- Take time to enjoy yourself and do things to take your mind away from the illness of your child. Structure your day and stick to a schedule.
- Pace yourself. Don’t be afraid to not always be there.
- Remain positive and optimistic – keep that sense of hope.
- Grieve your loss and dream new dreams.
- If it is indeed a mental illness accept the fact that your child is not choosing to be “bad” and that they may not have control due to the illness.
- Acknowledge that those around you may react negatively to the words “mental illness”. Develop a thick skin. You did not cause the illness and you can not cure it.
- Get counselling if you cannot deal with how you are feeling about the illness of your child – feelings of guilt, shame and grief are normal.
- Sometimes you may need to give up some authority. Let events take place as they unfold. Be ready to compromise.
- Understand that it may take time to make a diagnosis.
- Take time for just you and/or you and your significant other.
- Join a support group and find out as much information as possible.
- Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water throughout the day to maintain your energy.
- Try to exercise or do something active on a regular basis.
- Practice meditation, yoga or other relaxation techniques.
- Get a good night’s sleep even if it means taking the phone off the hook for the evening.
- Try distraction: spending time with pets, going for a walk, watching television, HOUSEWORK!
- Look for humour in unexpected places and laugh out loud!
- Practice self-compassion and NOT self-pity.