I’ve come to realize, these last few years, that it is very important for caregivers to have a support system in place. Without it, we would go insane. I spent nearly 13 years thinking I was alone in my struggles, that no one could ever understand my home environment, my husband’s issues, and the daily struggles we go through. Now, after being introduced to the military caregiver community, I know that despite the different situations that got us all on this path, we all share the same struggles. Maybe not at the same time, but we have or we will. We are all on the same road, just at different points. We can offer up advice to those just starting, or gain knowledge and wisdom from those further along the road. I was blessed with this realization and with the group I formed a bond with, and the one person I spoke to daily. I actually had my first friend in 10 years.
And then the S*%t hit the fan.
Even though we were all experiencing similar issues and in a group to SUPPORT one another, drama still unfolded. I don’t do drama well. And when I start seeing favoritism and rule breaking, especially when it harms the entire group, I had to say something. And when I spoke up, I was the one ostracized and then the bullying redirected my way. I couldn’t stay quiet. I stood my ground and lost everything because of it.
It’s been 8 months since that happened. I was devastated. I lost my support group. I lost my friend. I lost my lifeline. I started slipping back into the darkness and began listening to my demons again.
This time, though, I knew I could get out of that funk. I knew there were others out there that were living similar issues. I knew I just had to find them. It was a struggle for sure. I went through several new online support groups. None of them really clicked. Some even dissolved as soon as I joined due to previous drama of their own. Others I am in are not very active at all.
One group formed out of the dissolution of another and I was invited into it. Since then, it has grown and I have been pretty active in there. It’s not as quaint as the previous one and the growing numbers make it a tad hard to connect with any one individual. But another good thing came out of this group. Since we’ve grown so large, and the caregiver community is so spread out, we have branched off into state groups as well. This may be a bit more manageable, as well as closer both physically and emotionally since we are all in the same state and in smaller numbers.
I feel like I’m back on the track with an online support system. I have forgiven those from the previous group who left me broken. I have an online support where I can go and ask a question and offer assistance and prayers when needed. Now, though, I have to find people I can go to locally that I can ask if something were to go catastrophically wrong.
There have been times I had to take TheHubs to the ER where we had to wait and wait and wait. We usually waited so long that we had no food and no one to come bring us food, especially for a growing boy. This is when I realized I needed a local support system as well.
Unfortunately, I’ve always been one to never ask for help. I will gladly give of myself to others in their time of need. But when it comes to me, it’s like I just don’t want to burden anyone with my issues. Why do I do this? I am human. I have problems. Everyone has problems. And I don’t think it is a burden when someone comes to me with a problem. But my problems I view as burdens. Why? I have yet to figure this out. And I have to consciously acknowledge this and accept that I am human and my problems are not a burden to others who want to help and have offered. This is sooooo hard. Even though I have my parents close by, they are still a 45 minute to an hour drive from us. And it’s still hard for me to tell them all that we struggle with. Plus, they have their own lives. Even though they are retired, they still are always on the go, so when appointments come up for us that do not mesh well with school or work or other activities, I have to rearrange schedules or take time off work. That aspect is getting a bit easier as TheBoy ages though. But still, I worry about what would happen if…
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish a local support system? How to allow myself to let go and ask for help when I need it? Anyone?
Maybe I just need lessons on how to be a good friend because it’s a two-way street. 😛