Hear from the York Mental Health Carers’ Group:
Nothing really prepares you for becoming a carer. As individuals we all respond differently and it’s important that you acknowledge how you feel. You may feel frightened about the future, guilty that you could have done more, angry that this has happened and confused about what happens next. These are all understandable reactions to the situation you now find yourself in.
You may have an overwhelming need to protect the person you love and ‘make them better’. Just remember though, that when someone breaks a leg you cannot ‘mend it’ for them but you can be there if they ask for help. Recovering from a mental health condition is a little similar. There are many things you can do to support your loved ones recovery but you need to look after yourself as well.
It can help to remind yourself of the skills, talents, strengths and interests of the person you are caring for. Try not to let that person become hidden by their symptoms and diagnosis.
It is important to listen to the person you are caring for. They may need more space than usual to work out what has happened to them. On the other hand they may be frightened of being left alone. Listen, be flexible and ask how you can help, letting them guide you on their recovery journey.
It may help to gather knowledge about the condition the person you care for has. Learn about mental health and social care services and their responsibility to you and the person you care for. Never be afraid to ask questions, meet other carers, join an organisation that understands your loved ones condition, write a diary, record conversations with professionals if you have any concerns, but above all try to accept every day as it comes. There will be times when you despair but equally there will be times of great joy when you see the person you care for beginning to recover a meaningful life.
Real Life Experience
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