dipWhen difficult days become difficult years and, sometimes, difficult decades, you can’t help but ask: Am I nuts? Should I have quit?

In his book, The Dip, Seth Godin writes about the tough part of a process or venture or journey called the dip. It’s when it’s hard and it stays hard. It’s so hard that, on a regular basis, you think about quitting.

In caregiving, the dip is the time when family members and friends disappear. It’s sooo hard and it’s too hard. Caring for a family member with a chronic illness or debilitating illness or injury tests every aspect of you and your life. You balance on the brink of running out of patience, time, money, options, resources, help, ideas, energy, faith. Some days, you fall into empty. Some days, you hang on to enough. Some days, you bounce between both.

In the beginning, family members and friends will help. Because in the beginning, there’s a reward. Their visits are appreciated, their presence is important. It’s good to be there when the crisis starts. They feel needed and it’s just the right amount of being needed. It’s the right amount of being needed that makes them feel important.

But then the crisis continues. It goes on and on. And, suddenly, well, sticking around means giving up too much. The crisis seems to feel more important, most important. So, they leave.

You stay. Through the dip, you stay.

And, then, suddenly, the dip ends as you see caregiving end. Your caree turns toward their final stop. And, as that final destination becomes closer and closer, you realize that sticking it out through that dip–however long that dip lasts–put you into a place of knowing, truly knowing, what a spectacular, amazing, magnificent difference you made.

So, during your dip, you’ll contemplate quitting. And, when you do, tell yourself: “This is the dip. What do I need to get through the dip?” And, then get what you need–more help, more comfort, more support. Because when the end comes, you’ll be so grateful you worked through the dip.

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