When I look into the faces of frontline workers, either through work or on TV, I see a growing fatigue. Yet they carry on carrying on, many juggling home life, online schooling, managing their households, their bills and their relationships. None of these disappear do they!
Carers care for people don’t they. That’s their job isn’t it! who then cares for the Carers?
Ministers and spokespeople stand on platforms saluting their resilience, their dedication and their courage. But! That growing fatigue still shows in their eyes.
This post is about that growing fatigue and, sadly, the inevitable consequence of it.
Stress, that much maligned and ubiquitous word that people talk about. “I’m stressed”. They say. “I can’t cope with the stress”. I’m not diminishing the emotions behind it, or trivialising how people feel, I’m questioning peoples understanding of stress.
I bought a new bed recently, one of those self-build contraptions, putting up the frame, Allen key and spanner in hand was the easy part, putting all the slats in place took muscle as they had to be bent in order to slot into their fittings. In they end they stood curved in their position like a series of bridges over a river, all in tension ready to take the weight of the mattress and the body weight and movement of the future sleepers. The slats were designed to take stress, the frame designed to contain stress and was made from stronger material, in my case metal.
Stress is not necessarily a bad thing, it is what our bodies are built for. We can do things to help both maintain and build our resilience, to reinforce our ability to take stress…… however, there is an Elephant in the room, or maybe just a small quantity of Baby Elephants.
When I was laying in my new bed thinking thoughts about this post, Elephants crept into them.
So here is my new bed, all new and fit for the purpose of carrying the weight of the sleepers, ready to meet the stresses of the nights ahead. Ah, but what is this? An Elephant in the room, a sleepy Elephant, whose eye is attracted to the nice new bed. Cue the disaster music, the slow motion capture of the Elephant, trunk swinging happily as it moves ever closer to the bed, the graceful flop onto the bed and CRASH!!!
The bed has moved from stress to immediate distress resulting in a catastrophic collapse.
For many Frontline workers, it is not a one Elephant problem, it is the slow and increasing entrance of Baby Elephants into the room, that slow increase in stress, which over time converts into distress, distress, which without the reinforcement of the structure, or decrease in the number of causational factors (Baby Elephants), the result will be a catastrophic collapse.
Who cares for the Carers?
Who and how will they be supported?
Who will be their to help pick up the pieces of broken mental and physical health?
Who will care for the Carers?
I don’t have the answers, just a desire to ensure that things are in place when the inevitable happens. If anybody wants to join me, please do because I’m damned sure one person clacking at a keyboard won’t have the clout of a hundred a thousand.
Let’s not weight until the collapse has happened.