You've got a friend in me: supporting yourself and others

Sharing mental health issues with friends;whyboundariesareimportant

Firstly, what are boundaries? It’s important to understand how much you should give and take from friends and family. Time, energy, advice, love, etc. etc. It’s hard to know what the right amount is, because, there is no real answer. I think that I’m actually a bit of a leech. I just admire receiving love from friends. Although, I also love my own time and independence and being able to enjoy certain activities alone, which I think naturally brings a bit of a balance. I’m going to think about this from two perspectives, being the listener and eing the one seeking help and comfort from friends or family.

1. Being the listener We’ve got to be aware of our own capacity and time. We’re not all trained therapists. Though it may or may not feel 100% natural to give time and effort to your friends and family, knowing where to stop is very important, for both parties. I had a situation a few years ago when an immediate family member had broken up with their other half. I spent so much time trying to help repair them to the point where I was also feeling mentally drained. At this point, I realised that they had to take more action to want to repair themselves. This was frustrating. I loved this person and wished that I could fix them, but it had to be an independent move on their behalf. Thankfully, they took my advice and got a therapist. But for me, being honest and suggesting this, and withdrawing myself from the situation was definitely not easy. It took another family member’s inputting for me to realise that this was even a thing. Sometimes it’s more beneficial for the both of you, if you do not get involved with the mental illnesses and complications of others. I, for sure, do not feel capable of giving credible advice. Knowing where to signpost and researching the internet for credible help sources is an important tool. There are some references on the back page of this Zine if you feel you need to pass them onto someone. Remember that looking after your own wellbeing is the number 1 priority.

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