'As carers we put our dreams on hold - but we can learn to thrive'
- Credit: Juliyah Brown
How did you feel when your received the news that the person that you loved or looked up to is now totally dependent on you?
Did you ask the question: "Why me? What did I do to deserve this way of life?"
Listen, my question to you is: "Why not you?"
Who would you like to wish this upon instead? Umm, think about that for a moment, how do you feel now?
What I will share with you is simple, however, it is not easy as it requires conscious effort and continuous practice. For me, it is work in progress.
As a carer I have felt invisible and voiceless. At times, I felt like a doormat. Where other family and friends just used and abused my kindness, perceived as a weakness, of which, the truth be told, I allowed it, I gave them permission to run me ragged and then insult me stating I was emotionally unstable. Yes, I felt guilty, angry, frustrated, sad and even at one point felt suicidal. These feeling are very, very real. For some readers that may actually be raw, as you are in it right now.
As a carer our primary focus is to provide, support and help the cared for and we put our hopes, dreams and goals on hold, which feels at times like eternity.
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It is not easy to see others, both family members and friends, appearing to be moving up in life, while feeling left behind - that life is just passing by. This feeling of loss, quickly dissipates, when we see the smile, laughter and catch phrases from our loved ones, which instantly gives us a sense of joy, peace and good vibrations .
I know caring is not for everyone and some family members may simply expect you to just get on with it. Your cries for help, such as "let’s create a rota to work around loved ones" can simply fall upon deaf ears. In fact it may actually cause a ruckus as you are perceived as dictating over others, when you are simply just saying: "I get tired too. I need a respite. I would like to treat myself now again without worrying if my loved one is alright”.
In fact, some family members may despise you for having a voice to ask please help.
As a result I have become very introverted, suffering for analysis paralysis, because I want to do things well, I delay in making decisions or at other times I make hasty decisions to feel at least I have done something.
Yes, I have made mistakes, apologised profusely, yet some family members may simply almost relish in delight in your tireless pursuit to wrong a right situation and may add additional burdens and barriers almost to make your life a living hell. I hope most carers do not have to go through this torture.
However, despite these for ever appearing obstacles, I rise and so can you.
As carers, it is important that we eat, sleep, exercise and create tap into a support system to avoid burnout and to move from surviving to thriving. As carers we need to fall in love with ourselves again. We have to become our very own rescue party and cheerleaders. It is essential that we operate from overflow and not an empty cup, as operating on empty is a key component for adversely impacting your physical, emotional, social, mental, economic, health and wellbeing.
As a carer, I decided to turn a negative situation, which almost cost me my life and sanity, into good use and created a self help toolkit. It is a holistic healing self discovery journey journal, where you meet your past present and future self - you are the content creator - as it is filled with positivity, love, hope, personal power. It is nourishing, nurturing and creates and enabling environment for you to flourish, to give yourself permission to live your life on your terms, it will break you down, build you up, breakthrough to break free and look at wealth creation opportunities.
So, as you can see, you can be author, entrepreneur and carer.
So take the first step of making a positive change in your life today.
Start with: “I am somebody; I am loved; I am loveable; I am amazing; today is a new day filled with new opportunities, new challenges and new positive breakthroughs. It is up to me to change my life. Yes, change begins with me.”
Juliyah Brown is the Brent-based author of Crushed to Sparkle. Visit www.crushedtosparkle.com