Tuesday, June 03, 2014

We Are Caregivers



 

Often there isn’t a lot said about the caregivers for someone with schizophrenia. We tend to show up in stories written by the media after a tragedy happens and then we are put under a microscope for people to determine if we have done the right thing in raising, caring for, and protecting our loved ones. Often the judgment comes down on us from those who don’t have the first clue what it’s like to be a caregiver. It’s so easy for them to say what they would have done differently if they were the ones deciding the fate of our loved ones with schizophrenia. It’s so easy for them yet it is one of our most difficult jobs and one that we pour our heart and soul into daily.



To begin with and most importantly there is love. We, as caregivers, love our person with schizophrenia with our whole hearts. If we are parents to someone with schizophrenia there is also an even tighter bond because our child was created by us, born to us, and lovingly raised by us. We have all given pieces of ourselves, sacrificed our own way of life for them and have spent many late nights worrying and praying. Behind the closed doors of our homes or a therapist’s office or a psychiatrist’s office we put our heads together to decide what is best for our loved one and sometimes our choices work but more often we are less than successful. You see, it’s isn’t easy caring for our loved one. Besides making normal life decisions, we are also forced pretty often to decide for our loved ones what is best for them. Sometimes, though, we fail in our choices and find ourselves in a quiet room, our heads in our hands, defeated. The beautiful thing about we caregivers, though, is that we never give up. 

 Never.

Then there is tenacity. We caregivers are fighters to the bitter end. We fight for proper medical care, humane treatment and respect for our loved ones. We are advocates of the strongest kind and we are a force to be reckoned with. Often you will find us fighting for rights to see our loved ones locked behind hospital doors hoping for a chance to talk to their doctors and offer insight that no one has but us. We are found on trails and surface streets wearing our t-shirt in support of our cause while we walk, run and bike for miles to raise money for research. We sit quietly at our desks writing a check or two to our favorite organization that supports and educates others about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. In the smallest, yet biggest way, our sometimes quiet voices raise up in earnest to defend our loved ones to family members and friends who just don’t seem to get it. We are fighters, we are advocates, we are the voice of our loved one with schizophrenia.

In the end, we are human. We are flawed and we make mistakes. In the end, after we have given our heart and soul, sometimes we aren’t successful in our fight. In the end, love does not always conquer all. In the end though we did everything we could and we did it with love, with intelligence, with experience and with a fight rivaling that of a mother bear defending her cubs against the predators that threaten their life.

We are caregivers. We are mothers, fathers, wives and husbands. We are children fighting to understand our parent with schizophrenia and we are friends accepting our loved one for exactly who they are. We are caregivers, people from around the world giving all we have to love, protect and care for our loved one with schizophrenia. We are caregivers and we will be here to the bitter end even when society has walked away condemning our loved ones for simply being human.

We are caregivers and we are strong. Do not underestimate us. We are here and we are not giving up.

5 comments:

  1. I love this..... I shared it on my fb.....This is exactly what I have been trying to explain to my family who can not understand why I have chosen to sick by my fiance through his battle with schizo affective disorder. ..... yes its hard and yes I am stressed but i love him more than almost anything and I will not loose him to this disease......

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  2. Vicki Murray StoneJune 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Any parent or family member who has a loved one with this illness, will at some point realize it is an illness that affects them for their entire life. We will all have ups & downs with coping & understanding this illness. It is very hard for the ones who have the illness & we must always remember this. We do not give up, we will love him for our lifetime & encourage him not to give up & not to be ashamed. Take your shots or medications & remember that you are not alone. <3

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  3. You have expressed the problem so well. We all take different paths to try to help. I took the research path and found Dr William J Walsh of the Walsh research Institute and my son definitely improved on his treatment - however he stopped his main stream medication much to the horror of his psychiatrist. We brought Dr Walsh out to Australia to train Australian doctors and now have 140 doctors trained and all extremely enthusiastic about the protocols. Dr Walsh's book "Nutrient Power" Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain is now a best seller. There is so much research out there that is not used at all by psychiatrists who just rely on the usual medication. Our website is www.biobalance.org.au - we are nearly all volunteers, but it is so rewarding (except for our own children who wont touch it!) Typical - but we do have grandchildren who it might help one day.

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  4. Thank you for writing this. I most often feel completely alone in my battle, but every now and then, I read an article such as yours, voicing the words that express my plight, words that I haven't been able to express myself. Thank you for sharing. <3

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  5. Vicki Murray StoneJune 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Dear anonymous, do not feel alone! Our son was diagnosed at about 16 years of age. He will be 40 in October. At this point in his life, he is doing very well. Sometimes there are setbacks but now he recognizes his symptoms and will alert his doctor or us about how he is feeling. He is our only child and we walk with him always and we will not give up. More joys than sorrows always.... :)

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