My name is Sharon and I'm a caregiver for my daughter who has bipolar. Having a family member with bipolar, it becomes extremely stressful because of the unpredictability of it.
The health definitely gets affected if you're not taking care of yourself. Buying time for your self to get away from the stress to live with daily stress is not healthy at all.
Well, caregivers are at risk for the higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, also substance and alcohol abuse, which I think is link primarily to attempts to deal with the stress.
You have to be there for your love ones, so you have to take care of yourself. And mentally, you get burned out and you get to the point where you just can't deal with it anymore.
You have to take time to get away and you have to make sure you do what you do for yourself, because if you get sick that person is losing one of their caregivers and for a mentally ill person
they need caregivers in their lives.
Many therapist say, "Action is the antidote". And what we mean by that is go out and do things. Just simply going for bike ride, going for a walk,
going to the market will actually make you feel better and get you away from that daily stress of caring for somebody with bipolar disorder.
Some of the things I do de-stress is walking, reading, getting together with friends. I have a book club I'm involved in that meets once a month.
It's very important to have a support team especially people who go through the same thing, because they can understand.
It's something that not everybody wants to talk about. People who have gone through it understand it better than anybody that hasn't. Hi there! How are you?
Seek support. Find friends you can talk to, that, that understand that, that aren't going to add to any feelings of stigma that you have about having a loved one with this illness,
because you shouldn't feel stigmatized.
I worked at NAMI as their office administrator and I also teach the Family to Family Class. The Family to Family Class is a 12-week program.
It's free for individuals who are dealing with somebody in the family with mental illness.
My participation in NAMI's Family to Family Class opened up a whole opportunity of having a whole group of people that I can meet with on a regular basis.
If we're going to a rough time, we know we can pick up the phone and there's somebody there through NAMI I've been able to get that support.
There's lot of things you can do for yourself. First and foremost, set boundaries. Don't stay on the phone for an hour.
If somebody is manic, set a limit, three minutes, five minutes and get off the phone and do it guilt free. Make time for yourself.
Take walks. Do whatever it is it takes for you to take a break from the person with the illness. Learn how to manage your own stress.
I can't, I can't emphasize enough the importance of learning and recognizing your stress and learning techniques to lower the stress.
I think that's the hardest part about mental illness. It's not in our control. It's out of our control and you just have to accept it.