GAF level

Caregiving Survival Skill: Throttling your G.A.F. level


This post contains censored explicit language.

When you’re in the throes of caregiving, it is easy to become overwhelmed. With so much going on, it can be hard to stay positive. 

One way I’ve learned how to cope with all of the challenges that come with the complexity of providing care for a loved one is throttling my G.A.F level.

Your G.A.F. (Give a F@#$) level is simply the amount of energy you choose to exert on any given circumstance.

Too much and you’re at risk for an aneurysm. 

Too little and you’re bordering on narcissism. 

Just the right amount and it’s smooth sailing.

My story this time doesn’t have anything to do with Gma, although the majority of my practice in this skill comes from my experience with her. 

My dogs are not perfect and sometimes they pee on the carpet. As of late, we had worked out a rhythm.

Photo: Max (dog) pre-injury
Max, pre-injury

My dog, Max, recently went to the vet and almost died after an unexplained trauma to his right eye. They removed it. spent 10 days at the vet. 

1 night at home and the pee stains were back.

The old Rachel would be pissed about the carpet.. and then feel guilty she failed to let her dogs out.. and get stuck in a negative loop. 

The new Rachel turns her G.A.F level on this waaaaaaaay down. She realizes she simply has to step up her game and  let her dogs out more often. 

As far as the carpet goes… well, it was a lost cause a loooooong time ago. She will do her best to clean it up. That is what deposits are for. 

What really matters is my precious Max survived and he’s home and on the mend. And that is what I G.A.F. about.

If we succumb to the negative loops in our heads, pretty soon we find ourselves borrowing problems. We become immobilized by fear and anger. 

Silencing the negativity doesn’t work, either. Usually it means we are living in denial, ignoring reality altogether.

You have to find the sweet spot in the middle, where you not only remain rooted in reality, you also accept it for what it is. 

Being in control of your G.A.F. level is a critical skill in surviving caregiving. 

It means knowing how to pick your battles. Once you are able to fine tune your G.A.F. level, you are a pro at knowing when to wave the white flag, when to fall back, when to stand at ease, and when to go in, full metal jacket, showing your a$$. 

Today, as you embark on your journey, I encourage you to seize power over the negative loops in your head and confront your emotions. Get to the bottom of how you’re feeling, decide if there is anything that you can do about it in the moment, and find a way to get back in the middle.