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My Tank Is Empty

My Tank Is Empty

I have been a caregiver to my father for over 15 years now and have loved every minute of it. He took care of me for 18 plus years; this is the least I can do. As I am getting older I find myself helping so many people in my circle whose health has diminished because of age or lifestyle.

Everyone needs help sometimes

It’s not just the elderly that need help; it can be my grandchild who needs help at college or a friend that needs an ear to lend. I am always helping someone, but the question is, who is helping me?

If you think about it, we are all caregivers in some sort of way. It could be helping someone carry their groceries or taking care of kids for a few hours. It is an important position to help people every day. It can be very rewarding, but remember the work is not easy. You must take time to fill yourself up.

Be aware of caregiver burnout

You don’t want to burn yourself out, we give so much, so know your limits. There are some days I give so much to my parents that I forget to eat some days. You don’t want to risk your life for other diseases to creep in as the flu, diabetes or premature death.

One day I was talking to an attendant at a nursing home recently and she told me that the leading cause of caregivers leaving is because they get burnt out. She said there are days they can’t work because caregiving demands so much of you.

When pain hits my body it’s all I can do to stand up on my own, but I refuse to neglect my parents who are both 84 and are adamant about living on their own. There have been days where emotionally I just want to give up because I just couldn’t do it anymore. It takes so much energy just to wake up in the mornings. I have psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

Who cares for the caregiver?

Having a full-time job doesn’t leave me much time alone with me or to stay in bed all day and rest. So, this got me to thinking, who is going to be my caregiver? What if I lose all my energy? I really don’t want to find out.

Even on my worst days, I loved being a caretaker. My husband is there to help me when I need a helping hand. He picks up the slack when needed. I always look for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Being a caregiver has made me stronger and brought me so much closer to my family. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff.

When I’m down on myself I look at how much good I am doing to improve my parents and others life. I’m making a difference for them. They will always be cared for right down to the last second of their life. It would be much easier if they lived with me, but I will honor their wishes and let them stay in their own home. They have earned this right after living for 84 years on this earth.

Honesty with myself and others

No one can read my mind, so I have made it my business to let my family and friends know that I need help. I must be honest and open to what is going on with me and the people I’m caring for. You never know who is willing to help. I have learned to set aside my pride and remember that everyone needs help sometimes.

By allowing myself to be a care receiver, I have decided to ask for support if needed and give myself permission to take care of myself.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.