When you have a parent with a mental illness it can be very stressful, but small things can make a big difference, like having someone you can talk to if things get tough. It’s not always easy to start a conversation about mental illness, but we’ve shared some thoughts from other young carers on how and why they did it.
When you’re busy with homework or helping your parent it can be difficult to find time to do the things that you enjoy. Doing the activities you enjoy is the best way to de-stress; maybe you like watching films, or playing music or sport. Whatever gives you pleasure and allows you to lose yourself in the activity will help to keep your spirits up and enable you to develop resilience. Learn to create time and space for yourself and try to not feel guilty about doing things that are enjoyable. It’s been proven that exercise can help to lift your mood and increase feelings of self-esteem. Relaxation techniques or mindfulness exercises can help you to feel more in control of your thoughts and feelings. There are plenty of websites that teach mindfulness.
Whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed, try to do it regularly and not just when things get difficult.
Life at home may be so hard that you stop seeing your friends and having fun, but this isn’t a good idea. Maybe you don’t want to bring friends over because your mum or dad isn’t feeling well, which is understandable, but explore other ways of meeting up with friends.
Maybe there’s nobody to remind you to look after yourself or take you to hobbies and activities but still it’s important to realise that friends, hobbies and activities are necessary and important for you own health and welfare.