Mama You Are Not Alone!

Mama You Are Not Alone!

You are not alone. Being a carer as well as a parent has got to be one of the loneliest jobs in the World. I lost it this week. Completely. Totally. I’m talking crazy-person, screaming type of losing it. I’d finally hit rock bottom and knew with certainty that I’d failed as a mother. I couldn’t do it anymore. I have tried so hard, fought so hard for my kids, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had completely and utterly failed. I’ve never felt so alone. How could I reach out for help and admit that at this very moment, I hated being a mother? I could barely believe that I had thought it – let alone admit it to anyone. The fear of judgement and the hatred of myself was tearing me apart. I crawled into bed and didn’t move for hours. How had it gotten to this point? Sure, my kids have special needs and require a lot of patience, help and support… but others seem to handle it with aplomb. Why is it that I can’t handle it? Why do my kids manage to trigger my anxiety and send me into a depressive state, in just a single moment? Why was I the only mother who couldn’t cope with what I’d been dealt? Why was I such a failure? I finally got the answer to my question the next morning. In a heartfelt conversation with my ex-husband, I admitted how I felt. I let it all out – and braced myself for the judgement that was sure to follow. Instead, he admitted that he...
8 Reasons Why You Could Be In Overwhelm & How To Overcome The Trap

8 Reasons Why You Could Be In Overwhelm & How To Overcome The Trap

The Overwhelm Trap! Often as parents and carers, we are so busy coordinating and caring; that we aren’t mindful of our own behaviours and emotions. Or if we are, we attempt to suppress and ignore them. With strict care regimes and the necessities of treatments, medications, appointments, specialists, therapies, endless paperwork and advocacy; there just doesn’t seem to be much time left for anything else! Over time, we inevitably come to accept the emotional ups and downs and take them as a ‘given’. We convince ourselves that this is just ‘life’. We find ourselves putting our needs last and accept the fact that what we want and need doesn’t matter anymore; or that no one understands.  It’s so easy to arrive in this place, and it can sneak up on you without you even realising it. Are you caught in the trap? Have you been struggling with any of the following? Decline in physical or mental health Trying to be everything to everybody Uncertainty over the future Little or no support from family and friends Adjusting to the perceptions of your role as a carer Guilt over trying to find time for yourself, or not finding any time at all Financial difficulty, or Finding the right care, resources and support? If you have answered “Yes” to any of these, then you could be headed down the road of overwhelm and heading straight towards burnout. But, here is the good news: it doesn’t have to be that way! Be aware of the signs and symptoms In my experience, characteristics of overwhelm and burnout are different for everybody, but can include: Tiredness/lethargy...
Why self-care is not about you!

Why self-care is not about you!

“…okay if I don’t have space in my cup then I’m not actually able to serve these people, my children, the people that I’m caring for, the way that I want to and I need to” Emma, Tree House Family Counselling     Personally, I believe that the term “self-care” is thrown around so much in the health & wellbeing circles that it has, for the most part, lost its meaning and impact. If I were to ask you to think about the following questions “does self-care mean anything to you” or “what does self-care mean to you?”  What conjures up in your mind?  Does your mind wander to bubble baths, glasses of bubbles, massages, long lunches and day-spa’s?  OR Do your eyes glaze over and your mind shut off?! What conjures up in your mind?  Does your mind wander to bubble baths, glasses of bubbles, massages, long lunches and day-spa’s?  OR Do your eyes glaze over and your mind shut off?! OR Do your eyes glaze over and your mind shut off?! Do your eyes glaze over, roll into the back of your head and your mind shut off?! As much as those luxuries would be super welcome in my life, are they realistic and achievable every day for most of us? NO. The term “Self-Care” by its nature suggest’s it is about “self” but in a caregiving context and even as a person who has responsibility for nurturing & caring for other humans it is anything but. As a carer or parent, you are on call 24/7.  The responsibility is enormous and the stakes are high. What happens...
16 Ways To Support Carers & Families In Crisis

16 Ways To Support Carers & Families In Crisis

What is it that carers need when they are in crisis? TO BE HEARD | TO BE SEEN | TO BE HELD A few days ago I needed to go to the hospital, an hour away, to collect medicines and drop “samples” off for testing. Normally I would have had spare supplies at home, but with my son’s admission last week being cancelled I was left a little behind the 8 ball… unusual these days but of course I am human. It took longer than expected, but I was pleased to have been granted time to listen to a few podcasts, have a conversation on the phone with my mum, have a cuppa and some breathing space… As I finally walked out of the hospital and back to my car, my name was called out by a gentleman on a phone who I did not recognise. He definitely knew me. He rapidly hung up the phone, introduced himself as “X’s Dad” and the penny dropped. He is his child’s full-time caregiver. This is a man in my private Facebook community, Carers Connect.  I had met him briefly by chance at a local fundraiser for a prominent member of my local community. I stopped and sat down with him and asked how they were all going (son is 15, same age as my boy). He recognised me from the box I was carrying – his son had been on similar medications over the past couple of weeks.  I was shocked however to find out his son had a cardiac arrest just 4 days earlier.  He was in the ICU, he fell and...
Too much to do, so little time . . .

Too much to do, so little time . . .

Ohhhh boy!  I tell you what, the list of things that we “need to do” and “must achieve” is never ending and at times seems to be ever growing. Always “too much to do and not enough time”!  Is that something you can relate to? RESPONSIBILITY Being a carer and parent in modern day society can be beyond challenging.  High level “responsibility” in carrying the health and well-being of others in our hands, the confronting decisions to make and information that we are expected to face daily, ongoing financial and social pressures, the sometimes unattainable standards of expectation of ourselves to perform and add to that the noise of social media can leave us feeling deflated, overwhelmed and simply not good enough. When all we really want to do is provide the best quality care to the ones we love.  Let’s face it, most of us would give our left leg if it meant we could take away the pain, hurt and suffering our loved ones experience. CATCH 22 Many people that I talk to simply don’t see any way out of this “catch 22” situation… No light at the end of the tunnel and no way to change or adjust the pressures of their lives.  The sad fact is that more often than not, something is missed, something or someone comes last and doesn’t get the attention or fuel they need to go on.  So the stressors continue and the stress levels increase and become prolonged. DANGER As humans we release a series of hormones when our body perceives it is in “danger”, these are adrenaline, cortisol and oxytocin.  But when we...