It’s a tough one. You want to be a loving and supportive presence, but sometimes a loved one’s mental health condition leaves you feeling drained. Every situation and circumstance is different, but here are some thoughts to consider.
Lovingly Discuss Your Boundaries
Don’t underestimate your loved one. Let them know if you have specific boundaries or things that make you uncomfortable. Try to have this conversation when they are having a good day, but If you must have it when they are flaring up, do what is best for you. Be kind and patient and be clear and specific about what you need and when you need space.
Ideally, you are part of a larger circle of family and friends. When you are burnt out or have your own challenges it’s time to spread out the support. If you are a primary caregiver you can hire a skilled caregiving agency to lighten the load daily, weekly, or as-needed.
Finally, and this is easier said than done, don’t feel guilty about taking the time you need. Whether it’s a day, a week, or a few missed phone calls—you have the right to have a break and take time out for balance.
Last but not least, be sure to take your breaks before you burn out as it will be better for everyone in the long run.