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The Mirror Effect

Jane Brown is our Carer Services Manager for the south of the county.

When you look in the mirror what do you see?  You in your role as a friend, partner, relative, carer?  Or do you see yourself, the person you are, the individual you?

When you are worried about someone’s health, their losses, their life changes its normal to put your own life on hold.  As someone’s carer this is often not a life you choose, it just happens.  As a kind and caring friend, partner or relative you want to help and do all you can.

However, in a caring role your personal identity can be in danger of being lost.  You can start to mirror the behaviour of the person you care for.  For example: your sleep may be disrupted; a healthy diet is no more; your diary becomes a schedule of appointments to attend with the person you care for; your social life is on hold.

Often things that are also happening to the person with the illness or disability that you care for.  I call this the “mirror effect”.  In summary, your own life goes on the back burner and you very quickly start to live your life through someone else’s.  All very normal and natural ways to be.  It’s natural to want to help, to forget your own needs, to fix things if you can.  I wonder how long this can be sustained though and how healthy this is for you, and for the person you care for?

Short answer, it’s not healthy and it’s not a sustainable way to live.  So many carers we talk to have forgotten themselves.  They are caught up in the lives of the person they care for and it’s often to the detriment of their own health and wellbeing.  Countless carers tell us they are signed off sick from work, they are stressed, they are struggling with headaches and other physical pain, they have not had a break. In the long run, to put your own needs on hold as a carer does not help the situation or the person being cared for

So I ask you to look in the mirror and try and see the individual person you really are.  Take time to be you, take a break from your caring role and ask for help.  Model healthy behaviour and your wellbeing will be one less thing the person you care for does not have to worry about.

Jane Brown

By |2018-02-12T10:53:54+00:00February 12th, 2018|Blog|Comments Off on The Mirror Effect
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