Am I really a ‘Caregiver’? (and what does that mean?)

“Caregiver.”

For years I never considered that this label belonged to me. It seemed too formal, to restrictive, too…important for what I did to help my chronically ill mum.
Hugs and housework and understanding.

Surely those didn’t deserve such a label?

Yet when my younger sister was diagnosed with a brain tumour and I spent every other day at the hospital and I cared for her in many physical ways from feeding to advocating for her with the pain team, I still didn’t feel this label belonged to me.

But I also felt that I needed the help a label brings.

Without a label I did not have the words to share my story.

READ MORE….

am I really a caregiver 2 #chronicillness #suffering #loneliness #caregiver #pain #caregiving #spoonie #faith #God #Hope

(today I’m posting over at Chronic-Joy.org).

am I really a caregiver 2 #chronicillness #suffering #loneliness #caregiver #pain #caregiving #spoonie #faith #God #Hope

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We cannot be everything (We are Watchers, not…Master List)

This is a blog about ‘Watching’. That is, loving suffering people while not suffering yourself.
But what does that look like? It can (and does!) look like many things, but sometimes it’s helpful to look at what we are not.

Master List: Watchers, we are not…

Watchers, we are not… Doctors

We just want them cured – is that so wrong?

is it wrong to want your loved one cured www.calledtowatch.com #caregiver #struggle #chronicillness #writer #hope #chronic #faith #watching #prayer

Watchers, we are not… Biographers

If only we could decipher the ‘meaning’ behind their suffering!

How to write about chronic illness www.calledtowatch.com #holidays #reading #amreading #chronicillness #writer #hope #chronic #faith #watching

Watchers, we are not… Saints

Of course we’re fine, after all, we’ve got this!

Are you always fine Watchers, we are not saints www.calledtowatch.com #caregiver #struggle #chronicillness #writer #hope #chronic #faith #watching #prayer

Continue reading “We cannot be everything (We are Watchers, not…Master List)”

What if they don’t understand? (Watchers we are not delegates!)

How often have you stood ‘in the place’ of your ill Loved One?
Maybe you’ve attended an event,
answered a question,
or formed a relationship,
which they simply could not.

Delegates are people who represent someone else to a community. They go forth in their place and explain the other person’s views, character and position.

Sometimes it’s easier to see ourselves, not as Watchers of our Loved One, but as their delegate to the outside world.
Continue reading “What if they don’t understand? (Watchers we are not delegates!)”

Can Joy be ‘chronic’ too? (I’m a resource!)

Something exciting has happened.
Indeed, it happened a while ago, but this seems as good a time as any to announce it!

Chronic Joy devotion books

There’s an organisation called Chronic Joy.
Continue reading “Can Joy be ‘chronic’ too? (I’m a resource!)”

“I’m fine, don’t worry about me!”(Watchers, we are not Saints)

“I’m okay.”
“I’ve got this.”
“Honestly, it’s fine, I promise.”
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are only a Watcher, and instead begin to think that we are (or should be) a “saint”.
This is what it looks like:

Watchers, we are not saints

Do you…

  • …. feel guilty all the time. I’m not a good Watcher. Not even passable. Why can’t I do anything right?
  • … gloss over your hardships and sacrifices. Oh I don’t do much, not at all. Yes I spent all day driving my loved one to appointments in the rain, but that doesn’t matter. It was nothing!
  • … never share your problems. I’m going fine. One’s got to do what they’ve got to do! Other people have it worse, after all.

Continue reading ““I’m fine, don’t worry about me!”(Watchers, we are not Saints)”

How to love children with chronically ill parents

Most of us know someone who struggles with their health. Perhaps they’ve been diagnosed with a physical chronic illness, or they struggle daily with their mental health. As their friend, we seek to love and serve them in their suffering.
But how often do we remember their children?

What about the children with chronically ill parents?

