“Insanity does not run in my family. Rather, it strolls through, taking it’s time, getting to know everyone personally.”
People with mental health concerns can find themselves struggling intensely with their issues for anywhere from periods of time to a majority of their lives. Struggling with mental health is certainly in and of itself distressing. What makes it worse is that there is still such a stigma against what it means to have mental illness and to seek treatment for it. Times have changed slightly, though. It has been wonderful, lately, to see the general population increasing their awareness of and even normalizing what it means to struggle with mental health. There is still much work to do, but even recent celebrity acknowledgment of their struggles, such as Demi Levato’s disclosure of coping with Bipolar Disorder, are definitely moving us in the right direction.
An continually overlooked group, however, are the friends and family members of those who struggle with mental health. These people often have their own equally important mental health needs.
Parents, siblings, and friends of people struggling with intense substance abuse, for example, may be working so hard to support the sobriety of their loved one that they neglect themselves. Friends may lose sleep worrying if their friend came straight home or stopped by the bar. Parents may start to have intrusive worry thoughts about the safety of their child. Siblings may start to become depressed at the thought of their sibling dying from an overdose. Being a support system for someone struggling to get help can lead to the development of issues with depression, anxiety, and in some cases even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If someone you love and care for is struggling with mental health, you may find yourself struggling to support them emotionally. Remember that your mental health is equally as important as theirs. If you don’t support yourself, you cannot continue to support the ones you love.