Saturday, July 27, 2013

A New Paradigm

If you've been following this blog, you may have guessed that even as I am well enough to write again after a long hiatus, I'm now completely occupied with taking care of my elderly father.  In my last post, I talked about his recent hospital stay and how we now have to manage his condition of heart failure.  His health took a sudden turn and we found out that he was in a-fib.  He's home with my mother and me now, but he needs constant care.  Without going into the nitty-gritty of his personal struggles, I will say he is very weak and nothing is the same for us anymore.

Where I can find a nugget of inspiration through all this is in the joy that I have that I am stable enough to take my turn helping my Dad, as he has helped me through my whole life.  One of my own challenges over the years has been that I have felt as though I had nothing to contribute to - and by that I specifically mean my inability to cope with stress.  I felt useless without working or even volunteering or doing something to "give back."  I know that this blog is an attempt to be relevant and help others if I can, but it's not the same as being involved in something with someone face-to-face.  I am so happy to be a support for my Dad as he goes through his own life transition, now.  Just being here for him is it's own reward.

I started off this blog post explaining that I've been basically too busy to blog as often as I would like to be blogging, but obviously, some things have to give.  However, I do have a little time this morning to write and I want to share my take-away from this past week. When you are challenged with mental illness and find yourself in a position of care-taking, it's vital that you continue to take good care of yourself and know your limits.  This can be hard to accomplish as you may feel yourself pulled in too many directions. When we first brought Dad home and were trying to establish a new schedule for him, I know that I was feeling a bit manic from the stress and my psychosis (hearing voices) has been much more pronounced.

Over the course of the week though, I began to get myself together so that my own personal schedule fit into my care-taking schedule.  I actually organized all of Dad's medical info into a binder and started to work with Mom to coordinate how we could help Dad in "shifts" so that we both get breaks.  I scheduled more appointments with my therapist.  I'm making sure that I am eating healthy, getting exercise and resting as I can.  I'm not saying this is easy for me, though, and that's my point.  If you are mentally-ill and are taking care of a child, someone elderly or sick it's just so much more difficult and you need to focus on maintaining your own wellness at the same time.

I will continue to blog when I can, especially about how I am coping with my schizoaffective disorder and staying sober during this life-changing period, so please do come back here and check for new posts!

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