… and that’s … my friends, being outside, in the nature, watching the sunrise with my dogs, just really intense self care…
It’s a gift for me to be strong and happy even if he’s really depressed.
I think my path is to be a truth teller.
And Brad is a truth teller. Trust the journey!
It’s gonna turn out okay. It’s gonna turn out great, actually …” (smile).
You have to put on your oxygen mask FIRST.
If you have a loved one with depression, anxiety, or other brain conditions, sometimes it can be challenging. Unfortunately for many of us, we forget that we have to also take care of ourselves. It is vital to take care of ourselves because we can’t pour from an empty cup. Amy is the first person I heard saying that metaphor; the metaphor I always use to answer people who reached out to me about feeling burned out when caring for a loved one with mental illness.
What would happen if we all went home and had conversations with the men in our lives about what they’re feeling and thinking? The answer to solving today’s male suicide crisis may be simply listening to the men in our lives.
At some point in your life you’ll probably be touched by male* suicide. It’s now the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK with 12 men taking their own lives every day.
In her challenging TEDx talk, Steph Slack shares her personal story of how losing her uncle to suicide caused her to question how we react to men who experience suicidal thoughts.
Steph asks: what if we stop seeing having suicidal thoughts as something unusual, change our stereotypical expectations of men and instead, support men who have the courage to be vulnerable with us?
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are in crisis, in the UK Samaritans operate a 24/7 helpline on 116 123 or CALM operate a helpline 5pm to midnight for men on 0800 585858.
EXCERPTS: Taking care of yourself while helping a friend means recognizing that your own needs are also important. Supporting someone might require a lot of your time and energy and it can be easy to neglect your own self-care. Self care can be anything that helps to rebuild or sustain your emotional, physical, mental, social or spiritual balance.
1. Find BALANCE:
The key is to try to strike a balance between your responsibilities, and those things that help to recharge and maintain our health (like exercising, connecting with friends, finishing that book you’re reading, etc.) If you’re so consumed with helping a friend that you’re neglecting other parts of your life, you’ll get tired and resentful.
2. Set BOUNDARIES:
This means establishing healthy limits, such as being able to tell someone when they are behaving in a way that you are struggling with or find upsetting. Knowing what your limits are, communicating them clearly, and knowing what is and isn’t acceptable are all part of defining and setting boundaries.
3. Know what RESCUE vs. SUPPORT means:
As much as you might wish you could “fix” someone or “fix” things for them, you can’t do someone else’s emotional work for them. The thing to remember though – and this is the trickiest thing about caring for someone who is going through a hard time – is that your friend’s emotional state is beyond your control. Rescuing means over-helping and can actually take away from another person’s self-determination. It is not helpful and can create a dependency rather than a healthy relationship or a healthy way of dealing with mental illness.
4. Remember your OWN NEEDS:
It can become easy to neglect your own needs while helping someone deal with mental health issues. You might even feel guilty for focusing on your own needs, thinking that your friend or family member is in a worse spot than you are. Or perhaps they are even making you feel guilty for it. Set boundaries and stick to them, and make room in your life to do things that are important to you.
5. Remember that you’re NOT ALONE:
It can take more than one person to support someone going through a tough time. It’s not all up to you. Share the experience by reaching out to other friends, family members, teachers, guidance counsellors, family doctors or a counsellor/ therapist. Remember that if you are feeling overwhelmed, you can reach out and talk to someone. Even if your friend refuses to get help, you can still get support for yourself while being there for them.