I recently read an article from a renowned psychiatrist in Denmark, Dr. Danielson, and thought it would be appropriate to share some of his thoughts with you during this trying time in our lives.
If your partner or friend is affected by stress, take good care of yourself. Talk about things – mark your boundaries, and remember what is important to you.
It is a widespread misconception that stress only involves the one who is affected and show signs. In fact, the entire surrounding network of friends and family and colleagues is often affected when a person experiences stress.
As a partner to a “stressed person”, it is important to pay attention and care for your loved one when his or her world crashes. But it is equally important that you are aware of your yourself and your needs.
Stop and talk about things as soon as you notice he or she is starting to change behaviour.
Dr. Danielsen explains that partners in a stressed person relationship will not necessarily experience the impact as stress, but rather as loneliness, because they are suddenly being left alone to deal with many day-to-day things. He points out that, for the stressor, it will often be a wake–up call when his or her stressful behaviour starts to affect friends and family.
Be consistent and mark your boundaries. “Report to your stressed partner what you feel and highlight your own boundaries in a difficult situation”.
While it might feel wrong to devote a few hours to yourself while your partner is feeling bad, it is a great way to refuel. That way, you will be able to be more supportive when he or she needs you.
“You have to think of it as self-help. It’s a bit like the old cliché’: you have to put on the oxygen mask yourself before you start helping others.”
Take good care of yourself during this challenging time, stay safe and keep the distance.