Burnout Among Relatives of Psychiatric Patients Attending Psychoeducational Support Groups is an academic paper from the nice people at Psychiatric Services Journal.From the conclusions: The findings suggest that psychoeducation should concentrate on helping relatives cope with the strain on the relationship with the patient and on improving their ability to cope with the patient’s behavior.
In other words, the mentally ill relations don’t have any special rights that supersede yours to sanity. You’re the caregiver and if get used up and squeezed to a pulp, that’s it, so make your own well-being a priority.
Other conclusions are that “These findings can be interpreted as an indication that it is better to organize support groups for different categories of relatives depending on the disorder, which is not always done in practice.” I’d agree whole-heartedly. People at the start of their caregiving journeys don’t need to be around cynical, exhausted villains such as yours truly. And, the nature of the relationship is also an issue, the authors find. For example, a marital partner with severe mental illness is in different with the caregiver than if she or he were a parent or child.
Pim Cuijpers, Ph.D.; Heleen Stam, M.A.
Psychiatric Services 2000; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.51.3.375, From Psychiatric Services.