Helping the helpers

Helping the helpers

My sister often said to me: you are really good at helping others, but hopeless at helping your self.

Alas, she was right. I had an eating disorder and had no idea how to help myself. Helping others seemed a good diversion, taking my mind off inner struggles and torment, for at least a little while. It seemed easier than facing up to the torment within. But the inner torment grew relentlessly, and the din became so loud in my brain, I eventually could avoid it no more. In my early 30s, I crashed big time. By then, personal relationships were a mess, I was struggling to maintain a semblance of normality,  my behaviour was affecting and worrying those I loved and my physical as well as mental health in serious jeopardy. Always, this situation worsened around Christmas.  It was like the camouflage of everyday living throughout the year was stripped away. With nowhere to hide from the triggers that fed my illness, it was no wonder that anxiety and depression peaked around this time.

For partners, parents, siblings and other carers, knowing what to do to help, how much to do, and when to do it, is a constant challenge. ‘ED’ is a manipulative and deceitful illness. Like a spider spinning a web, it likes to catch and entrap people who show compassion for the sufferer, and enslave them to its soul-destroying and rituals and behaviours. No wonder the carers get worn out, confused and quite frankly, fed up. For too long, the efforts of carers, and the effect on them of caring,  have gone unnoticed. They need to take care of ourselves, so that they can take care of others. They need to know that this is not only wise, it is necessary. This applies to professionals as well as home-based carers.

I welcome this article from UNC.

Read it. Take notice of the warning signs for fatigue, and the tips for taking better care of yourself, and therefore others, in 2013.

Happy New Year:-)


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