You are the person behind the scenes of the front lines. You aren’t answering the emergency calls, walking the hospital ward, or in contact with virus positive people every day throughout the day, but you are making sure the community has people who can. You are supporting your loved one as they are on the front lines keeping everyone else safe. But what about you? You are the caregiver of the caregiver, and that takes a toll. I’m typing this as my spouse is at work for at least a five day stretch, with the knowledge it could be a lot longer. I’m living this life and struggle with you, I get it. It’s not easy, and the struggle is one of a kind. I want to share some things with you that I’m working on to get us through this crisis, and hope that you find it helpful and supportive, as well.
Focus on Community
Isolation and loneliness is a huge thing happening for you right now. You see your friends getting quarantined with their spouses and while they may be having difficulties because of being in close quarters, at least they get to see them. At least they get to have that extra set of hands when things get tough. You don’t. But you’re not alone. Reach out and find online support groups, Facebook groups, group chats of other first responder/health care spouses. Get involved with your neighborhood social media page. There are so many resources popping up, I’m honestly shocked and in love with how we as a community have pulled together to help each other virtually in this time of need. Share videos that keep kids entertained, movies to get your mind off things, craft projects that kids can do independently, or just a group of other people to vent and cry with… before cleaning up the peanut butter your kid spread everywhere because PB&J it’s what’s for dinner… every day.
Remember Your Resiliency
Our spouses went through training to get them ready for their job. We didn’t get that privilege. There isn’t a 101 class about how to prepare to be the life partner of someone in their field. But if you’ve been doing this for any length of time, my guess is you’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way. If anybody can weather this quarantine storm successfully, it is us. We are used to making decisions on our own, we are used to being in charge, we are used to managing for days or weeks on end. Give yourself credit for that! Yes this is probably going to be a slightly longer time period that even we are used to, but we are still more prepared than many others. What are some lessons you have learned? What would you tell a new spouse of a healthcare worker/first responder? How can you take those lessons and apply them now? My guess is you probably know a lot more than you realize in this moment.
Hold onto Connection
I know how important those once a day phone calls to your love are if they are able to happen. Don’t let those slip away. You are not able to collapse in their arms right now, but you can still be connected to them virtually. Do the video chats, the texts, the Snapchats, the pictures, the phone calls, anything you can to stay connected with your loved one. Remember why you fell in love with them and why you love them now. Their job is part of that! You may dislike the details of the job, but this job helps to make them who they are, and you love who they are. This is just part of the sacrifice that comes with their field. This is your sacrifice and your payment you are giving to the community. You are supporting your love so they can care for everyone else. You are the backbone that is holding everything together. You can do this.
If you have any questions or would like to explore this further with Alyssa or any of the counselors at AWCC, please give us a call at 832-421-8714.