The Time Warp That Is Disability Caregiving
The time warp that is disability caregiving is a concept that came to me in the middle of the night. Before you categorize me as a crackpot, be assured of this:
The thought was not caused by alien abduction.
No zombies came into the bedroom and made a midnight snack of my brains.
Ditto for vampires turning my blood into an iron-rich smoothie.
Rather, the thought was the direct outcome of speaking at a trauma-informed conference yesterday. The conference was aimed at educators and mental health professionals. The percentage of educators to the mental health professionals was at least 60/40. Maybe more. As a former teacher, I enjoyed spending the day talking with “my people.”
One of them, a sweet young teacher, asked, “How long did you teach?”
“Twenty-five years,” I said.
“When did you leave the field?” she wanted to know.
“In 2003,” I replied.
“Wow!” Her eyes widened. “That’s twenty years ago.”
“What?” I thought. “Twenty years ago? Why does it feel like yesterday?”
The answer to that question came in the middle of the night. I sat bolt upright in bed, awakened by a wholly formed thought.
Because of the time warp that is disability caregiving.
And where did that thought come from?
After setting aside my theories about alien travel guides, zombie foodies, and nutritionally minded vampires, I pinpointed the real source: my personal experience with caregiving.
- The first twenty years of my life, when our family cared for my disabled father in our home and watched him slowly fade away, still feel like a hundred.
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Jolene Philo is the author of several books for the caregiving community. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and Amazon. See Jane Dance!, the third book in the West River cozy mystery series, which features characters affected by disability, was released in October of 2023.
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