Many people resist caring for themselves when someone they care about has depression or bipolar disorder. Some see this suggestion as selfish and wonder how anyone could look after themselves when someone they care about is unwell. Others agree that it is a good idea but want to wait until the person they are concerned for feels better first. A third group of people recognise the wisdom in caring for themselves – really caring for themselves – so that they are then able to care well for someone else.
We can only give what we have and if we give and give and give, the day may come when we simply have nothing more to give. There is a very good reason why, when flying, we are asked to put our own oxygen masks on first in the event of an emergency before we turn to help someone else. If we are not ok ourselves we may not be able to properly help someone else.
Caring for yourself when
caring for another
Support for those who care about people who experience mental health difficulties
Consistently prioritising someone else’s wellbeing at the expense of our own can cause harm both to them and to us. If you place all your energies on caring for someone else, hoping that when they feel better, you will too, you are leaving yourself at risk of ending up feeling exhausted, demoralised, upset, distressed, angry, and possibly even depressed!
We suggest instead that you focus on helpful actions.