The other day I sat feeling like the world’s biggest fraud. We get carers allowance, DLA and respite and here was my child sat coloring in his Disney Pixar colouring book like an angel. He had slept the night before and I felt refreshed and calm. You would think I would savour this moment, breath it in. But no, instead I sat and panicked that I was the world’s biggest fraud. Did we deserve this help? Was I lying to people about how hard it is? Was I lying to myself about how hard it is?? Maybe I’m just an awful parent who keeps getting it wrong. I ended up in conplete turmoil over who I was, what I deserved and whether or not the struggles I felt were real.
That day was a day with no major problems. The next day however, I was reminded of exactly why I absolutely am entitled to this help i get and that one day without any major problems is in fact allowed. Here’s what I’ve realised from thinking about this a lot recently…
[ ] My baseline of stress is so much higher than anyone else’s. A really good day for me is someone else’s day from hell.
[ ] Things change so quickly. Enjoy the good moments because you DO deserve them!!!
[ ] All the admin is a full time job when it’s needed. Sometimes admin isn’t needed and you suddenly feel like you have loads of free time. Should I be working? Decorating? Cleaning? Volunteering? NO! This is the time to spend on you and you should never feel guilty about that. It doesn’t make you less of a carer when things ease up temporarily. It’s essential you use this time to recoup because you never know when things will get tough again.
[ ] Its ok to not feel stressed when your support is working, that doesn’t make you a fraud. It took me 5 years to get the support package right and it becomes ingrained in you that everything should be a fight. Its ok to enjoy the lifestyle you get if you manage to get your support package working for you. What you don’t realise is your life is still harder than other people’s, it just feels so easy in comparison to what you used to have to do on your own.
[ ] Your needs are valid. End of.
[ ] You can’t compare yourself to the stress other people face, it’s all relative. So many people could never imagine what you go through. Comparison doesn’t help anyone when they’re a carer as there are too many variables at play including the disabilities involved, your own mental health and even your upbringing. No one can ever be in YOUR position.
So if you have a good day, do breath it in. If someone gave you a gift would you refuse it? No, and that’s what these days are. A gift.