111: Mindful Caregiving: I’m talking about it and I hope you do too

May 24, 2023 00:28:54
111: Mindful Caregiving: I’m talking about it and I hope you do too
Breathe In, Breathe Out with Krystal Jakosky
111: Mindful Caregiving: I’m talking about it and I hope you do too

May 24 2023 | 00:28:54


Hosted By

Krystal Jakosky

Show Notes

In this podcast, I discuss the importance of meditation, mindfulness, and being open about the challenges of caregiving. I share my personal experience of becoming a caregiver for my mother, who was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia, and how that led me to create a series on mindful caregiving. I also talk about my journey in metaphysical studies and how it has helped validate my teachings and boost my confidence.

Throughout the episode, I emphasize the importance of communication and support while going through the caregiving journey. I encourage listeners to reach out, share their experiences, and build a support system to help them through this challenging time. I also discuss the concept of self-care and how it is vital for caregivers to take care of themselves in order to be better caretakers for others.

I send a message of hope and love to those going through difficult caregiving situations and remember that they are not alone and that there are resources and support available to help them through this journey.

Thank you so much for all the support throughout the years! If you love what we are doing here with the podcast, you can make a one time donation to support Breathe In, Breathe Out.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:03 Think meditation is hard. Do me a favor, take a slow deep breath in and now breathe out. Congratulations, you just meditated. Speaker 1 00:00:15 Hey y'all, this is Crystal Kowski and thank you, thank you, thank you for being here. The only constant in life is change. And sometimes we like those changes. Other times we're really frustrated with them. Reality is change gives us an opportunity to grow. It gives us an opportunity to look at where we're at and what we want to improve, what we want to make better, and how, how we're sitting in our own life. Recently I had a change that was overwhelming and challenging. My mother was diagnosed with Lew body dementia, and any of you who are familiar with it, I love you and thank you for your support and any who aren't. It's a scary and overwhelming ugly disease under the dementia umbrella. My podcast is all about mindfulness and meditation, and I've decided to start within, breathe and breathe out a series that is on mindful caregiving because of my own experience and how I am learning and growing. Speaker 1 00:01:29 So I welcome you to the next episode of Mindful Caregiving. Back in November of 2022, I decided it was time to connect with my spiritual body a little bit more and spend some time learning and growing in that realm. And I talk about my spirit guides all the time. You guys know this? And so I'm already pretty connected, and yet I felt like I had stagnated a little bit. So it was time to reach out, branch out, and I found this metaphysical university, and at the end of the program, I will have a ministerial license as well as a degree in metaphysical studies. I did this in November and was very excited about it because I wanted to, like I said, reconnect and be growing instead of stagnating. And it was really beautiful. The first several episodes or the first several modules, it's a self-guided course. Speaker 1 00:02:30 I was excited because these modules were validating many of the things that they were talking about and I was learning are things that I already teach. And so instead of that imposter syndrome that creeps in every now and then and really makes us insecure, I was feeling way more confident in what I teach and how I'm able to help people. I was thrilled. I really enjoyed it. And then my mom's diagnosis came, and so I slowed down a little bit on my studies, which is fine, not a big deal. There's no I, there's no worry or upset or frustration in that I recognize that it was a self-guided thing, which gave me time and flexibility to do what I needed to do. So when I got back to it after the diagnosis, it was February, and when I dove in, one of the courses was talking about the law of attraction and how what we put out into the world is what is attracted back to us. Speaker 1 00:03:48 And it literally said in this lesson that you should not talk to people about your hardships because if you talk about your hardships, then you are attracting more hardships to come down the line towards you, like attracts like. And this was really upsetting. This was really, really frustrating for me because I thought, here I am going through this shift in my life and things are so overwhelming and challenging and I get a little bit of a respite, and then I'm thrust back into trying to decipher what's going on and what needs attention and what's okay. And I'm told through this course that I am only supposed to speak with a trusted spiritual advisor. That means that I don't get to talk to my friends and say, yeah, I'm having a hard time. I don't get to talk in support groups because I'm just telling people that I'm having a hard time and I'm inviting more of a hard time to myself. Let me tell you, it was enough to make me stop studying for a while until I spoke with a dear friend and she gave me clarity. So what was my clarity? I'm gonna tell you. Speaker 1 00:05:21 She said that it's in the spirit with which you share. Are you sharing your upset in a woe? Is me poor