Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / How do you validate the stress/tears/burnout of being a support person, when you have to pretend it's not a burden to the person you support?

Topic: How do you validate the stress/tears/burnout of being a support person, when you have to pretend it's not a burden to the person you support?

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Violet12
    Violet12 avatar
    25 posts
    17 December 2021

    How do you handle it when they get upset because they've recognised their actions, behaviours, struggles, etc, affect you as well? I find myself making up reasons I'm stressed so they don't know it's because of them and the whole situation they're/we're in. I also hear myself nearly daily reassuring them that they aren't a burden and not to worry about me, I'm fine, just focus on themselves etc. I think the effect of doing that all the time has built up and the result is emotional/psychological burnout.

    But the alternative would be cruel I think. I can't say "Hey, I'm really sad and stressed out today because of you". They already constantly say that they are a burden and that they want to isolate themselves so they don't bring anyone down. I can't say anything to make them want that more or seriously consider it. I've tried asking them not to say those things to me because it stresses me out - i.e., "I don't want you to tell me you're a burden, I don't want you to apologise all the time, because it just makes me feel stressed" but a) it doesn't stop them doing it and b) sometimes it makes them feel like I'm asking them to keep things bottled up.

    So how should I respond?

    How do you validate your own feelings and struggles in this without putting that on the person who is in no place to hear it and who it would only hurt? Do you all have counsellors? I'm thinking about getting myself one. Do you talk to other family members/friends about it? Do you journal? Or do you talk about it with the person involved somehow?

    Please let me know, because I need new strategies.

  2. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    14272 posts
    17 December 2021 in reply to Violet12


    I hear you. This is a very important question.. I was told once that if the carer becomes rundown and burnout who will look after the person who needs support.
    looking after yourself by practicing self care is important. Seeing a counsellor is h4lpful and having people who understand to talk to can help.

    If you can set boundaries , and that can be hard especially if you don’t want to upset the person you are helping.

    Is it possible to get respite so you get a break.
    i had a neighbour a few years ago who out me down as next of kin. I was involved in many calls, meetings , visiting her in a mental health facility several hrs away and dealing with her family as well I was running my shop 7 days a week.

    She would ring me up many times a day and I knew she was unhappy but I found I was running on empty, so I asked one of he relatives to ring her up very day and I would speak every second day.
    i know you are with the person most of the time so it is important to make sure you get support and you find a way recharge.
    Inthink it is not so much as being a burden but if you are helping someone who is struggling you don’t want to find you are struggling too.

    I may not have helped but I wanted say I was listening and understood the dilemma.
    if you look in the supporting family and friends with a mental health condition, you may find some thread that maybe helpful.
    Feel free to continue the conversation.

  3. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1725 posts
    17 December 2021 in reply to Violet12

    Hi Violet12

    I have cared for my daughter for the past 10 years since she fell seriously ill with OCD and anxiety. I totally understand where you’re at and where your distress is coming from.

    Believe me, there have been times that I’ve just wanted to disappear. Others that I’ve wanted to scream or cry. And still others when I’ve been too numb to feel anything.

    We are human too.

    But I persevere and when I see my child achieving success, or enjoying periods of recovery, I am so very happy and proud of her.

    At the start, when things were really challenging, I had a counsellor. I would see her as required depending on what was happening with my daughter—sometimes weekly or fortnightly or monthly. I also used the bb support line and leaned on friends and family. Although, as supportive as people were, I found most of my friends and family struggled to really understand.

    This probably went on for a couple of years. Over time I’ve become better able to cope with less support because I really understand her illness and how to respond and now mostly rely on one good friend. Her son has a mental health condition too, so we support each other.

    Throughout it all, I have always guarded about an hour a day for myself. I use this time to decompress and recharge whilst doing something I enjoy. I walk a lot, read, call a friend or watch the night sky (this started because my daughter fell ill at age 13 and I couldn’t get a minute to myself until she was in bed). It really helps to be kind to yourself.

    I have never discussed my needs with my daughter. I minimise my distress and sacrifices because I don’t think she could handle it and even if she could it wouldn’t change anything. OCD is a chronic illness with no cure—and none of this is her fault.

    Please feel free to post here any time. Vent, share and hopefully let some of your distress go. You are not alone.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Petal22
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Petal22 avatar
    1970 posts
    18 December 2021 in reply to Violet12

    Hi Violet12,

    Im really sorry that your are feeling this way and it’s impacting you I’m sure it would be difficult for you.

    Do you have another carer that could come in and care for the person you are currently caring for even if it’s just for a few hours a week so it gives you some rest and so you can also do some things for yourself?

    Meditation is a really great skill to learn for relaxation.

    Would you be interested in seeing your gp and discussing how you are feeling? You could do a mental health plan together this will enable you to see a psychologist.

  5. 815
    815 avatar
    211 posts
    20 December 2021

    Hi Violet12

    I am sorry that you are in this situation. It is definitely exhausting being a support person. And I think the hardest thing for me was to allow myself to admit that, and feel all the emotions that go along with it. Because I used to think, I need to be the strong one, I can't let him see me upset about what's going on.

    It's hard. And I am still trying to find the right balance. Very early on, I went to speak to my GP. She told me, if I need to cry and be upset, don't do it in front of him. She wasn't telling me not to cry or not to be weak, just not in front of him. But she also suggested I see a psychologist myself, as she knew it would be a heavy burden for me to carry on my own.

    I wrote this in another post not long ago:

    Find support. Medical, professional, personal. You'll need it. As much as he needs love and support, if you are going to get through this, and you are going to fight to support him, you need it just as much. As much as this is his struggle, it still affects you. And it is tiring. So find people to help you, so you can stay strong for the journey.

    I do speak to my husband about things, but not this. I don't think I could tell him right now of the impact all this has on me.

    Instead, I speak to a psychologist. It started as every two weeks, then every 4 weeks and now I speak to her every 6-8 weeks. It has come to a point where she has asked whether I still need to speak to her, but I have booked in to see her in 8 weeks again because I like to have that objective support. My husband speaks to his own psychologist. And together, we have relationship counselling. So we have a lot of professional support.

    But besides that, I have a limited number of friends/family in my personal circle who know and support me. That is also invaluable.

    I am not so great however, and spending time for myself. I do exercise, I try to eat a healthy diet, so that at least my physical health is OK. But between full time work, two children, and just normal everyday life, I find prioritising my own well being difficult. It's always been about putting my family first. And I know that is something I need to work on.

    Writing on here and reading posts from others has also provided me with a lot of support.

    I hope you can find some strategies to help you too. Remember everyone and every situation is different. But we just need to keep trying new things and see what works. And don't ever give up on hope.

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.

Sign me up