Caregiving For An Adult Brother With Mental Illness Who Lives Across the Country

It was all about me trying to project this image. To whom? No idea, myself I guess. Like anyone was looking.
— Katie

Don't forget to share Invisible Not Broken with a friend or a caregiver you know.

Until next week 

Be kind. Be gentle, Be a badass.

Thank you for joining us for a very special interview with one of my favorite people. Katie has been a long time friend and my supplier in cute kittens. She is running multiple businesses while volunteering time to care for sick kittens and she is also caring for her brother who lives across the country. Please take a listen and learn about the upside of living in a small town, how Katie helped her brother gain some more independence, sometimes money needs to be thrown at an issue, how great telecommuting can be when you are a caregiver, and one of my favorite parts of our interview hearing how she found the blessings in the face of a massive oncoming storm. Katie is a true badass who has dedicated her entire being to caretaking take a minute and see her page Kitten 911.

Katie's Caretaker Questionnaire

Name * Katie Carney

Age * 50

What is your person's diagnosis? *

mental illness - Depression & OCD

When did it become a significant issue in your life? *

Always, more after parents died

What does a ‘normal’ day look like? *
Work, lots of email & driving, think about issues revolving around caretaking brother

What could ‘healthy’ world do to make your life easier? *

Employers could recognize mental illness - and the need to care for someone suffering with it - the same as needing to care for someone physically ill

How has this changed you? *
Made me 'grow up' and make sure my own shit is together!

How has this affected your relationships? *
It definitely pulls focus... but friends, bosses & boyfriends have been (luckily) great

Any life hacks?

Preparation is key; NO guilt - order meals, pay for housecleaning, etc. for you AND/OR the caretake-ee!! You do NOT have to do it all, or all alone!!

What do you wish someone would ask you? *
Would you like a massage/foot rub/day off? How can I take care of YOU??

What do you hope they won't ask? *
What's his diagnosis? Has he always been like this? Will he ever get better?

What frightens you? *

Financial Ruin

What or who would you be if you weren't taking care of someone? *

I can't imagine NOT caretaking ... but most likely I would travel a LOT more. Life would be less structured.

Favorite swear word?
Fuck ton (as in 'That's a fuck ton of work.'). Alternately - asshat. Best insult ever!

Links to services mentioned in the podcast

Mom's Meals

Blue Apron

Kitten 911

Girl Power Now Productions

Compassion Fatigue

Katie's Pet Sitting Business Ray of Sunshine Pet Care

Kitten 911 Future Pet Reality Show