    I still feel guilt from time to time when I leave my husband alone, but now he has more to do for himself with work and studying, so this takes a lot of my guilt away. He has found things to focus on which is great. I find that my stress and resentment has decreased tremendously, and I am more tolerant toward him. 

    Balance is always key, and while finding that balance can be super hard, its worth it.

    Please email us anytime [email protected] or join our private discussion group on Facebook if you want to confide privately with other women like yourself in a safe setting (WAGS only!!)

    - Brooke and Elena 
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
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