I may just be jumping the gun here, as I am only 4 days into my first ever caring position. Before starting this journey, I had romanticized how I would be caring and helping friendly people, (in my mind if you are friendly to someone they will be friendly back), sitting together chatting, watching TV, making lovely meals for people who would appreciate your help and expertise in the kitchen, sharing life stories etc etc – you get the picture. I was going to get paid, for caring and looking after people, at the same time travelling and seeing different places and meeting new people.
Hmmm – have I got that wrong. I know it must be hard having a stranger come into your home and do things for you that previously you could manage doing all by yourself, I get that. I also get that obviously each placing will be different with different requirements.
The part that I am really battling with is the total isolation as an individual (maybe being incredibly homesick isn’t helping). The lifestyle of a carer is not a healthy one. You are on call 22 hours a day (and yes we were told this in training, but in training and listening and imagining is totally different to real life scenarios). You are demanded of and obviously need to be pleasant and helpful with every demand – because you are being paid to do this. Communication on a daily basis is what is taking place on Emmerdale * and what the weather is like. Not the most stimulating conversations day in and day out. So that rules out one of my purposes of taking this on – meeting people. I enjoy my alone time, but also thrive on interaction. For these first two weeks my sole company is 1.
Purpose 2 – care for people – all well and good, but it is really hard to keep positive when the person you are caring for, resents the fact that you are there caring for them.
Purpose 3 – travel and see places I wouldn’t normally see. With only 2 hours off a day, when all you actually want to do is curl up in a ball and tell the world to leave you alone, as all your positive energy gets drained trying to erase the negativity around you, not much time to experience and soak up the atmosphere of the little towns you may be visiting. You cannot go and visit a local pub over a glass of wine and enjoy the camaraderie. Its the isolation that is killing me and I have only been doing this for 4 days, how am I going to survive 3 months.
I have been bending my family’s and friend’s ears and really don’t like to complain, which I feel that is all I am doing – trying hard to find good here, but this job is for a totally selfless individual and I am realizing, especially with all the self talk going on in my head (and wow is it noisy) that I am a selfish person and though I care deeply for people, this walk in life may just not be for me. I enjoy my freedom, of being able to pop into a restaurant for a bite with friends, not be dictated to that I can only make personal calls during my 2 hour break every day, go for a run, eat the food that I like/want to eat, not have to tiptoe around all day without the fear of disturbing anyone, basically just live a normal healthy life and as I said in an early paragraph, the lifestyle of a carer is not a healthy one.
Yep I am selfish – this does not change the fact that I will still care for other people, but that I also need to care for myself and even though the money is really good, it is not good enough for me to give up my freedom. Have to admit that writing this blog post has helped clear my mind and get things into perspective a bit, so thank you for your indulgence. So going to get through my commitments, but it is back to the drawing board.
And now have to sign off … being summoned ……
* British soapie