Helen recently shared her story of caring for her chronically ill daughter – and now it’s time to think about what it’s like when the situation is reversed…

Three ways children with chronically ill parents can suffer:

READ MORE (first published on the Glorious Table as a guest post)

 

[Don’t have time to read right now? Pin for later!:]

//Do you know what it’s like to be a child of a chronically ill parent? If so, I’d love to hear your story!

 

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How to write about Chronic Illness (Watchers, we are not Biographers)

Are you ever tempted to sit down and try and order the pieces of your life?

As you love and care for your sick Loved Ones, do you ever wish you could straighten your hardships out into a coherent narrative, one with a tidy moral and neat conclusion?

Do you feel that if only you had a polished version of your life, it would be a enough to redeem your suffering, because then it would have a purpose?

In short, do you ever neglect your role as a Watcher in order to become ‘Biographer’?

This is what it looks like:

You are often on the look-out for a purpose or a theme behind your Loved One’s suffering, or in day to day occurrences

You have a yearning desire to put each new experience into words so that others can learn

You are tempted to dismiss parts of life which don’t lend themselves to ‘story’

You are drawn to those areas of life which seems just a little bit more dramatic, heroic or exciting

You feel that your life and experiences are wasted if nobody reads about it and learns

I’m going to switch to ‘we’ now, because this is something I am guilty of at times…

Continue reading “How to write about Chronic Illness (Watchers, we are not Biographers)”

Why my blog will never go viral (reflecting on 2017 as a Watcher)

What I’ve learnt from blogging about chronic illness on Called to Watch

At the moment, even as I’m preparing to look forward to Christmas, 2018, and the future – I’m also looking back.

This is what I’ve learnt:

1. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose

Blogging over the past year has taught me that Watching is a ‘thing’. By this, I mean, loving someone with a chronic illness is a state of being worth talking about. It’s a relationship worth sharing.

It’s actually an important part of who I am – just as it’s a crucial element to who a lot of people are!
Continue reading “Why my blog will never go viral (reflecting on 2017 as a Watcher)”

Friends, we are not doctors. (Is it wrong to want your chronically ill Loved One cured?)

When I was little I toyed with the idea of becoming a doctor. Not because I had an undying desire to see sick people healed, but because there was one ill person I wanted to cure. I longed to take away my mum’s pain with a single flick of a pen on a prescription pad.

While my career aspirations soon headed off down a different track, I think this desire is something we can all sympathise with. To some extent it never does away.

As care-givers and support-bearers and Watchers we would love to see our Loved Ones healed. Yet it can become dangerous when this simple desire begins to morph into something subtly different: a belief that it is our responsibility to cure them.
When this happens we swap our role as a Watcher for that of a “doctor”.

Watchers we are not… doctors

Do you ever feel the need to cure your chronically ill loved one?

Have you accidentally become a “doctor”? Do you ever:

  • Feel your goal in the relationship is to bring healing?
  • Spend time collecting remedies (via Google, word of mouth etc) and offering them to your Loved One?
  • Feel better when you can diagnose the cause of your Loved One’s distress that day. Does being able to rate it on a scale of 1-10 and use the appropriate words to describe and understand it, reassure you?
  • Feel like a failure when you are unable to reduce your Loved One’s suffering, or bring them relief?

“Watchers, we are not doctors. We have a higher calling.” Tweet @calledtowatch

Continue reading “Friends, we are not doctors. (Is it wrong to want your chronically ill Loved One cured?)”

The problem with chronic illness and social media

Sharing about chronic illness on social media: It’s difficult.
Particularly when you are only watching someone else’s battle.

That I believe this might come as a surprise, due to the slight fact that this website is full of articles!

Not to mention, I have associated facebook pages, groups, pinterest, google plus and twitter accounts! That’s a lot of social media.

Yet each time I share about the place of chronic illness in my life (as someone who has sick family members, but is not ill myself), I struggle.

It’s a hard topic to think and talk about – let alone share online with everyone and anyone!

Continue reading “The problem with chronic illness and social media”