There is often a lot of pressure placed on caregivers always to know what’s going on. It can be terrifying not having all the answers. Although it’s important that caregivers can meet the needs of their loved ones, the extra pressure does not serve a purpose. We put a lot of stress on ourselves to know what to do next, and it’s fair to say there is no manual you are handed when becoming a caregiver. Being there for your loved one and walking the journey with them is a huge relief. You don’t have to know what to do next.
There is often a lot of shame when caregivers don’t know what is coming next or when they don’t have all the answers. We challenge you to make room for the unknowns and take some of the weight off your shoulders. When placed in a difficult situation, we often want to fix what is happening but cannot, which is okay. Allow the unknowns to be what they are, and tell yourself that you can still have peace.
Trauma is all too common, with around 70% of people having dealt with a traumatic experience. Even with a large percentage of our population experiencing trauma, we still don’t talk about and discuss ways to work through those emotions. You may hear in movies or comics that there was a turning point or origin story for a character which usually stems from trauma. Now that doesn’t mean for each person trauma will lead to this huge turning point event. It just means that trauma can provide learning lessons. This can mean many different things to each person, but here are a few points to think about:
- Vulnerability is okay.
Showing our emotions and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. In times of hardship, being vulnerable can help us process our emotions. Know that it is okay not to be okay.
- Trauma can show in many ways.
Everyone deals will trauma differently, and no one’s paths are the same. Understanding where you are in your journey and not pressuring yourself to fix the situation.
- “Negative” emotions are normal.
Feeling angry or sad about what you are going through is normal. Find ways to sit with your frustrations and pain or talk to friends and family. This can also be where finding meaning comes into play – it is not an easy task, but finding how your loved one has shaped you into the person you are today can help you process anticipatory grief and accept these difficult circumstances.
- Have compassion for yourself.
Establishing peace when experiencing anticipatory grief and wearing all the caregiving hats is not easy, have compassion and empathy for yourself. Practice mindfulness, find your people, and sit with your grief, frustrations, and pain. Give yourself the time and space to process what you are going through. Do not feel compelled to do everything at once. Take in the happy moments that come and think of caregiving as a journey. It is not easy. Keep coming back to yourself. You’ll get to where you need to be.