Do you enjoy riding rollercoasters?
When I was a kid, I loved rollercoasters. For a milestone birthday a few years ago, a friend and I spent a day at Busch Gardens, and decided we would ride the rollercoasters all day long. I made it through 3 and decided that was it for me-FOR GOOD! I still to this day have no interest in ever riding a rollercoaster again. It was just too much for me to handle as an adult.
Sue Ryan, author of Our Journey of Love, 5 Steps to Navigate Your Caregiving Journey likens the experience as a Family Caregiver to an emotional rollercoaster. There are ups and downs, there are bumps along the way and you cannot anticipate what is going to happen next.
If someone would have shared their experience with me what Cobra’s Curse (the last rollercoaster I would ever ride), would have been like that milestone birthday day at Busch Gardens, I probably would have never considered going on the rollercoaster. I would have probably asked questions, planned the day differently, or asked my friend for help knowing I would be anxious about getting on this ride-and I won’t even share how sick I felt upon exiting.
Caregiving is very much an emotional rollercoaster…except that most of us don’t get to decide if we are getting on the Caregiver rollercoaster, and there is no getting off the ride because we don’t like it. What you can do, is recognize that you are not alone. You can’t avoid the ups and downs or the bumps along the way, but you can connect with other Caregivers. You can ask questions, you can plan accordingly, and try to anticipate what you might need to be more prepared for your ride.
So, reach out to those that have been on their journey for a while. Reach out to those Caregivers that are just getting started. Chances are they all have experiences that can help you through the twists and turns. There will always be twists and turns – but know that just as other’s experience can help you…your experience can help others too.
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