Self-Care Series #2 What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?

Self-Care Dementia Caregiver

So seriously, this whole self-care dementia caregiver thing is hard.

This whole series of posts on What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?, …epic FAIL.  Nothing.  I.  Have.  Done.  Nothing.

If you missed the first two parts of the series, you can go back to them.  I’ll wait for ya.  Otherwise, read on.

Here’s the Series IntroHere’s #1, which I suppose really is #2, but whatever.

I haven’t even gotten a post done, since I had nothing to report on taking care of myself!

I spent most of the week before Thanksgiving without a car. My car needed repairs, then my husband’s car was in the shop. Michael worked seven days that week. Not able to help much there. My mom was on vacation, def no help there. Throw the holiday in and well you know…

Something happened last week that proved I desperately need self-care. What should have been a minor disappointment turned into me spending the morning in a rage followed by a crying jag on the phone with my husband at lunch. Then the rest of the afternoon and evening I pretty much laid on the couch in a daze.

My oldest friend/cousin and her daughter were supposed to stay with us for ten days. We were all very excited, especially me. I was looking for some good old fashioned talk about whatever, whenever and whoever without judgment girl talk. Those plans dissolved before my eyes into them staying at someone else’s house and not seeing them for 3 days after they arrived.

She came home because another family member is sick. I realize this isn’t about me. My head knows this, but my heart was broken. I have no life outside this house. Taking care of my kids, my grandma and my husband. Is. All. I. Do. I was looking forward to this for me, for us. This was supposed to be girl time, for both of us.

I know it all sounds so selfish but…

My whole life I have wrapped and bent myself around the needs of everyone else. I have changed my plans. Kept my mouth shut. Whittled myself down until I barely recognize myself anymore.

This isn’t because anyone told me too. Isn’t because of some event that happened to me. It is because I have done it to myself. Because I have always been a people pleaser. Because I have always perceived speaking up for myself as conflict. Saying how I feel and asking for what I want makes me uncomfortable.

Now at 45, I want to have an actual temper tantrum because my friend isn’t sleeping over! For real. Like I said…pretty clear I need to do something. It’s way out of control when a small disappointment puts you over the edge like a three year old having a meltdown in the candy aisle at Target.

If you’re anything like me, you need help and you need it now. And if you’re really like me, you find it incredibly difficult to leave the house alone. An overwhelming number of caregivers have almost no help from others. You feel isolated and it makes finding time for yourself next to impossible.

After being all upset about no house guests we eventually had my cousins daughter stay for a few nights.   And we had fun times as a group, including another high school friend home for the holiday.

We even got ourselves on skates for the first time in 25 years!  Though I did pee a little the one time I fell.  Hey, 3 kids and still high school weight, something’s gotta give right?  Besides, I’ve warned you about my oversharing.

Great for the kids. Great for my cousin. But seriously not much help to me. The efficiency meter was seriously low and the self-care meter was even lower.

Guilt for not getting an update to you hasn’t helped. Though I am working hard on a resource library for my subscribers.

So this week’s idea can be done at home. Is incredibly easy. And it’s free. Can I get a “Hell Ya”? Thank you. And you’re welcome.

The best part is you can do as little or as much as you want, whenever you can.

This one will help you feel less isolated. Lift you up. Give you tips. Help you in ways you didn’t even know you needed, yet. So what is it already….

Find a Facebook support group.   Wait, don’t leave.   I know,  I know.  I hate Facebook too.  In fact, if it wasn’t for the support groups for blogging and caregiving, I wouldn’t even be on it.  Really? Yup, really.

I joined a few about a month ago. Oh, how I wish I did it years ago.

There are support groups specific to every kind of disease/health challenge. They have ones that are specific to caregivers. Even specific to caregivers of those diseases.

My personal favorite is the Dementia Caregivers Support Group.

It is a private group, so you have to request to join, but as far as I know they don’t turn anyone away. It’s just a safeguard to keep spammers out. It also helps so that all of your private information stays in the group. As well as, your raging rants, or is that just me. #sorrynotsorry

My favorite part…you can say whatever you want with no judgment or you can just hang around and “listen”. You will find people who are going through the same experiences. Find answers, advice, ideas and oh so important, validation for your feelings. They really understand. Because truly who else would? That makes it better than one-on-one therapy. Though I wouldn’t discount having that in your survival arsenal if needed.

I have spent time “listening” where dementia may take us. Heard challenges I hope we never experience. Found others who also have no outside help. Felt less guilty for less than honorable feelings. Wished others peace. Told fellow caregivers what worked for us. Received “hugs” for our own rough times. Sent sympathy and prayers to those in need. Laughed. Cried. And found solace with this whole wonderful group that has been brought together because of such a horrible disease.

In fact one member scared the crap out of me. For the better. She’s my age and she had two stents put in this week!

WTF?  How did I get old enough for that!

She urged the group to take care of themselves. I made an appointment for a physical as soon as I read her message. No fooling guys. Take care of yourself.

The group has been perfect for a talkative, over-sharing introvert like me. How is that even a real thing? But I am living proof. Maybe it’s kinda like Tarzan, aristocrat raised by wolves thing. An extrovert raised by no nonsense, judgmental types. Hmmm…maybe one-on-one therapy might not be a bad idea.

So this week I challenge you to find a group that works for you. You might need to try a few. Join a bunch, one will stand out. It’s true in my support groups for dementia, as well as my blogging groups. The cream will rise to the top.

Do it for you. You’re worth it!

Join a group, or 5. Hit me up in the comments or by email if you’re shy. Tell me how it worked for you.

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Self-Care Series #2 What Have You Done for Yourself Lately

3 thoughts on “Self-Care Series #2 What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?

  1. Kseniya says:

    Great post! Joining a support group for my mom when she was taking care of my grandpa with dementia would have helped. It was really hard on my parents. Its good that you are getting the right support and have an outlet.

    • Laurie O'Rourke says:

      Kseniya, Thank you for commenting. 🙂 It’s sad to see so many people with little support. Dementia has unique challenges for sure, people don’t quite understand unless they are really participating in care like your parents.

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