With great respect for Dr Graham Stokes - all he said was important, true and helpful; there feels something a bit patronising, I have said this before, about being "advised" about a carer issue , by a professional, that makes me want to turn and run for the hills. Perhaps that is just me.
Maybe it is because I have been both sides of the fence, as a Registered Nurse and now a full-time carer. I had no idea back then ; the carer experience is a much more profound encounter - with truth- than I could ever have possibly imagined or have ever experienced. It is so deep, so vast, so tremendous, so very, very hard to comprehend. When I think back about how "superior" and more "knowledgeable" I think I felt on some level, dealing with this or that carer.....I cringe now. That shows how much I have grown.
Once I was asked to take part in a film , Voices From the Shadows : http://vimeo.com/24683179 when the camera finally rolled, to my horror, I found it almost impossible to put two words together about my years of experience- even though I feel so passionate about it !
Traditionally it is very difficult to get carers to share their feelings. I sense that looking at Carewell. Paradoxically, perhaps that is a lot to do with guilt, for it is incredibly difficult, at least I find it, to care as I "should". I do my best - depending, but in reality I am still desperately trying after 18 years, to get it right. There are no easy or neat solutions.Professional, social-worker-type advice to find some balance, take some time for myself, all that stuff, is so important, yet trite in the complex scheme of things.
Guilt, I know, is a raving, devouring, constant presence, that we need to deal with . I tried once to express it in art :
I would never disagree that a person who is caring is the expert, who will always knows more about the experience of caring than any observer can ever hope to do. As just such an observer I know that I am always learning, can only hope to get close to the experience as I attempt to help others and will for the reason stated, always fall short, which is why this Forum is so important, for it is where carers can talk to carers.