Katie: Moving Forward
Katy identified “good things” she has experienced by learning to manage the chaos and disruption of supporting her brother.
The power of forgiveness. Being okay with uncertainty. Accepting what is. Realizing the preciousness of life. The importance of really cherishing and enjoying the moment, like at Thanksgiving, when Kevin was so funny. It made me feel happy. I carry that joy and memory with me now. For a lot of people that would be a little thing. It’s huge for him and for us as a family to have experienced that moment. It’s all about appreciating even the small things with Kevin when he is doing well—not being judgmental, but being open, more compassionate, and caring. Knowing that through heartache, you can grow and be a better person.
Katy highlighted the importance of having a support group, people that you can talk to. Help may come from talking to another family member or a therapist. She emphasized the importance of being realistic.
Have hope, but also realize you’re going to have to come up with a way to cope. That includes being open about how you feel, feeling feelings, and not shutting them out like I did. Try to do what you can, but realize you can’t be a martyr and you’re not going to save anyone. When I was going through my journey, I had no one early on at all. I think at that time, I was like “I’m smart, I’m young, I can do anything, I know everything.” Look, you have to have a lot of self-love. Therapy is important, and you’ve got to be realistic with what you can give. Try to read everything you can about the person’s illness. Be educated. For me, knowledge is power.
Through facing challenges, Katie learned how to manage adversity through a positive mindset.
First and foremost, make sure you’re not going to run yourself ragged trying to help the other person. Because it can take over your life and it can destroy your life if you let it. It’s not a joy ride. There’s a lot of heartache. Try to figure out how you can cope and you’ll be okay. In the end, you’ll probably be a better person than you ever would be otherwise.