The Caretaker MUST Take Care of Themselves!
Taking care of a loved one with mental illness is the most difficult thing I have EVER done in my life. I am a fixer. Up until schizophrenia slapped me in the face there was nothing I couldn’t solve. I found out slowly, not only couldn’t I fix it, but I couldn’t get my son to cooperate in any way. He was unwilling to take meds, go to therapy, meet with his social worker, accept SSI, you name it…he wasn’t doing it. What he WAS doing was allowing his disease to completely disrupt himself and our family. It was harrowing and heartbreaking.
Three years of trying to force him to help himself took it’s toll. I began to drink, and drink I did. I resorted to destructive behavior because I was NOT taking the time to make sure I was OK. I got myself into therapy. I found a good woman who walked me through the stages of grief. Face it, the Nick I knew, loved and had hopes and dreams for was gone. In his place was a destructive, frightened and confused zombie I could no longer relate to. Grief was what I was going through.
I cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of yourself, the caregiver. Join a NAMI support group. Go to yoga. Learn to box. Walk every day. Get a therapist. Whatever it takes, make sure YOU matter!
Got a question or a comment? EMAIL me—-firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace, Protection, Hope & Happiness
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