I have been struggling these past few months, unknowingly to most, with feelings of pure exhaustion, guilt, and fatigue. Each day I wake, after mostly sleepless nights, to a day full of caring for others. Caring for my sick husband, who is in need of much more with each passing month. Caring for my son, who is a ball of nonstop energy. Caring for the house and all that encompasses; cleaning, laundry, dishes, dinner, shopping, etc. Caring for the animals. Caring for my students, who even when on a break always seem to need something. All of this surrounds me, filling my head with exhaustion, my body with fatigue, my soul, overwhelmed. Each day I strive to find some sort of balance. I pray for a way for me to keep it all together, to remain in motion, because if I stop, I fear my world may come crashing down. It is never ending, which is probably the reason why I broke down last week. It was not a pretty moment and one I am a bit ashamed of, filled with crying and lots of screaming at Scott. He tends to get the brunt of it and I am thankful that he sits and listens. He does not make me feel insecure about my feelings, he always validates, and encourages me to find the good. He truly is an amazing man and I am so grateful that we have such an open and honest relationship.
What I have been experiencing is what they term caregiver burnout and sadly it happens to many spouses of those who have chronically ill partners, and probably too often. I know what you are thinking, ask for help, but honestly I don’t know what to ask for other than a break from life, and that is not a possibility. When I married Scott I was well aware of what our future would be like, in regards to his disease, but it is much different actually living it, then dreaming of it. It is much more taxing on me then I could have imagined. So for now, I will continue processing these feelings and remind myself that with His strength I am stronger than this.
I am so grateful for my family and friends for sticking with me through such an unusual time. I am thankful that I can express how I am feeling and also have time to “escape” from my reality for a few moments. I am seeing more of myself this past week. I am seeing the girl I once was, happy and full of life. The girl who believes in the positive, who believes that only good will come from this, at times dark, season of my life. I much prefer this Ashley. I much prefer living in the positive. I much prefer feelings of hope.
Friends and family, please continue to pray for my family. Pray for the perfect lungs. Pray that I can continue to find the good. Pray that I will find some rest for my weary soul and find the joy in serving others in this season.
Breathing in the peace,
P. S. Are you struggling with Caregiver Burnout? Here are some things that may help!