It is in the midst of difficulties that self-care is more important than ever. It has been a very difficult time for me these past two months. And so, what happens when, in the midst of caring for your wounded veteran or service member, another curve ball is thrown your way? A loved one who has been a major support system dies? Or a very close family member becomes ill and endures a lengthy hospitalization? How can one manage to continue military caregiver responsibilities while suddenly faced with dealing with another crisis or caring for others in dire need?

All of this happened to me and my family at the same time recently, forcing me to live basically on adrenaline for a time.  Whew–what an overwhelming feeling indeed! When I underwent this experience recently, my heart would at times cry out for a caregiver support group, just so I could be with others or just listen and feel positive, supportive energy. There were times when I just wanted to be alone, and while some time spent alone can be restful and therapeutic, we caregivers know well that too much isolation is not good for us. I often found myself longing to be with others to help me through the difficult period I was going through.

It didn’t matter whether the other caregivers could directly relate to what I was going through at the time; we all go through different specific situations. I just wanted to be in the presence of others and would have, of course, especially benefited from being with someone who had gone through a similar experience. Such support is so helpful, as is just having someone else listening to my concerns, fears, and doubts. It all plays a part in the healing process.

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BrainLine Article

I recommend reading an article written by BrainLine Health “Choosing the Right Caregiver Support Group” to help you get started on looking for a suitable support group, either online or in person or conducting a simple Google search to find a support group.  The article notes that numerous support groups are available to suit your needs and offers tips on finding the right one for you! The authors mention the importance of listening to others as they share stories and emphasizes that comfort can be obtained by hearing about experiences that others have had, some of which may well be like your own.

More Resources

Below are two additional resources that you might want to look at, and there are many additional caregiver support groups that are available to suit your needs:

  • MVCN’s chat lines., Military Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) chat lines. MVCN offers a private password protected website that requires caregivers to show proof of being a caregiver. Online chats are offered monthly to all members.
  • Hidden Heroes Community. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation offers a Facebook Community to military caregivers as well that requires caregivers to show proof of being a caregiver.

Caregivers, I challenge all of you, if you have not already done so, to plug into a local or online caregiver support group for your benefit – and for the benefit of others who need to hear your voice:-)

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