Self-care is very often the last consideration for caregivers. I have seen this time and time again at family support meetings, and I have heard all the excuses. It is something I talk about often because it was significant in my life when I actually started taking care of myself. Taking a break helps you to provide better support because you are less stressed. Many people though, do not take this seriously. Some people think that they the not the issue and there are more important things to focus on. This is so wrong. I will only say that if you do nothing else, take care of yourself because it is absolutely essential.
Family support for people with a mental illness can be a huge aid to recovery. When I use the term family here, I am including any primary caregiver, immediate or extended family members, close friend or anyone who has the interests of the ill person at heart, and who is providing support. Unfortunately, I found out first hand that the primary caregiver is often the one who the ill person uses as an outlet for their frustration and anger. My key was to not take it personally because I understood that my daughter did not mean the things she was saying, it was the illness talking, she was scared, frustrated and just needed someone to hear her. As she is going through recovery it is clear that she is appreciative that I stand by her, and she is remorseful following any incidents, that are thankfully few and far between now. Without family support, many people with mental illness end up living on the streets, or at the very least have a much harder time accessing services to get regular treatment.