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I'm mostly looking for support as I support others in my life. Both my partner (who has anxiety with a side-order of depression) and my best friend (who has depression with a side-order of anxiety) are going through some really rough times right now, I find myself in the position of supporting both of them, and I'm finding it to be a lot to deal with.
For instance, my partner is switching medications right now (he does go to weekly therapy and is active in his own recovery) and he's basically been in 24/7 Crisis Mode for a good couple of weeks now. He wakes up in the middle of the night with panic attacks and can't get back to sleep, he can keep it together and be functional at work, but at home I'm doing literally everything (shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, everything down to changing out the empty toilet paper rolls), he's barely hanging on by a thread it seems, and he seems very resistant to the idea of taking any stress leave from work when I (very gently) suggest he maybe look into it.
My best friend is a stay-at-home mom of a special needs child and is on medication although does not have the resources for therapy. Her husband is currently off work for stress leave for a couple weeks due to his own depression and she's feeling very much like she's "not allowed" to be sad or depressed -- her husband can take time off to rest and recover, but she does not have that option at all. She's just expected to go on taking care of her husband and son as she always has, and she gets no reprieve. I live in a city over an hour away, but I do what I can for her. We email and text frequently, and I come visit to get her out of the house every Sunday for lunch and a chat and maybe a movie if there's something we both want to see.
And it's a lot. I feel myself kind of burning out on all of it, but I don't feel like I can withdraw without causing either of them to feel abandoned or neglected.
Complicating all this is the fact that I'm a widow -- I lost my husband seventeen years ago to suicide. He was undiagnosed, but I strongly suspect he was some flavour of bipolar. So I'm experiencing a lot of familiar feelings of helplessness, like nothing I ever say or do is enough to help them, that I am pouring all this love and attention and effort into supporting them and nothing ever changes and they never get better. I feel very ineffective, but I also feel like if I stop, things will get much worse.
So I'm basically looking for resources and support for those who are dealing with others with mental illnesses. And I'm not sure this forum is it? But it's the closest I could find.
What I have the most trouble with is navigating those times where one of them does or says something (unintentionally) hurtful or critical and I feel I can't defend myself or ask for an apology or even react negatively or else it might send them into a negative self-recrimination cycle. My friend is particularly bad for that. I once let her know that something she said hurt me, and she spiraled out with lots of "I'm a horrible person" and "I don't deserve friends" and all that kind of stuff, which makes me feel like I need to keep a lid on my own feelings or else make her feel even worse about herself than she already does.
I have a lot of patience, but it's not unlimited.
And thank you -- I'll look at the Depression program here.