“What has helped me is counselling……I don’t feel ashamed of it….”
When Shruti’s father was alive he was the primary caregiver to her sister who was a schizophrenic patient but that role fell upon Shruti after his death. At first it was difficult for her to take up the role as she was consumed with her own family life. She tried to deny the role, tried to run away from it by considering putting her sister in a home for mental health care. However she was advised by doctors to provide a loving home instead. Shruti realized that she had to atleast make the effort to look after her sister. She felt frustrated and angry at the situation, but the more research she did on schizophrenia, she realized she had to understand her sister , the condition, the reactions and respond accordingly. That realization helped stop the chain of reactions. At the same time their mother was also diagnosed with cancer, but her sister’s concern and help surprised her. They began to bond by providing care to their mother together.
Shruti was not ashamed to seek out counselling as it helped her deal with her situation better. She has also done courses that have helped her be a better person and accept the world with its imperfections.
“Taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of the patient….better to keep a balance and be upfront with family members”
She focuses on her self-care routine and asks for help or space whenever she needs it. Having been through this for years now, her biggest regret is not having understood her sister and schizophrenia earlier, especially when her father was alive.
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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