Finding Acceptance of Myself


Finding Acceptance of Myself

(Editor's Note: We welcome @anncgrl, who cares for her husband, to our blogging team today. Glad you've joined us, AnnC!)

I have been caring for my husband for about seven years now. We have been through a long process of getting an accurate diagnosis and of beginning to understand what was happening to him and, ultimately, to both of us. He was in and out of facilities that offered rehab for his gait instability. I think we were both numb for a long time. The symptoms did not suddenly happen but it suddenly happened that we realized the symptoms were not only not going away but were progressive ending at an undetermined point in death related to them.

Over the years I have changed and changed and changed some more. I have let responsibilities go that need attention and I have let myself go and I have let the housework go. Caregiving overwhelmed me and still does to a great extent.

Adding to this weight I felt was the shame and dislike I developed for myself because I was not functioning as I believed I should be functioning. I felt as if I was falling behind and, in truth, I was falling behind. The self-bashing I did was the problem. I think it is one of the most insidious and harmful aspects of caregiving. Believing I am a failure because I cannot do it all and believing that other people were certainly handling caregiving much better than I began to make me full of self-pity and I began developing depression and I began to isolate myself.

Thank goodness for and other chats I belong to where I could share with and learn from other caregivers. I am learning to accept myself just as I am in this process and to know that I am doing the best that I can do for now. I can always change any part of my life that I want to change but I am not a bad person or a failure if I simply choose not to take too much on myself. I am learning that different people respond differently and operate differently in their own situations. We have so much in common and so much that is unique. It is by sharing and listening that I find myself coming to a place of accepting my way of handling caregiving as good enough. In fact, I do a really good job caring for my husband and I am doing better at taking care of myself.

Inside the most difficult things in life there are jewels to be found, lessons to be learned, friends who form a hedge of love and support around us and a God who loves us just like we are today. I am sad that my husband has a form of dementia yet we are closer than we have even been in our marriage and I have come to know that I am capable of great love and great sacrifice when needed. I am also meeting people every day who are facing unbelievable situations with grace and dignity. Through them I am learning to accept myself and the burden of my relentless expectations is being lifted.

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Thank you for this great blog. The perspective, insight and wisdom you've gained over time is apparent and I'm grateful you shared it with us. I hope you'll keep writing and telling us about your experience/s.