“Be patient and empathetic with the person you are caring for and it’s okay to get frustrated or angry at times. Don’t feel guilty about it.”
Dr. Arnika was the primary caregiver to three members of her family; her mother who had psychosis, her father-in-law who had insulin-dependent diabetes with multiple organ failure and her mother-in-law who has bronchial asthma.
She had to quit her job at the hospital and start her own clinic because three members of her family needed around-the-clock care. She discusses the negative impact on her career and her own mental health.
“I had a harrowing experience while taking care of my parents, emotionally, physically and financially… I was also in depression… it was not easy… I decided to do something for me.”
Understanding the importance of her own well-being, she decided to pursue photography and birding as a hobby. She further talks about how she feels at peace being so close to nature. She adds that it has taught her patience.
Thinking about her caregiving journey in retrospect, Arnika says that she feels contented that she could look after her parents the way she wished; it was a life she chose and it was not forced on her.
If you can identify with this story, please share it with others who care for someone and help them share too. The feeling of understanding, not being alone and access to support is what keeps caregivers going.
Sharing your story helps understand yourself — feelings, passions, hopes. It lightens the load and offers relief from loneliness, anxiety, anger or guilt. Our experiences and hopes can benefit others – to know that the challenges are the same, learn new ways to cope and care… they aren’t alone but part of a team.
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