picked on me from a victimhood standpoint, or are you sharing it from a, this is my truth, this is my reality. I know that I will get through it. It's really hard as hell right now, and yet I know that I will be okay. It gave me pause, <laugh>, I'm so very grateful for her because of that insight and that inspiration, because what I have found in speaking with others is that there are a lot of people out there going through being a caregiver. There are so many people out there who have aging parents, a struggling spouse, a child, a family member that they are actively watching go through these challenges and having to give care to. And I want you to hail back to my previous episode, episode two about what is a caregiver and what does that mean? Speaker 1 00:06:47 Because a caregiver is literally anybody who is giving care, assisting someone else who is not 100% able to care for themselves. Any one of us is a caretaker. Now, there are moments that we are going to be a caretaker by making a meal for a family, by taking the kids for a little while, by inviting somebody to go out and play basketball and be physical or go for a hike and help them move their bodies. There are a ton of different ways that we become caregivers, and some of those are not as weighty. They are not stressful or overwhelming in any way. And so when we do those activities of caregiving, it's more of a boon and it feeds your soul and it feeds the other person's soul. And it's great and it's wonderful. And when if you choose to talk about it, it's already light and helpful. Speaker 1 00:07:52 I'm talking right now about those areas of caregiving that are incessantly weighing down upon you. It is consistent and there's not really any way that you can get out of it. You have your children or your family or your spouse. You have someone who is declining and you are the point person. If I listened to this metaphysical course that said, no, don't talk about it, don't speak about it, I, I would've been left in an abyss of struggle alone separated. I would've felt shame. Ugh, this is so heavy <laugh> and the thoughts that I'm having are not necessarily nice because I want this to be over, but, but that makes me a bad person. No, it doesn't. Speaker 1 00:08:59 The fears, the uncertainties, the worries about how to work and how to navigate and how to help, how to nurture, how to support. I mean, it's so, there's so many facets to the whole thing. And if I don't talk to anyone, I am forced to be an island allowing the winds to buffet me. I don't get to ask for help because people only know if you need help, if you tell them that you need help. If you tell them that you are struggling. I took a moment and I really thought about her statement of, it's okay to share as long as you're sharing it in a more hopeful manner. Well, how the hell do you find hope when you are in the dredges and your person that you are caring for is simply declining and there's no end in sight and the weight and the emotion, the mental, constantly thinking about how they're doing, and if this new thing that just came up is part of the disease, or if it's a normal human thing to forget, are they falling more? Are they confused more? Are they forgetting words more? Speaker 1 00:10:22 It can be unbelievably overwhelming and draining, fearsome. And if I don't talk to anybody, then I'm in my own world and it's not a pretty world and I, it's, it's really hard to find hope and joy and support. When I started talking to people, then I found out, holy shit, there are a lot of people in this position in varying degrees. Some of the mom is the caregiver of dad, and these kids are the supports to mom, but they don't feel like mom is really all there either. And dad's not getting the support he wants, but mom doesn't really wanna do anything because she thinks she's got it all. Other people are the hands-on person for the aging parent or the partner or the kid, the friend. Speaker 1 00:11:18 And they're struggling. And when I talk to them and say, Hey, you know, this is really hard, they go, oh my gosh, thank you for saying that and thank you for talking about it. And then we talk about this wonderful course that I highly recommend to absolutely everybody and anybody that I come across called Savvy Caregiver, and it's focused on Alzheimer's and dementia. It is the most beautiful, difficult, uplifting, reassuring course that anybody can take. And I refer people to it all the time. There is, I don't wanna say camaraderie because it's not like we're all like banding together and saying, yes, we're the caregivers, but there is this beautiful understanding, this uplifting that happens because we're both going through this. And you know what that means? It means that if I'm having a really hard time, I can just let you know, Hey, I'm having a hard time today, and uh, you're gonna know exactly what I'm talking about and I don't have to hide it because hiding it says shame hiding. Speaker 1 00:12:32 It says it's wrong, hiding. It says nobody else wants to see it. Well, that's bullshit. The reality is none of us gets out of us this alive. Some of us have a beautiful, simple, peaceful passing. Some of us have a traumatic passing, some of us have a long drawn out illness, but the bottom line is none of us will get out of this, which means that somebody is probably going to help be your caretaker. It means that the majority of us are going to end up being a caretaker or in a supportive role of a caretaker in this life. So why aren't we talking about it now so that everybody knows that it's okay that this