It’s been about six month since I have written a blog post, please excuse my absence. I finally had to admit that I am not Superwoman. I am the caregiver to my 91 year old mom and 46 year old special needs son. Sometimes I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder and I realize that I just cannot do it all. And managing their healthcare along with managing my HIV treatment, can be a bit of a challenge. I spend a lot of time in doctors offices and at the pharmacy, and on some days those places are the only times that I get out of the house. At one point, I was neglecting myself and missing my doctor’s appointment. Skipping medical appointments is not a wise thing to do, if one wants to remain healthy while living with HIV. I had to get serious about my own health and self-care. Making sure that I carved out some time for me and doing what I needed to do with my time and not what others thought I should be doing. I had to find the balance in my life and not feel guilty if I choose a dreamy massage over having dinner on the table on time.
Being a caregiver can also be lonely, especially when you don’t have the time or energy to be as sociable as you use to be. People who have never had the experience of caregiving don’t understand that it can be time consuming and demanding. Some people expect that you can continue doing what you did before, like going out to events or being involved in organizations. Eventually people stop contacting you because you are not available to participate and then you are forgotten. This further exacerbates the isolation and loneliness. But on the positive size, I’ve learned a lot from caregiving, such as: time management ,effective scheduling and how to have the grace of patience. I’ve gained so much more insight into my weaknesses and strengths. I’ve also honed the skill of saying NO, to any request that is beyond my capacity. And it’s so precious getting closer to my mother and learning valuable lessons from her knowledge and wisdom. Looking at the bigger picture, I know that I am doing one of the most important jobs of my life, taking care of my mother and giving her a good life while she is still here.
I cherish the good-feel moments of caregiving, like when your’e laughing while watching a movie together, then there are scary times when you are sitting in the hospital emergency room. It’s a continuous and sometimes difficult job but it must be done. But not with my Superwoman cape on anymore! It has been discarded and I’m discovering how to ask for help and getting services for things that I cannot or do not want to do anymore. It’s not longer important for me to do it all, sometimes to save my energy, I sit down and do nothing at all and that’s just as important. This Superwoman is no more!
Me and my mother – 2017