I was thrust into the role as a caregiver at the age of 17 when my father had a massive stroke and became permanently disabled.

At just 17, life handed me an unexpected role: caregiver to my father after his massive stroke. It was tough, especially when my parents divorced, leaving me to manage everything from his finances to his daily needs. I won't lie, it was a rollercoaster of emotions – anger, resentment, you name it. I was overwhelmed and exhausted.

Then, when my eldest son was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder at 2, my world took another turn. I dove headfirst into learning everything about his needs, from therapy options to a whole new language of acronyms. As he grew older, the challenges piled up with additional diagnoses like ADHD, depression and anxiety. I remember someone telling me caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint. They were right, but for the longest time, I felt like I was constantly sprinting.

Fast forward, and life threw another curveball: my husband, Gary, became permanently disabled. We ran an insurance agency together, but one day he just couldn't do it anymore. His mental health struggles were overwhelming. Suddenly, I was juggling more responsibilities than ever. I was a ticking time bomb of stress.

But at 50, something clicked. I realized this was my life, and I had to carve out a path for myself too. Caring for my loved ones didn't mean I had to forget about myself. I was on a fast track to depression, and I knew something had to change.

Over the last decade, I've learned to balance caring for my family with taking care of myself. Even after losing Gary in 2022, I'm still here, caring for my boys, navigating widowhood, but also living life on my terms.

Now, I'm using everything I've learned – and my certifications as a Caregiving Consultant and Facilitator – to help other caregivers find that balance. To show them that it's not just about caring for others, but also about living the life they deserve.

Follow my journey here 👇

Maybe I Can... The Podcast by Debbie Weiss

8 Steps Caregivers and EVERYONE Can Use for Self-Care, INCLUDING YOU!

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