is an extremely difficult part of life and it's made more difficult by the fact that we are not talking about it. There are more caregivers in the home, outside of the medical field than there are trained in the medical field. Speaker 1 00:13:43 It's mind boggling how many people who are family members or loved ones partners taking care of someone than there are people in hospitals and nursing homes, because that's what we do. And yet, why don't we talk about it? Why don't we open up and verbalize those challenges? Why don't we make it more mainstream so that people can understand that we're not alone, that we're all dealing with caregiving in some way or will be. And if we talk about it, then maybe it won't be so scary and overwhelming. I think what we do hear from people is the regrets, man, I brought in the hospital bed and my mom was gone a week later. If I hadn't brought that in, then maybe she'd still be with me or having to withdraw life support. Speaker 1 00:14:53 Did I do the right thing? Did I do the right thing here? Did I do the right thing there? I'm a caregiver. Did I miss something? Was there something I could have done to help their life be longer or their quality of life be better? If we talked about caregiving itself and the challenges that it presents, it might not be so scary when the time comes that I have to decide is now the time to let her go. Is this the moment that we've talked about? Is it okay to put her in a home? There is such a stigma of putting someone in a home, acknowledging defeat, acknowledging that you are no longer able to take care of their every need. You cannot be there 24 7 because you still have a job and a family and a life. But somehow that failure of having to put them in a home where they can actually get the love and support that they need, <laugh>, why is that not held a little bit higher? Hey, you did the best that you could and now you have so many other people looking on her and keeping her safe or him safe. You get to be the loved one and the child or whatever your relationship is instead of the caregiver, which causes untold amounts of stress and means that your relationship, however it was before to that person deteriorates. Speaker 1 00:16:32 You don't get to connect with them on that personal level that you used to because you are now the caregiver feeding, cleaning, supporting nursing. I have found talking about it, mentioning it to people, it naturally comes up in conversations. I cannot believe how many times I'll mention, yeah, my mom struggles with this, and so I've become her caretaker recently. Oh my gosh, can we talk about this? This is so hard. I, I cannot tell you how many times even complete strangers, I do not know how. I do not know why. Maybe there's a beacon over my head that says, I'm willing to talk about the challenges of caregiving. It's there, <laugh>. I mean, it's absolutely there. If we are able to let each other know that we're not alone, that there is support, that there is love, that we can find those who are in the same boat, doesn't mean we have to meet for lunch all the time. Speaker 1 00:17:39 It doesn't mean that we have to be very best friends. It doesn't mean that we have to tap into each other's energy. On the contrary, knowing that you're not alone means that your energy can be booned. It can be boosted and lifted because instead of feeling alone, which naturally drains your energy, you can say, oh yeah, I can draw from the universal. We there are more out there and we're all making it through the absolute best way that we can. If you're a caregiver and you're challenged and weigh down, I really hope that you find someone that you can talk to. I hope that you'll find a friend or a counselor. I hope that instead of saying, I'm fine, you say, you know, I'm really challenged. I'm weighed down right now and this is really heavy stuff and I know that it will get better. Or maybe the person won't get better, and yet you will have a moment of respite. Or at some time there will be a moment of peace. I know I'll get through this and I know that there will be lessons learned along the way. I will find moments of joy. Speaker 1 00:19:00 I will cherish the moments that we get to laugh together and be present together. Just me and that person. Yeah, right now I just wanna cry right now. I just wanna sleep right now. I just wanna curl up in bed and do nothing. Can I sit on the couch and stare out the window and not function? Is that okay? <laugh>? I want to crawl into a hole where nobody can bother me, nobody can ask anything of me. I want someone else to help figure out what to eat because I just can't anymore. And another peanut butter and jelly sandwich for myself is probably not the best choice. Speaker 1 00:19:55 Speaking with others gives us support, gives us clarity, gives us understanding not only that speaking with others can help us find answers, can give us inspiration that we didn't know we needed. