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‘A Carers Life’ August 2020 – Toria

I have sat here facing an empty page for a while now.

I usually have so much to say but this is proving difficult for me to do. I sat down several times and just looked at the keys on my keyboard, willing inspiration to come. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t just flowing forth like a river.

At first I thought it was to do with the fact that I had so many ideas running around my head that I could not just pick one. Then I thought it was because I couldn’t find the time to organise my thoughts. After several more attempts to start this months entry I finally realised that the real reason that I was struggling was, like a lot of people who are caring for someone, I find it very difficult to let people know how I’m feeling.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a good moan about things to people but in the end it always comes back to that phrase that I know everyone says over and over again.

“It’s Ok. I’m fine.”

I’m fine. What a classy little sentence.

I feel like I’m going to collapse with exhaustion but I’m fine.

I feel like everyone expects things of me and nobody thinks about my needs but I’m fine.

I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall during all these meetings but I’m fine.

Those two words mean that everyone who isn’t in your position leaves you to it because whatever comes before them is erased by using the words “I’m fine”. You are coping. But coping does not mean you are OK. “I’m fine” for someone like me, is a conversation ending phrase. I can’t talk anymore because I’m afraid you’ll judge me, think badly of me, think that I am not capable, think I’m weak or useless or boring.

I’ve realise that although yes I am, in fact fine, I am not great. By which I don’t mean I have to be running and singing and prancing about like a hippo doing the mambo. But it’s nice to be around people who know how it feels. It makes you feel stronger. It makes you feel supported and that you are not a bad person, or parent, for feeling overwhelmed at times.

I have promised myself that, once the children are back at school, and there are things to go to at Hartlepool Carers I am going to make an effort to go. Previously I’ve been worried about going because my situation is nothing compared to others who go. But what I’ve realised over lock down is that it doesn’t matter. If I’m there to listen and not judge anyone then there will always be someone there to listen, without judgement, to me.

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