I have been in a mild depression for weeks, without any creative energy to lift me up and out. I’m no stranger to depression; it’s not the first or last time. When I was working for clients, it was relatively easy to take the time necessary to recoup and recharge. Nobody needed to know that I was down and out, except the people I trust to love and support me during those times. Now that I’m a valued caregiver, though, I can’t just “not show up”, and showing up with a positive frame of mind is more important than ever.
Bad timing, too!
My mother has slipped into sundowning mode. I need to be there longer each day to help her through the change of light that can throw so many people with dementia into a tizzy of confusion and delusion. Very close to 5 p.m., she begins to get agitated and confused. She talks about seeing things that aren’t there. Or it might be an old memory, it’s hard to tell. She paces and looks out the windows, worrying. She can’t seem to make sense of what’s going on inside her head, and it distresses her. My father reacts to her distress by getting distressed himself. It’s contagious.
But that’s life, isn’t it? Just when you think you have it all figured out…. something comes along to remind you that you don’t. Caregivers need to be mindful of depression, too – studies have shown that they report depression in significant numbers, which is not surprising. My depressions come and go, and might be exacerbated by the sadness seeping into my days and nights, but I don’t think that depression need be a presumed result of caregiving.
There’s always a way….
I came across some incredible healing meditations by Sarah Blondin, and have been using them to soothe and comfort me as I watch the sun rise. Yesterday, at the “witching hour”, I asked my Mom to listen with me. We both lay on her bed and shared the earbuds. I pulled her blinds down and put all the lights on in her room so that she wouldn’t notice the light changing. And for 20 minutes we lay side by side listening to Sarah’s beautiful voice. I could feel my Mom’s energy calming, as I wiped away tears that kept springing to my eyes. It was beautiful.
I get a break, they don’t.
My siblings are there for me on the weekend, and our new hired caregiver is a true blessing. Mom and Dad never get a break. They wake up having to struggle with their changing brains every day.
And that’s the most important lesson today. Emotions are just emotions, there’s always a way out of depression and sadness. Sometimes just admitting it is the first step to getting through it. But I still need to show up for Mom and Dad, and put on my happy face, push through to my happy place.
“I wish someone had told me, when I felt I had nothing to offer the world,
that all I needed to do was sit down and breath. That all I needed to do was learn the practice of opening to and discovering the true Self, sitting inside of me, quietly, and that from there the rest would come easier.”
– Sarah Blondin
7 thoughts on “Lesson #10: Just Show Up”
Courage dear Lorrie!
Kick that mild depression in the butt!
We live in New Zealand – so summertime here – but you’re apparently getting snow all over the place in the States. If there’s no blizzard, go in the yard and build a snowman (your parents will probably smile at it too). Then perhaps throw a couple of snowballs. By then you’ll be frozen!
Back inside for a cup of hot chocolate/tea/coffee. And hopefully your parents will remember happy stories of long gone snow adventures in your family and you will all three have one of those precious “shared memory” moment.
All the best!
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What a beautifully cheerful concept, Charlotte! Thanks for your images of fun in the snow. Too much ice to build a snowman, but I do remember those wintry days when we would come in with rosy cheeks for a hot beverage. I appreciate your support. 🙂
Sorry it’s so hard right now. Thank god or whoever that all things pass.
Love the lying on the bed in meditation – good strategy. I used to get Mom to help me make dinner, chop veg, set the table. Or we danced. Music and dancing featured prominently in our days. As did sorting laundry 🙂
You are a hero. You know where to find me if need be ❤
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Your wisdom and kind words are always appreciated, dear Amazing Susan. Will reach out soon to catch up!
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Meditation is a great help to me. Have a look at Dekyong on YouTube she is a profound teacher. Hang on in there depression is a curse but it will pass.
Thank you for the recommendation and your compassion. Both much appreciated!
Meditation is great but Perhaps your mild depression will make you meditate on negative things. When I’m down and feel a bit hopeless, I usually go back to classic prayers (the Our Father, the Lord is my shepherd, or just 2 or 3 times the Hail Mary.
As we recite them , no other thoughts come into our mind, and every time I feel refreshed afterwards.
Sometimes I say them out loud and it is a delight to hear Mom chime in, even If it’s sometimes just for the Amen.
All the best dear Lorrie