Last month, a coworker of mine asked me what I did outside of work for fun or just in general. After I gave my answer, he asked me what I did that did not involve my sister (who has Down Syndrome). I did not have an answer. The conversation ended there and to be honest, I was kinda offended and yet, I still have no answer to his question. Can it be true that I have no identity outside of being a caregiver? How did I get here? How did this become my life?
I decided a long time ago that I would be the one responsible for my sister when we became adults (we have other siblings). I chose my field of study so that I could help persons with disabilities. On my first job, I advocated for persons with disabilities to be brought into the workforce…the company disagreed, but I spoke my peace.
That conversation was a month ago and it is still on my mind. The truth is, I really do not do anything just for me. I’m a lousy friend…I rarely socialize and go out with my friends. I am always attending some caregiver meeting or doing some type of advocacy for persons with Down Syndrome, e.g., 5K walks and other fundraisers. What do I even like to do just for fun? How am I going to meet someone to start a relationship if I go nowhere? What makes me happy? What do I want to achieve in life? Who am I outside of being a caregiver? I really don’t know.
How do I fix this?
Caregiver: Camille Country: USA