My husband burst into tears
at the end of my cancer treatment
He had been holding the fort
(aka looking after me, the kids, his work, the house and everything on his own)
It had been 7.5 months of intensive support to everyone
as we don’t have any family in Australia
I had just finished treatment
and the transition to the “normal world” hit me harder than I thought
I had to be honest with him.
I couldn’t help him because I was still dealing with my s***
So I asked him:
“Do you need to see someone?
Because right now, I can’t help you.”
My husband and I have been married for 19 years.
Our relationships has evolved through so many life events and
I can honestly say it has only gotten better.
It took me so much courage to say “no” to him at that point but
if there is one thing cancer taught me was that
if I don’t put myself first for real,
I won’t be there for the people who love me
and that includes him.
You might be reading this and thinking that what I went through wasn’t easy at all
But I can tell you being a carer can be way harder.
My husband was my rock through my darkest moments
and he never wobbled one single time.
When I wobbled, he would tell me
“Get up and keep going.”
(he was way nicer than I promise🙂)
For him seeking help at that point was the best thing he needed to do
to process everything he had just gone through too.
On that day, I made the appointment for him to get things moving.
I didn’t want to waste another day without taking action because I knew that if he got busy with life again,
he would maybe feel better the next day and wouldn’t seek help.
If that happened, he wouldn’t process what he went through which would catch up with him eventually.
He went to a psychologist for a few months and he felt a ton better about it all.
When it comes to reaching out for help,
You might need a push
Accept the help around you.
Don’t be stubborn about it.
Don’t let life get in the way.
When something really big happens in your life (in our case it was cancer), you need to allow time to process it.
Don’t walk over your feelings and emotions suppressing it, thinking it will be ok.
It is important to stop and work through things.
People around you might not be affected like you about the same things but what matters it is recognising how the “life event” or anything your are going through affects you.
And from that point make a decision to reach out for help if you need to.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, it means that whatever it is happening is too much for you to deal with.
This is not about anyone else but you.
6 Steps to Help Your Love One to Seek Mental Health Support
Help Your Loved one to recognise it.
When you feel overwhelmed, you are constantly thinking about whatever you are worried about. You will feel unease most of the time in your body (it could be tightness in your tummy or in your neck) and in your mind (your thoughts come and go like crazy, you might be having crazy dreams at night)
Ask them gentle questions about it.
How are you feeling?
Do you feel anything different in your body?
How are you sleeping?
Help them take the first step
This could be as simple as suggest them to speak to someone they trust. Guide them through the process.
Advise them – you don’t need to say, you are having. mental breakdown. You could just say something as simple as “my emotions are a bit all over then place. I have never felt like this before:
Help them to seek professional help
Advise them to speak to their GP about it to check in that everything is going ok. Guide them through the process as most people see the opportunity to speak to a GP as another opportunity to say “I am ok” when they are not.
Advise them: this is not an opportunity to cover things up. It is an opportunity for you to being honest about how you feel most of the time. It could be as simple as “I feel like crying at odd times. I have never experienced that.”
Try a Psychologist/Therapist
Recognise that for them it could be daunted to go and see someone but normalise it by saying it “until you try it, you won’t know right?”
It is like anything in life. It is hard to reached out for help, to let go of all the stigma around seeing a psychologist.
It is also difficult to think about sharing your life story with a stranger.
But remind them about their situation – “isn’t it harder to stay where you are?”
The benefits of exercise and mental health has been proven over and over again. Here there is a list of scientific reviews on pubmed about it. This is not to say that your loved one shouldn’t seek help.
This is only one habit your loved one can implement in their daily life to help them improve their mental health and state of mind.
This is what you they can take responsibility and you can help them by suggesting a walk after dinner or allowing them time to exercise.
There has been studies on how vitamin D impacts on the management of depression and anxiety. That is not to say your loved one is depressed or anxious but checking their vitamin D levels could be beneficial to know if there is anything physical that is also impacting on their mental health.
Check out this study to read more about it.