Hi there Careblazer, welcome back. There’s been a theme lately inside my care course that we’ve been spending some time talking about during our live Q&A sessions and I want to talk about it here as well since I’m guessing many of you can relate.
It’s about guilt...specifically guilt about putting a loved in a nursing home while you get to enjoy life. One of the course members talked about not being able to enjoy herself when she would go out to eat or to the movies because she feels such guilt for her husband who is in a nursing home. So I want to talk about this idea of guilt and difficulty enjoying yourself as a result of that guilt.
If you would rather watch my video on this topic, click here.
Here’s the way I want you to think about this.
You already know from watching my past videos, reading past blogs, or from downloading the Careblazer Survival Guide that situations don’t create your feelings. So the fact that your LOWD is in a nursing home, is not the reason you feel guilt.
The reason you feel guilt is because of your thoughts about your LOWD being in a nursing home.
There are some Careblazers who might feel relief, happiness, or peace in this situation. So we know it’s not the situation. Some people feel better that they get to go back to being the spouse or the child rather than feeling like just a caregiver.
In your mind you may think it’s awful, he’s not home, I’m being selfish, It’s not fair, he must be miserable instead of thoughts like, He gets around the clock care now, he has activities he can do now, he has other people to socialize with now. Those kinds of thoughts would lead to a different kind of feeling all together right.
So be mindful of your thoughts, catch your thoughts, and realize those thoughts are creating your guilt. And the good news is, you can choose to change those thoughts.
Also, keep in mind, just because one area of your life is a bit sad and disappointing, it doesn’t mean all areas of your life have to be sad and disappointing. It is possible for you to feel disappointed and sad that your LO is in a nursing home but happy that you get to spend some time with friends. That doesn’t mean you love your LO any less. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about your LO. Causing yourself unnecessary suffering (suffering that your LO doesn’t even realize by the way) does not in any way change the fact that your LO is in a nursing home. It’s just creating suffering for you.
Being sad all the time, feeling guilt all the time, doesn’t lead to your LO coming back home.
Here’s an unrelated.example that many of you can relate to. When I was growing up, my mom would tell me that I needed to eat everything on my plate because there were people in other countries starving. Well, the reality is that no matter what I ate or didn’t eat on my dinner plate that night, people were still going to be starving in another country. What I ate had no direct impact on those other people. I hate that reality, it’s awful, but my action did not lead to any impact on them.
The same is true here. You enjoying yourself with your friends. You going out. You laughing, smiling, enjoying yourself, it has no direct impact on your loved one being in a nursing home. They are going to be in a nursing home no matter what. If your LO is in a nursing home, that is no small decision. There’s a lot of consideration and thought and steps that go into that kind of process. But unnecessarily suffering. Making sure you are sad, that you don’t ever leave, that you don’t ever get out of the house and enjoy yourself, it has no direct impact on your loved on being in the nursing home. They will continue to stay there. It’s possible to enjoy clean water, food, and freedom even though other people don’t have those things.
You can feel moments of joy and happiness and it doesn’t mean you love your LO any less. It doesn’t mean you are any less of a Careblazer.
Be careful of the thoughts you are telling yourself.
If anything, keeping that guilt, feeling awful about the situation has a high likelihood of being carried over into your visits with your LO when you go to the nursing home. That’s the last thing you want. You want to enjoy your LO when you visit, not feel completely awful and guilty when you are there. It takes away from the visit and your loved one will pick up on that.
So are you experimenting any guilt? If so, try to pay attention to the thoughts you are having when that guilt creeps up and see if you are able to make some changes to those thoughts.
I hope this was helpful to you, Careblazer. I’ll be back next week.