Just in the past couple weeks, I have had a few people say this to me. These were concerned partners asking about their loved ones. Their partners are professionals in the health care field, in a first response role and in management in a long term facility.
How do we help the ones we love? My single piece of advice for everyone is, if you do one thing and one thing only, recommend they see a professional mental health counsellor with a specialty in compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. We have to be able to talk about the trauma we are carrying around. It literally is so freeing to have some of this removed from your body by verbalizing what you have seen and heard. A professional counsellor can help you find the tools that will work for you. Whether it is narrative therapy (the letter you never send), or regular counselling sessions, they are trained to provide you with the tools and resources you may need to address the physical, psychological and emotional symptoms you may be suffering from.
I have talked about my experience with a counsellor and life coach before. I will continue to talk about it as I believe, it is the single most important tool to help you get on a path to wellness. It is not the only tool, it is just a really great place to start having someone help you find your way. I always say, I pay her good money to help me identify what is going and how I want to change to improve my mood, my relationships, my career and my ability to cope. This person is meant to help me and has no other interest in me personally such as a relative, friend may have. I also always say, I spent 30 years telling other people to get a counsellor, then I got one and it was life changing.
I can recommend this because I have done it. If you are trying to find support for your spouse/partner, start by getting help for yourself. Every person has a story and some "stuff" they could get help with. Many agencies have great benefit programs and EAP supports that are underused because people are afraid employers will find out and they will be considered weak for reaching out. Try to let go of what others think and do this for yourself and your loved ones. Find the books, the videos, the workshops, the behaviour programs, the exercise programs, the healthy living resources, whatever you and your family need to heal and go forward.
Contact me if you have any questions.