By Mark Koning
Being at middle ground can often feel like being ON battle ground; doing the right thing often feels like doing the wrong thing…. or the hard thing. But in the long run, this middle ground, this doing the right thing, not only benefits others, but I think it also benefits oneself.
To say that it is not easy living and coping with a brain injury, can be an understatement. You can be dealing with issues such as depression, frustration, and fatigue to say the least. On the opposite end of being a Survivor there can be people who look upon the brain injury with ignorance and/or misunderstanding; and sometimes they just don’t want to understand or even try to see the unseen. It is not unheard of that discrimination arises or that friends, and possibly even family, turn their backs.
And so, stuck in the middle is the Care-Giver.
It is really not all that bad, but it can feel that way at times. The Care-Giver stands by and has to watch the person with the illness struggle through physical, and more often, emotional turmoil; but also, at times, take and feel the wrath of their bitter harshness and anger. They can tend to feel as though they are not doing enough or perhaps questioning themselves as to why they are doing anything at all. They themselves can become angry or depressed.
On the flipside of the Survivor are the ones who can’t understand why; the employer who can’t understand why the Care-Giver needs to take time off; the friends who can’t understand why the Care-Giver does what he or she does or why they put up with any of the headaches. They themselves can end up losing people from their lives. But still, they make that sacrifice if need be, and why? Why sacrifice anything at all or alter your lifestyle?
As a Care-Giver myself I can tell you why, but they would be my personal reasons. Every Care-Giver out there has his or her own purpose behind why they do what they do. It could be a sense of obligation or love, pride or compassion. Maybe all of these things, maybe something else all together. But whatever reason, Care-Givers deserve a pat on the back from others, but also from their own hand.
I have written and spoken about how brain injury Survivors need to have a certain self confidence; well, Care-Givers need to have a little bit of self appreciation. Brain injury is an unseen disability that is often misunderstood; being a Care-Giver can be that way too. He or she needs almost as much support as the Survivor. It can feel like a lonely world when you feel as though you have to sometimes defend yourself or the person you are caring for and what they went through.
Every brain injury is different; albeit some similarities can exist. One of the most difficult things sometimes is explaining how you are able to understand (or sympathize) with something that is largely misunderstood. What I do know, is that the Care-Givers out there should be proud of their ability to have that understanding. Caring for someone else is one of those daily heroic things that rarely is talked about. I’m not putting Care-Givers on a pedestal, but it is something that deserves acknowledgement and maybe a little applause. After all, we are doing this job with our own unique tool; our heart.
For further information on Mark visit: www.markkoning.com
Mark’s hope is to share, learn, grow, and maybe offer a little inspiration along the way.