Piling on the pressure
And why I’ve decided to give myself a break.
Being a carer, there is a LOT of extreme and constant pressure on you. Your life becomes something that is not about you at all. Your entire existence becomes wrapped up in looking after the person that you care for.
A large number of these carers will, at some time or the other, experience burnout. They will get to the point where, no matter how much they want to, they literally cannot physically or emotionally, give any more.
I know this feeling, and it isn’t a nice one. Dependent on the needs of the person that you’re caring for, there can be immense pressure:
“If I’m not there when they need me, will they hurt themselves?”
These thoughts can go round and round in the mind of a carer, until the fear is almost crippling. I know it was for me.
Carers very rarely put themselves first. They always come second, never will they put their own needs above their loved one.
I can remember days when I was so exhausted, and had the beginnings of a migraine, and even then, I made sure that my sister was okay and that she had everything that she needed before I actually took the painkillers I needed and took myself to bed.
Since my sister passed away in 2017, I have been struggling to adjust to a life where I am not a carer. The habits I learnt back then have taken a long time to break. For example, I used to try and cram as much of my writing and art and craft into the morning as I possibly could, because I knew that the minute that midday came, I would be needed to fulfil my carer duties.
Although this has not been the case for more than a year now, I have only just been able to allow myself time in the mornings in order to relax, in the knowledge that I can now, also work in the afternoon.
It sounds so simple and so stupid, and yet, it has been a real issue for me.
This week, I have, rather than giving myself daily schedules, simply set out the minimum number of hours I wish to spend on each thing (writing, studying, artwork, crafting). I haven’t really looked at whether I am on track or not. I am just simply allowing myself to spend the time working on these things, but the targets being there helps my badly behaved brain to not panic about not achieving enough.
Through this process, I am giving myself permission to have some breathing room, and so far, my productivity has flourished because of it.
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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.