My Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor

On Being the One Who Needs Care: Self Care for the Caregiver

Self care…

I used to believe it meant being selfish, until I had neglected my own health to the point of developing high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease and lots of pain!!

Now I realize that taking care of my own health is not a selfish luxury, but an extreme necessity.

self care
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It’s been really hard for me to admit that I’m the needy one now and it’s okay to take care of myself and make some of my own needs a priority once in awhile.

It’s been hard for me to accept that now I’m the one with fragile health who needs special treatment.

I have a health condition and I am disabled.

I need to acknowledge that and respond accordingly.

I need to stop pretending I can still do everything myself.

Trying to control my blood pressure with diet and exercise alone, because it is not working.

I must not even try to stand in one spot even just long enough to cut up vegetables for a salad because that causes excruciating leg pain.

I must not get down on my hands and knees to scrub the shower floor, anymore.

Walking just a few feet without holding onto a shopping cart also causes unbearable leg and back pain.

And, I’m hoping it’s just temporary, but I’ve had to give up driving and with it my independence.

If I want to stay alive for as long as possible for my family, I need to make some major changes in the way I’ve been doing things.

I need to check in with my doctors regularly and do what they tell me to do.

I need to make more time for simple, approved exercising.

I need to ask for help with cooking and cleaning.

I need special equipment, such as handles on the shower and toilet seat.

I need to use elevators instead of trying to do the painful and nearly impossible task of climbing stairs.

As much as I hate to admit it, maybe I even need to start riding in the electric carts at Walmart instead of pretending it doesn’t kill me to walk all over that gigantic place!

I need to stop feeling selfish when I make time to chill out and relax.

I need to keep reminding myself that self care is not synonymous with being selfish!

What do you need do to take care of yourself? Let me know in the comments!

You might also enjoy I Have a Condition: Peripheral Artery Disease


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9 Comments

  1. BW aka Barbara from Boston

    I don’t know your age but their are services out there. I am 65, and multiply disabled also and get laundry, shopping, and lunches through an elder services agency. They pay for life line, since I fall a lot due to a balance disorder.
    My current problem is that I am always exhausted, and have problems w/ my sleep cycle as well as sleep apnea.

    Reply
    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      Thanks for the info, Barbara. I’m sorry you’re having health issues too.

      Reply
  2. themomgene

    Love this one Barbara. Honesty is always refreshing and I will be praying for your health!

    Reply
    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      Thanks!

      Reply
  3. Joy

    Great post. It’s so true, and something I also had to learn for myself. Not only is taking care of your own health not selfish, but it is completely opposite of that. NOT taking care of your own health can be, in a way, a form of selfishness. If, as a care giver, one deliberately refuses to take care of themselves, they are indirectly refusing to care for others. At least that’s my belief – it wasn’t always. I used to think that it was selfish of me to focus on my own health issues. I thought that that meant I was ignoring those who relied on me, like my son, who at the time was very young. However, I learned otherwise. So, once again, great post, and I wish you all the best. I will pray for you.

    Reply
    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      Thank you, Joy! Your insight is most welcome!

      Reply
  4. Erica

    I also have children with disabilities, though not as severe as your daughters. I desire to home school because I don’t feel that school teaches children with special needs at their own level, and because of this I don’t think special needs children get a good education. (I also hate the sex and drugs in high school) However, I am young and have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I keep worrying that the stress will kill me. Yet I want to do what I feel is right, my children mean the world to me. If you don’t mind, could you please email me, I need some encouragement. Thanks Erica

    Reply
    1. Sylvia (Post author)

      I’m sorry to hear about your diabetes diagnosis. I hope that you can get that under control soon. I found that sending Bethany to school cause me more stress than keeping her at home. But of course everyone’s situation is different. I would be happy to email you. Do you have any questions or topics you’d like to discuss?

      Reply
    2. Sylvia (Post author)

      I’m sorry, I sent an email to you, but it came back undeliverable. Email me at scphillips59@gmail.com so I can get your correct email address.

      Reply

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