mstoner415
A:

HI mstoner,

I think it says a lot about you that you are this concerned about your boyfriend, and want to do what you can to be supportive. He is fortunate to have you in his corner.

What I thought about as I read your question was the importance of caring for the caregiver. Often, individuals like you who are supporting someone they are close to and who is living with mental illness don't take good always take such good care of themselves. For example, they give a lot of emotional support but don't get a lot of support themselves. The person they are supportive may have so much going on that they can be very supportive in return. Or the person giving the support doesn't ask for much support in return.

Being supportive for someone who is living with mental illness can take a toll on you. It can leave you feeling emotionally drained, and depleted.

It's really important to take really good care of yourself, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Here a few of the things you might consider making you build into your life to enhance your own wellness. Getting adequate rest. Eating a healthy diet. Getting exercise. Talking things out with an objective, non-judgmental listener. Doing something to calm yourself. Doing things you enjoy. Getting intellectual stimulation.

It's important to stay involved in your own life, to stay grounded, to keep growing.

You mentioned shutting off in your question. I assume you meant shutting off to your boyfriend. What you may be experiencing is called compassion fatigue. This is a normal reaction to being worn out from taking care of someone else's needs. The things I mentioned to enhance your own wellness can help with compassion fatigue. It's all about building yourself back up when you're reeling drained.

I also strongly encourage you to seek out your own counselor. It could help a lot to sit down with a mental health professional to talk about what's going on in your life, to get some additional perspective, and to learn some ways to cope better, including how to communicate and support your boyfriend. Most of all, a counselor could help you to take better care of yourself. That is job number one. You mentioned having experienced a loss, a counselor could help you to process that loss.

So, I hope you will make yourself more of a priority. Look at it this way — The better we feel, the more we are able to give to others. Again, care for the caregiver.

Take good care of yourself. And let me know how you're doing.

Gary

Answered By Answered by Dr GaryCA
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