If you’re a caregiver for a senior, a loved one with a mental or physical disorder that requires constant attention and response, you’re probably exhausted. All of the time. But do you want to quit, or are you just seeking the provision to help you get through?
Part of that provision comes from the realization that what you’re doing is, simply, the right thing to do. An insightful article by psychotherapist Mike Verano states the case very well.
While caring for others runs the risk of burnout when the awareness of personal limits is ignored, heart-centered exhaustlessness provides a return on the investment. Through the act of selfless compassion, the illusion of separation dissolves: The giver and receiver are one and one gets what one gives. This is why is can be so hard to convince caregivers to slow down, and why they often look sideways at anyone who tells them that they have to take care of themselves first. At a very deep level, the level where we’re all connected, they are taking care of themselves as they move reflexively toward the needs of a loved one who is suffering. The well that feeds this energy is unlimited, which is why many caregivers seem to perform miracles in their acts of service.
That may not make you feel less tired, but it should make you feel better. And this:
I’m no longer surprised that many of the caregivers I see are not looking for permission to stop, but confirmation that it’s OK to continue. Increasingly, I find myself helping them see the forces at work within themselves and move in accord with their inner wisdom. Finally, I ask that they allow trusted others to shoulder some of the burdens that come with caregiving and assure them that, while the experience of exhaustlessness will pass, the love remains forever.
It’s the hardest task you face every day, sometimes all day. But the message is clear: love conquers all, even exhaustion, and will find a way even when no way is evident.