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Caregiver No Longer Needed: What Now?

Let’s take the best case scenario. You’re no longer a caregiver because your loved one has gotten better. They’ve turned the corner and are on the mend destined for health and independence once more. Of course you’re thrilled for them. All your careful nursing has been rewarded.

But what about you? What happens when you’re abruptly bounced out of the role of caregiver and back into so-called normal life?

You’d think it’d be an easy transition. Whew! That’s over! Now I can go back to…

But what if going back isn’t an option? Perhaps you quit your job to be a full-time caregiver and your old position has already been filled. Here in Wales the job market is booming but that’s not true everywhere.

Or perhaps having tasted the freedom of a flexible schedule, you’re loath to return to the 9-to-5 daily grind. You can no longer tolerate the domination of an out-of-touch boss and the slipshod antics of your work mates. It’s just not on.

But it’s not merely the question of ‘What do I do now’ that makes the transition from Caregiver to Civilian difficult. There’s also the problem of letting go, mentally. The other day Rhys mumbled something about ‘Fetching the salt’ and I screamed ‘I’ll get it’ before I realised that he’s perfectly capable of fetching and carrying for himself now. I no longer need to be his gofer. Although it was a lot of work, it’s a surprisingly difficult habit to break.

You can store away the walkers and the crutches in the attic under the eaves, but it’s more difficult to shift gears mentally. I’m finding it difficult to adjust  to Rhys being halfways healthy and able to shift for himself like any other healthy person. Waiting on him, hand and foot, has been my job for so long, it’s hard-wired in my psyche. Rhys sits; I do everything else. He stirs, I leap to my feet to prevent him from rising, walking, tripping, falling. We caregivers just can’t switch off overnight!

But I must. Rhys needs to walk, to exercise. He needs to reclaim his strength, his health and his balance. After so many years of pain and illness, his leg muscles are atrophied. They need to be strengthened and that means pain.

Most importantly, Rhys craves independence, activity and work to buoy his sagging self-esteem. His confidence needs sunshine and fresh air just as much as his body does. So I must stand aside, pathetically bleating ‘Be careful’ like a mother watching her child toddle off on his own for the first time.

In the meantime, what am I to do with myself? I won’t return to the office with all its politics and intrigues, backstabbing and affairs. Time to grow the freelancing business. To attend to my work, my physical health and my mental well-being. Time to stop being a caregiver and just be Rhy’s wife.

But it’s not easy. It took time to become a skilled caregiver and it’ll take time to unlearn it as well.

Caregiver No Longer Needed: What Now?


Ivy Blonwyn

Ivy Blonwyn is a Welsh freelance writer and photographer. She and her husband have been trying, unsuccessfully, to start a family for several years. Ivy can relate to the pain, confusion, jealousy and sense of injustice that accompanies infertility. But she also knows the pain of being a step-mother to children who’s vindictive birth mother has systematically employed Parental Alienation to distance them from their birth-father, Ivy’s husband, Rhys. Her articles, often illustrated with her photos, are intended to validate and comfort those who suffer from infertility, Parental Alienation and the pain of sexual abuse. She finds solace in indulging her passion for plein air photography during long tramps with her husband through the fields, hills and castles of Cardiff. Follow Ivy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fullheartemptyarms or contact her at [email protected]


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APA Reference
Blonwyn, I. (2019). Caregiver No Longer Needed: What Now?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 5, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/full-heart/2019/07/caregiver-no-longer-needed-what-now/

 

Last updated: 30 Jul 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.