Suffering from any mental health disorder can be hard and at times very lonely. It can feel as though no one is willing to help and you’re all alone, but there is support out there and the more others get educated the more many do want to help those who suffer.
It’s important to say that the role or supporting or caring for someone isn’t always an easy task, especially when your relationship with that person could also be that of a mother or father, a brother or sister, or maybe even a romantic partner or a friend.
Supporting others can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Caring for someone can mean a range of things. They might just need you to be more patient with them than usual. Or at the other end of the spectrum you may need to spend so much time caring for them that you have to give up work or other things in your life.
You may provide a range of support including:
- giving emotional support
- helping someone seek help for a mental health problem
- helping someone cope with a mental health problem
- cooking and cleaning
- personal care like washing and going to the toilet
- budgeting and looking after finances
- supporting them to live with others in your family (e.g. brothers and sisters)
- helping other family members understand the needs of the person you are caring for
- giving medicine or providing medical care
- going to appointments and advocating on their behalf (helping them express their views and wishes)
- checking they are safe
Sometimes they may not accept they need care or support from you. This can make things extra hard. Have a look at mind’s info on what to do when they won’t get help or they push you away and say things that upset you.
Now ultimately reading the above doesn’t sound all that encouraging to go out on a limb to help someone who may not want your help, or may be very difficult and time consuming to help but not only is it incredibly important and encouraging there is help out there and advice for those who are supporting others with mental health issues or even physical disabilities as well so you don’t have to feel you’re taking on their load as well as your own.
Most importantly before taking care of anyone else you have to take care of yourself, I have felt insane amounts of guilt and frustration personally from seeing others try to support me and crumble under the weight of what felt like my emotional burden. But not one minute of that help have I not been grateful for, without it I wouldn’t be here.
So many out there are supporting others and struggling, finding a network of carers or even a group of friends who can help support you at this time is essential as well as getting educated on what the person you are supporting suffers from and how to also support and be kind to yourself in this time. Helping someone in any way you can is enough and always encouraging them to get professional help especially so you don’t take on too much yourself.
Don’t give up as you are potentially helping someone fight for their lives.
My mum has been a massive support throughout this process along with many, many others! But I have asked her to write what caring and supporting me felt like in the darkest times as even though it must be hard for her to write, she has witnessed some of my worse moments and can give real insight to what it feels like to care for someone suffering with mental health problems….
“Caring for someone with a Mental health condition is extremely hard.
The invisibility of the illness can make it feel like you can’t do anything to help.
It is heartbreaking watching your child go through so much emotional pain.
How do you help, what can you do to help, scared you may say or do the wrong thing and make it worse. Constantly feeling guilty that in some way you have done this to her.
You feel if you are walking on egg shells as you don’t know what is going to happen next, feeling tense 24/7. It’s like being on a roller coaster ride but you can’t get off.
Some of the toughest times were when she started self harming and talking about suicide, I felt utterly helpless. Staying awake waiting for that phone call in the early hours of the morning to say she is okay.
The thought that we could loose her went though my head on a daily basis the emotional pain at times was unbearable. When the alcohol abuse started I knew she was going to destroy herself and this killed me inside.”