My husband has been diagnosed with a mental illness and been is hospital being treated. He is home now, but I’d love to know what I can do for myself to feel good and how to do it without feeling guilty. I’m feeling so burnt out after years of dealing with this.

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  • This is so hard – you have my sympathy. Contact Carers Australia – they have respite programs and activities (for a few hours or a few days) and are well equipped to help you.

  • First, think about what you actually enjoy doing. Make a list. Then go through it and see which ones are doable. Good luck

  • Do you have family or friends who could sit with him for a couple of hours while you get a massage or just get out for a coffee or meal?

  • Also seek and welcome support where you can !

  • Yes I’m a carer and no I’m not able to really really make time for myself. Deep breaths and I keep myself standing. But coming here on the website is a little time for myself and reading a book in bed is a little time for myself and sitting in the sun with a cuppa for some minutes is a little time for myself. I pull myself up on that.

  • You need a hobby either in or out of the house. It’s totally fine to take some time for yourself, even if it’s just a walk around the block or getting a coffee/milkshake when out and about. Catch up with friends. You will feel better about it as time goes by.
    I found it hard to take a break from the kids, even though my husband is equally capable to care for them. We have two high needs children, one of which has a global developmental delay, and whilst I often struggle with looking after them by myself I always think it unfair to leave him alone with them, but his insistence that I take a break make me a calmer, better person. You are no good to your husband if you are burnt out! Believe me, I burnt out years ago, giving my everything to my kids, even when I had nothing left to give. It changed me as a person, I became empty inside and then I filled up with anger. It’s taken me years to get back to a calmer, less angry me.

  • Sitting on an aeroplane once as they were going through the safety procedure (which I normally ignore and sit there reading a magazine). I listened this time and when they talked about losing cabin pressure and oxygen masks falling from the roof. Then they said if you’re with a child or someone dependant on you FIT YOUR MASK FIRST BEFORE HELPING OTHERS. It goes against your caring instinct, you want to dive in and make sure those you care for are ok – but the lesson? If you don’t fit your own mask first (as selfish as it seems) you’re not good to others. Years later a therapist once said to me “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Meaning, you can’t give to others, if you yourself have nothing left in your tank.
    Be kind and understanding to yourself first and foremost. It’s not selfish to want and need your own time, rest and recovery. In fact, you need to have it to be able to help your husband as best you can. If that is an outing with friends, a walk, the occasional night away on your own, then you don’t need to feel bad about taking that time so you can come back better able to help.

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