“Help, I need somebody. Help, Not just anybody. Help, you know I need someone. When I was younger so much younger than today. I never needed anybodies help in anyway. But now those days are gone, I’m not so self-assured. And now I find, I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors. Help me if you can I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you being round. Help me get my feet back on the ground. Won’t you please, please help me. And now my life has changed in oh so many ways, my independence seems to have vanished in the haze. But every now and then I feel so insecure, I know that I just need you like, I’ve never done before…” – lyrics belong to the Beatles, but I was listening to the McFly version.
It’s ok to sometimes feel like you want to scream. Or run away. I know this because I have been feeling this way. Many times lately I could have happily got in my car and driven into the horizon. Nothing in particular has triggered it, but I feel like I’m stuck in a pit, spinning round and round trying to find an exit. But I can’t see the exit because I’m spinning so fast. It’s a normal reaction to an abnormal situation; no money, no job and the pressure of caring are abnormal situations, and thrown all together are something else entirely. I suppose recently I have been worrying about when the worst happens. What happens when nan dies? I feel like I’ll lose all focus and purpose in life, she is currently everything I have. Everything I do I am thinking about nan and the impact for her, and when that is taken away I’m worried of how I’ll cope.
I saw my Admiral Nurse this week and mentioned how I’d be feeling, and she reassured me so well I nearly broke down in the middle of the coffee shop. She helped me realise that there are things I can do to help myself. Rule Number 1 as a carer: Remember to care for yourself. For those of you currently in a pit with me, I want you all to know there is an exit to the pit, just climb out. It’ll be hard work but it’s possible, you just have to stop spinning long enough to see it.
To avoid depression and stress whilst caring, the Admiral Nurse told me there are three things you need in your life. Sleep, 3 healthy meals a day, and exercise. All of which I have been ignoring lately. For a good nights sleep, make sure you have a bedtime routine. And if you can’t sleep don’t worry about it, it’s nothing you weren’t missing in the first place. And the anxiety of not sleeping will be keeping the adrenaline pumping, keeping you awake. Lavender oil and warm milk can really help. Make sure you are eating well enough to keep your body going, healthy body healthy mind and all that! And exercise, it doesn’t have to be much, a five minute walk can do wonders, or even just exercising in the garden.
The Admiral Nurse also gave me some homework this week. I have to make a list of all the amazing things I have achieved to look at when I feel low. I was a little sceptical, currently I feel like everything I do fails, or I could have done better (damn the pit). But she made me think. Every carer should do this list. Because we are amazing. There are alternatives but we chose to do this for our loved ones. Which makes us amazing. My admiral nurse told me so. We are constantly learning and by sharing our experiences we are doing something else amazing. Educating and supporting others.
So remember, YOU ARE AMAZING!!! I have so much love for all of you, carers or not, if you’re reading this you’re supporting not only me, but all my other readers too. So once again I thank you for reading and sharing.
PS It is OK to ask for help (but maybe don’t do it by singing the Beatles/Mcfly at people, they may not appreciate it).
I hope you all have made your lists?
What a difference a day makes (or a night in my case, one good night’s sleep). After seeing the Admiral Nurse I kicked myself up the bottom, bought some lavender, after a recommendation from a Twitter follower I bought some Camomile Tea and I went out to see a friend. I was exhausted when I got back (probably due to not really having been out much lately) but I felt amazing. So I would like to thank her for uplifting me and putting the spring back in my step. And then I slept, all night. Did not wake once. I know that these solutions will not work for everybody, and I know that getting out is not always feasible. But I really would suggest it to anyone feeling low, especially carers who do not get much time alone. I have been feeling not great, but OK for the last couple of days, and definitely feel more capable of tackling a few more days!
Thankyou to all who have been supporting me, and other carers. Especially to all my lovely new followers on Twitter #dementiachallengers are all such lovely people, and made me realise none of us is truly alone in the fight we are fighting, and the lives we are living.