The original intent of this blog was to provide a place for me to dump my emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Transparency is always a priority to me, even though it is often hard for me to lower down my walls enough to be vulnerable. I know that there are so many others out there that are dealing with similar struggles. That being said, let’s talk about caregiver burnout.
For a quick definition and signs of caregiver burnout, the Cleveland Clinic does an excellent job summarizing: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9225-caregiver-burnout
Over the last few weeks I have felt like I am in a survival mode of sorts, trying to just navigate through each 24 hour chunk. There is a level of monotony that plays with my brain a bit, and even though I can control the “in-between” there is a consistent routine to each day that must be followed to the letter.
I go through phases where I feel, for lack of a better word, trapped. In an effort to fight the monotony of what I cannot control I try to over-control the in-between with lots of busyness. And the result is that I am exhausted and still cannot influence the routine. And even though these distractions leave me unfulfilled the mental break they provide are so welcomed!
I am there right now. Trapped in a world controlled by seizures, medications, appointments, therapies. While writing the first two paragraphs of this entry I have had to stop 4 different times for seizure intervention. I am so emotionally and physically exhausted. But I long for interaction outside of the medical world and routines that I am in.
And the interesting part of caregiver burnout is it has a lovely little cousin that often tags along called “caregiver guilt”. Caregiver guilt is a feeling of inadequacy. You feel like you are not doing as much as you should, and then judge yourself for apparent inadequacies. (Caregiver guilt can manifest itself in the forms of exhaustion, pushing yourself too hard, negative self-talk, anxiety, and other negative emotions.) I am very aware that I am not able to give 100% to anything right now…basic parenting, homeschooling, contributing to finances, marriage, friendships, home therapies, etc.
This is definitely a leaning on the everlasting arms phase as I look to God for a strength I just can’t seem to muster.
Enough about me, let’s talk about my miracle boys and their antics.
Malachi started his mysterious fevers again, coming and going throughout the second half of the week. These fevers are hard to navigate as we often put life on hold to make certain we aren’t going to infect others with sickness. But Malachi’s symptoms never manifested and the fever finally went away!
Levi doesn’t handle these long spells at home very well, ready and eager to burn some energy. We do what we can with time on the playground and random drives around town. Jake took him to a local football game which was such a treat! And wore him out!
When Malachi perked back up we did a quick fishing adventure, Jake ending up in the pond (much to Malachi’s delight) but reeling in a big one so he says it was worth it.
Levi has been preaching a lot lately, flipping over laundry baskets and reading from his Bible with animated gestures. It makes Malachi and I smile every time.
And all three boys are still thoroughly enjoying their airplane.
I took the teens up a local mountain for worship this afternoon (Jake stayed home on dad duty) and the fresh air was what my soul needed. Not to mention the breathtaking scenery.
Jake and I used to hike this mountain on weekends in college and getting the opportunity to go back up there always sparks memories from those fun, carefree days. I am so thankful for those memories and that Jake and I’s story is such an intricate one.
As I looked at the beautiful leaves on the trees around me I couldn’t help but admire their vibrant colors and beauty. But the more I thought about the leaves the more I realized that they were just in the process of dying.
I thought about the seasons of life we have gone through and have yet to go through, and how some of them are filled with such pleasant memories, and some are filled with such deep rooted pain. I saw myself in these leaves today as lately I have physically and emotionally struggled to accept the demands of the season changes in our life lately.
But with the death of the old comes new growth. God is a refining God, continually looking for opportunities to encourage us to look a little more like Him.
Hebrews 12:11-13 “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”
As painful as it may feel, I am so incredibly thankful for the refining that I am experiencing. God is bringing me to a new season, and that involves the death of the old. I am looking forward to the peaceful fruit when this training period is complete!
And until then, the prayer from this verse is very much like the prayer of my heart: “strengthen the hands that are week and the knees that are feebly, and make straight the paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”