Your Own Recovery

Becoming a relative or close friend of someone with psychosis or bipolar disorder can be a very difficult and sometimes traumatic experience. It is not something you plan to do, and you won’t always have the information and skills available to deal with it straight away.

The impact on your own work life, hobbies, and other relationships can be significant, and the emotional impact devastating. This is particularly true for those with a very close caring role.

It can be helpful to think about your own Recovery journey and what you need in order to rebuild a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life for yourself. Some of the things that other relatives have highlighted in being important in doing this are:

1. Making time to do other things and spend time with other people.

You need to look after yourself as well as those around you – taking breaks from your caring role, getting enough sleep, eating properly and making time to exercise are all essential – but also considering how you can pursue your hobbies, develop your career and build fulfilling relationships can make you feel more complete and happy in the long term.

Making time to do other things and spend time with other people can get neglected when caring demands are high, so if this does not feel possible, at the moment, think about what might need to change to make it possible.

2. Getting support from other people.

This might be extra support for your relative/friend so that this role is not being done by you alone, but also for yourself. Support may come from other friends, family, or services; it comes in many sizes and forms.

Don’t be afraid to seek out expert advice

Be assertive with professionals if you feel you are not being heard with support from your relatives/friends if necessary

Notice when you become too stressed

Be prepared for:

  • Coping with feelings of guilt
  • Dealing with difficult decisions
  • Adapting to changing circumstances

Seeking guidance and support from mental health professionals to help you manage stress and anxiety and learn how to cope can be a valuable tool in your coping toolkit.
Talking therapies can also be of benefit, as can starting a new hobby or taking up a sport.
The important thing is to learn to look after your own needs as well as those around you.

If you need to find out more about support services in your area then go to the Resource Directory

3. Despite the very many challenges that supporting someone with a mental health problem can present, some relatives report that positive things have come out of the situation and recognising this has been helpful.

Examples have included:

  • Learning about something you didn’t previously understand
  • Learning about yourself (or your relative) and your capacity to cope with difficult situations
  • Developing closer relationships with other people (possibly your relative/friend)
  • Developing greater empathy and understanding of people in distress
  • Being more empathic towards people in need
  • Changing your ideas about what is important in life


For further reading about Carer’s experiences of Recovery go to: