Who is supportive of the main support person?

Have you ever noticed there is one person in the family everyone turns to for help with life’s dilemmas, is asked to talk to someone because someone else doesn’t want to do it, and is the person others lean on for support?  What happens to the person who is supportive of everyone else?

Hmmm, now I’ve got you thinking of that person, or perhaps this is you.  In any given situation it is common for individuals to think of their needs and not give a thought to what someone else requires; especially when circumstances have a serious component.  There is no judgment here, just an observation.  I want to take a moment to consider the supportive person who is dealing with grief and loss experiences themselves and being supportive of others.

The main support person (maybe YOU) can become overburdened which eventually can create additional problems reflected in the emotional, physical, mental, spiritual and social aspects of their life which resembles a “burning of the candle at both ends” scenario.  The individual may play this role for years without realizing what is happening.  If they do know it is happening, they may not know how to stop it or want to.  

Eventually, the cup is full and the individual may feel something is wrong. Others may wonder what is wrong also.  This is when a “pause button” may need to be pushed. 

Life may become a chore and the individual may struggle with finding joy, a reason to get up in the morning, worrying, and a sense of what next.  Depression, anxiety and a feeling of not being able to keep it all together can be hidden from others or themself for only so long.  What happens now?

Self-care is of major importance at any time when dealing with grief and loss; especially for the main supportive person.  The individual defines what self-care is for them; no matter if it is a walk on the beach, a bubble bath, fishing, watching television or whatever suits their need at the time.

Sometimes self-care may be taking a step back from the situation and telling others you have to take care of you right now.  This is not selfish, it is survival. Heads up; some may be upset with this decision.  Part of a poem dealing with grief and loss mentions, “Take special care of you for me” (author unknown).

All my best,

Barbara Gillett Saunders

Grief Counsellor/Thanatologist