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

*A version of this post was previously published on 3/29/17. This post contains affiliate links.

Self care…

I used to believe self care meant being selfish, until I had neglected my own health to the point of developing high blood pressure, my hips being destroyed by arthritis and enduring more pain than anyone should!!

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

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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 is not working anymore.

I can’t stand in one spot even just long enough to cut up vegetables for a salad because that causes excruciating leg pain.

It is impossible for me to 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 pain.

I can’t climb stairs.

I walk as slow as a sloth.

And, 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.

I need to ask for help with cooking and cleaning.

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

I need to have my hips replaced!

I need to stop feeling selfish because I’m not doing everything I used to do.

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!

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9 Replies to “On Being the One Who Needs Care: Self Care for the Caregiver

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    1. 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?

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