Today I have one of the most important messages I can ever give to you. It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s powerful. And I think that most of you will get the importance of this message right away. BUT I don’t just want you to “get it,” i want you to APPLY IT to your life. And at the end of the post, I’ll give you some realistic practical ways you can apply this lesson to your life.
If you would rather watch a video on this topic, click here.
Okay, here me out on this and stick with me because this may hit you hard and it may come off strong...keep watching.
THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF SUFFERING THAT WILL EVER CHANGE THE FACT THAT YOUR LOVED ONE HAS DEMENTIA.
You loved one has a disease that isn’t going to go away. Yes, this disease comes with many challenges for you to face. BUT, what I’m talking about in THIS post is the additional, unnecessary suffering that you are adding to your situation. These are things like:
I’m not saying there aren’t real challenges to being able to find time for yourself or do nice things for yourself. That’s not the point of this video. The point of this video is taking a look at the things you are already doing but feeling guilty about doing OR the things you could be doing or aren’t doing because your loved one can’t join you or it makes you feel guilty.
Careblazer, if you spend the rest of your careblazer journey feeling guilty, worrying, and neglecting your desires or needs because your loved one is no longer to partake with you or because your loved one has dementia...none of that will take away your loved one’s dementia. It doesn’t change the fact that your loved one has this disease. It serves no good purpose at all.
Be honest with yourself when you turn something down that would be good for you. Or when you get that moment of joy and happiness only to immediately feel a wave of guilt come over you...what does having moments of joy or pleasure have anything to do with your loved one’s dementia? How does neglecting and holding back for yourself change anything about your loved one?
I know it can feel scary and you might immediately start to doubt yourself or think bad about yourself...or worry that others may think bad of you. But, it IS possible to start to stop the chain of suffering that comes from your own mind, your own thoughts.
So let’s talk about what you can do if this starts to happen, because in all honestly, it will continue to happen. Just because we intellectually understand that we can’t take away our loved one’s dementia through self-neglect, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.
Here’s how to start:
When you notice yourself immediately saying no to something you WOULD genuinely enjoy, pause and ask yourself why. "Why am I saying no to this?" Then answer it. Notice if your answers sound things that could actually be solved for. For example, if your loved one will need someone to be with them while you go...is there someone who could do that for you? Or if your loved one doesn’t want you to go...is it still possible you can go despite your loved one not feeling comfortable? Or, did you just answer no because you haven’t been thinking about yourself and what you want for so long?
So the first question is to just pause and ask yourself, "Why am I saying no to this?"
THEN, ask yourself, "Is this something I want to say yes to?" If the answer is yes, then ask yourself "HOW could I go?" This gets your brain to start turning and coming up with possibilites rather than shutting it down by thinking it’s too hard to figure out. HOW could you take advantage of this opportunity?
If you find that your struggling with guilt, sadness, self-neglect in general around a situation or perhaps you did go do something you want to do but the intense feelings are coming over you, ask yourself, "How does me thinking this benefit my loved one?"
So many of the thoughts that are consuming your mind and taking away from your possiblility for joy are not helpful to you or your loved one. So ask, "How does thinking this benefit my loved one?"
While you will still likely experience challenges with this moving forward, starting to raise your awareness that some of your usual responses aren’t helpful can start to move your forward to a healthier and happier caregiving experience.
And remember, new things are often uncomfortable. Don’t mistake your discomfort as a sign that something is off. Many times it’s a sign of growth.
What do you think Careblazer, do you think you do this? Do you think you avoid or reduce your capacity for joy because you are worried or thinking about your loved one? Let me know in the comments below and remember...
NO AMOUNT OF YOUR SUFFERING OR WITHHOLIDNG SOURCES OF JOY FROM YOURSELF WILL EVER CHANGE THE FACT THAT YOUR LOVED ONE HAS DEMENTIA.
If it somehow did then it might be a conversation worth having in terms of continuing to stay on that path. BUT since it doesn’t, let’s make a change that benefits you because whatever benefits you often also benefits your loved one with dementia becauase it has a positive impact in the way you show up in the relationship.
Sending love to you all. Hang in there. See you next week.