“…Until one encounters caregiving, you don’t realize the importance of it. You have to go through this particular experience, realize what this experience is about, to understand that there is a requirement for counseling or help that a caregiver needs.”
Rashmi, is a caregiver to injured and sick animals that she finds around her neighborhood. Her journey is different from others, as, although at the end of the day, caring for people and caring for animals takes the same amount of effort, gaining support and help from others may not be the same.
She shares her caregiving journey, she talks about her struggles at the beginning, a sense of helplessness that she felt as she felt herself sinking into a depressive phase. Initially, things were tough as she did not know how to go about it and what steps to take. She would find herself coming back home and crying about the situation but at the same time not knowing what to do about it.
She recognized that things were not right and took it upon herself to reach out for help. She talks about how she took the initiative to talk to everyone in her family about what she was feeling. She was even advised by a relative who gave her a reality check, on how she needed to change how she was dealing with the situation and the impact it was having on the people around her, especially her 14 year old son.
“…You want him to love animals and be a caregiver for animals, if he only sees you upset and stressed about it, he’s not going to want to do this.”
She shares with us some tips on how she made sure she was taking out time for herself, simple things like taking walks, monitoring her phone usage or writing in a journal. What also helped her was understanding that if she could not find the answer to a problem within herself, she could broadcast her problem to help find a solution.
“…They’re very simple things, you don’t have to do deep research and study to arrive at these things. Simple things like going for walks, putting boundaries on yourself, keep time to yourself, maintain a journal and write things down.”
She emphasizes the importance of speaking to people, reaching out for support and going for therapy. She says that healing does not always refer to parts of the body, one’s mind and mental health being intact is also a huge part of healing. There is nothing wrong with reaching out, talking to people and seeking help. As a caregiver it’s always important to allocate some amount of time and money for a session with a counsellor, if needed.
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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