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with people and it has inspired me. My mom has dementia. Oh, did you know that there's this resource for someone with dementia or for a caregiver of someone with dementia? Oh, you know what? I just heard about this thing. It's really not very well known. I gotta tell you about it. And through sharing that, then we share resources and it means that I have stuff to draw upon. Speaker 1 00:20:46 I can do little research here and a little bit of research there and find out that, holy crap, you know, this one little thing that I've been struggling with, there's actually an answer for that. Oh, I can have a home health visit and they will do a a study on her and say, okay, well these are the programs that your person could qualify for in this area so we could help you out. There are some that are free, there are some that cost, but at least there's programs. There's more support than we ever think is out there, but we don't know that that support is there unless we start talking, unless we start opening up, unless we start bringing light to the challenges that are there. Talking about death and dying, talking about decline in life has always been a challenging subject because the majority of us really have no desire to look at that. Speaker 1 00:21:52 Not talking about that stuff also means that we are not talking about the caregiving side, the emotional, mental and physical toll that being a caregiver takes on us. And maybe all it takes is one phone call to a friend saying, pH, this is really hard today. And your friend says, oh, tell me all about it. Or Would you rather go get ice cream and not talk? What would you like and how can I support you in that building your group of people who understand. I think that was one of my biggest challenges in the very beginning was I want to share, I want to talk about people, what's going on with people, but they're not gonna understand the depth of what's going on, and I really don't wanna have to spend the time bringing them up to speed on the depth of it. Creating your own support system, whether that's going to a support group or talking to people and finding those people in your sys, in your already existing group that have gone through it or are going through it, you'll find it's so much easier. You don't have to explain it to them because they already know. And not only do they already know, but maybe they've already been through it all the way to the end of the road. And they can give you tidbits of wisdom. Speaker 1 00:23:31 Hey, I know that that's really hard and let me tell you what I did. It may or may not help you, and yet here you go. And in those little nuggets you may find you have armor and strength. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not the freight train that you're afraid of. There's help. I really hope that we can start talking about our role. I really hope that we can open that taboo up so that we can all see it and we can all understand it. And those of us who are going through it can find mentors of people who have already gone through it or who are experiencing it now. And we can be the support and loving guides for those coming after us, opening up the conversation, making it less fearful and more pH. Yeah, that's really rough. And you can make it through because I did too. Speaker 1 00:24:39 You can make it through because there are resources, there is support. My support group is growing. People I did not even think to talk to about it in the first place ended up coming to me saying, Hey, I'm going through this. Oh really? Holy crap. So am I. That's really hard, isn't it? Yeah, this is really difficult strength in numbers. You're not alone. You do not have to be an island. You do not have to go through it solo. And the beautiful thing about that is once you build that supportive people you can talk with and then you build your resources up, it means that now you have better ways to do self-care. You have better ways to boost your own energy. You have better ways to be a stronger you, which means that you have better ways to be the compassionate caregiver that that person really needs. Speaker 1 00:25:51 It is not their choice to be going through what they are going through. They're sick. If you treat them as though they are a whole and competent human being, you will be sorely disappointed after, recognize that there's a little less and a little more at the same time, a little less of their able ability to process a little more compassion required. They still love you, they still wanna be there. There's something else that's blocking them, and that's not their choice inside. They are probably just as frustrated and disappointed as you are. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being here. Please reach out. Do not sit there alone. Speaker 1 00:26:56 There's no reason for it. And there is so much out there that can help support you, nurture you, and give you a break so that you can take care of yourself. You know me, I'm huge on self-care, <laugh>. So how are you gonna take care of yourself so that you can be a better caretaker for them? And who are you going to talk to? How are you gonna open that up so that you can find people who have either been through it or are going through it to remind yourself, no suffering in silence. I wish you the best. I send you my love. I tell you I'm doing okay. I'm working through it. There are ups, there are downs, there are days I wanna cry, and there are days I feel like rocky at the top of those stairs, I could conquer the world. That's the rollercoaster. It ebbs and flows. Caregiving has its gifts, and it has its weighty, challenging, difficult moments as well. And yet in that there's always a moment of peace. Take care. And until next week, we'll see you again on breathing. Breathe out. I hope this moment of self care and healing brought you some hope and peace. I'm Crystal Kowski on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and I hope you check us out and follow along for more content coming soon. I look forward to being with you again here on breathing. Breathe out. Until next. Take care.

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