Care for Yourself Too
This life with CRPS is a marathon, not a sprint. If caregivers don’t take care of themselves, they cannot be there effectively for their patients or loved ones over the long haul.
For those of us who are caregivers, it is “normal” to focus almost exclusively on the well-being of the person suffering with CRPS. Whether that person is your patient, spouse, sibling, child or friend, the normal emphasis is to take care of their needs to the exclusion of many other things, including yourself. Regardless of the relationship you have to the person with CRPS, you must realize that it affects you both. Over the years, I have struggled with finding the right balance between taking care of Lee’s needs and my own. I feel guilty that I can go out and walk, or ride my bike, drive to the store, have lunch with a friend, etc., when she can’t. She is always the first to remind me to get out and exercise, eat properly, get in the garden, see friends, or whatever else makes me happy. I mentioned in a previous post that you must find your joy in caregiving. I can’t over emphasize this! Finding the various ways to enjoy your day, by taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually, will benefit both of you. Not only will you feel better and have more energy, it also benefits the person for whom you provide care. Your healthy and positive perspective provide a lift to them as well. Especially if you are caring for a loved one, it is important to remember that they may also feel guilt- for what you have lost in your life in order to care for them. If you truly want to make them feel as good as possible, then this is another way to care for them- do everything you can to care for yourself too.