Believe me when I say that if having a positive attitude meant good health, I would not be sick. I relied solely on being positive so much at the beginning of my journey when my husband became ill. I paid no attention to my own needs. “Its just a little pain it will go away.” I told myself. When I first started to get symptoms of being unwell. I ignored them and tried to carry on with my hectic days, hoping that the pain and sickness would go away as a result of my determined attitude to get better and push myself.
And what happened?
I ended up pushing myself way too far, getting a lot sicker and doing myself no favors as a result of not admitting that the mind cannot control everything. As well as that, I continued on as my husbands caregiver, never once reaching out for help. Until I was rushed to the hospital with severe pain in my stomach and had to undergo emergency surgery.
I think we need to understand that even the most positive person in the world does not sustain this attitude 100% of the time. Realism must also come into play. Positivity doesn’t mean only thinking of rainbows and unicorns. It doesn’t mean having to always be smiling when your world appears to be crumbling. Instead it means accepting the difficulties that come your way and deciding the best way to get through them. Part of the acceptance process is to cry about it, to be angry about it and to have occasional pity parties. Ignoring this and just focusing on the positives in your life will not only prevent you from moving on but it will result in you blocking out feelings that at some stage need to be felt. It can even kill you as in Helen’s case.
Positivity is about maintaining hope and truly believing that you’ll come out of this stronger. You do not need to pretend everything is great all of the time. If someone tells you their feelings, respect that and show concern not negating their feelings. Ask for help, find the support you may need. Do not neglect your own health when caring for a loved one. Get enough rest. Make sure you follow up with your own doctor and not ignore any medical issues you may have yourself. You cannot be the sole person to care for another no matter how much you wish to do so. For more information on local services contact Care Pathways, we are here to help and here to listen.