Keeping a sense of self

I was asked last week at that meeting with the board of the Lincolnshire NHS Partnership Trust what advice I would give to others in my situation, those who had just been given the diagnosis and didn't know which way to turn, those who were struggling to cope, those who had thought that the change in their relationship was all their fault.  There were lots of things I thought of during the next few minutes but almost the first words that came out of my mouth were 'don't lose your sense of self'.  It's all too easy when you're caring for someone twenty four hours a day to forget about you and to think you should come second to their needs but it's not true.  I saw a quote recently which said something like (and I paraphrase here) 'it's not about putting yourself first, it's about putting yourself on an equal footing' and I loved that.  I didn't feel I should put myself first, whatever anyone said about looking after myself it felt selfish, but to put myself on an equal footing was different and completely tied in with that need to keep my sense of self and that sense of self is what helps me retain my sanity in a difficult world.

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