Have you ever been asked what your favourite superpower would be? I have. I have actually been asked this a lot…maybe it’s because many people know that my ultimate dream is to become some-sort of pink-cloak wearing superhero 🙂
My answer to this very exciting question often interchanges between the ability to fly (how cool would that be? I’d be happy with Aladdin’s magic carpet) or the ability to be invisible.
Anyway I think it is fair to say that one of my desired superpowers actually often comes true when supporting my unwell mum, especially when I am present at many of her array of appointments.
So an example of this …
The number one question that I cannot count the number of times I have heard people ask my mum (under several variations) is “Do you want to kill yourself?”
The person asking my mum this is usually a psychiatrist, GP, social worker or mental health practitioner and it’s in the same way you would ask someone what they did at the weekend, what they had for lunch … or just to tick or untick a box.
They certainly don’t ever look in my direction or give any slight acknowledgment that the daughter of the person they are asking is intently listening to whether the mental illness that their parent experiences makes them feel like it should all be over.
I totally understand that this is a question that has to be asked…but perhaps it could be asked in a more sensitive way OR perhaps people could see past the magical invisible cloak and ask me my opinion of it all too.
Another example is when I’ve been asked what it is like to support someone who is mentally distressed and how low their quality of life really is. Maybe the person asking the questions does in fact listen to the responses but certainly not enough to do anything about it 😦
I can honestly say I’ve never been given ANY advice, tips or acknowledgment of how tough it is to parent a parent.
It’s time for the invisibility cloak to come off
Many of us will be a carer at some stage in our lives, three in five of us in fact. The role can come about unexpectedly and many people will end up putting their own lives on hold to help someone close to them.
Therefore, I think the invisibility cloak needs to be removed and we really need to start listening to carers … it will definitely help in the long run 🙂
x Rebecca x