What to look out for if you’re feeling overwhelmed while caring for someone.
Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience, but it can easily become overwhelming as time passes with seemingly no end in sight. Supporting someone with mental illness is often a lifelong affair, so it is crucial that your caregiving remains effective and sustainable. And the key to this is taking good care of yourself.
If caregiving is taking a physical, mental or emotional toll on you, you may be experiencing caregiver burnout. When you get to this point, the well-being of both yourself and the loved one you are caring for will be compromised, since you will on longer be able to provide optimal care for them due to your own exhaustion.
A more serious form of burnout called compassion fatigue may set in, where caregivers experience a weakened sense of empathy for those in their care and display uncharacteristic behaviours or attitudes. Characterised by indifference and insensitivity towards others, it can manifest in neglect or even worse, violence.
If you are caring for someone with mental illness, do spend a few minutes taking stock of your well-being.
While the causes and signs above are not exhaustive and an expert diagnosis would be best, any combination or persistent experience may indicate that you are at risk of or already experiencing caregiver burnout. If so, it is time to pay more attention to your own well-being, take active steps towards managing it, or visit a medical professional.
If you know a caregiver and notice them exhibiting the above red flags, you can also learn how to provide support as a friend, family member or co-worker.
Want to know more? Here are the articles we referenced to compile this resource:
Caregiver Stress – How to prevent burnout and deal with fatigue?
Step into the shoes of a caregiver
Explore our first multi-plot interactive video, A Quiet Ripple, that shows what a mental health caregiver might experience - from dilemmas, to a need for support. The choices you make will impact how the story ends. Experience it to better understand the lives of caregivers.
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