When you are a long-term caregiver, you often wonder if your life will ever return to normal. For most of us, the short answer is no. No, it doesn’t. During our time as caregivers, changes were taking place in our personalities, both positive and negative, so what we now view as normal has often changed.
As a caregiver, each day was hinged on the health and welfare of those we were caring for. After months or often years of caregiving, stress slowly became a constant companion. So when our time as a caregiver came to an end, often suddenly, we are left with many unresolved issues that must be managed in order for us to move forward in finding a new normal. That’s because caregiving has changed us forever. While much of the change is positive, we often struggle with letting go of a crisis state of mind even when it no longer relates to our new reality.
Left unchecked and underappreciated, this inability to let go of the stresses of caregiving can damage our physical and mental health long after our caregiving stint is over. Adjusting to the new normal takes courage, insight and time. Time, we must allow ourselves to have in order to regain our own strength. We must learn to let go and allow our new normal to bring us peace.
We will never be who we were prior to caregiving and I, for one, wouldn’t want to be. As we step into our futures, leaving a legacy through our caregiving, we will come to an acceptable normal where we can feel pride in our growth as a person and maintain a more relaxed attitude toward life.
My hope is that we find every success.