What Can You Do When a Loved One is Stressed, Overwhelmed, and at the Verge of a Breakdown?

In the Coast Guard, we were told that we have to go out.  We tossed the lifeline to those who were drowning.  We learned to tread water so that we could save ourselves.  You can’t always save yourself from mental illness, and that’s ok.  You aren’t weak for needing a lifeline.  You’re human.  You can’t tread forever.  No one can.  Acknowledge that you’re tired.  People don’t always know how to help, but maybe my experience in realizing what I could really use, and putting it into words can be helpful to someone else. 

What can you do when a loved one is stressed, overwhelmed & at the verge of a breakdown?


1. Pick up on their subtle signs.  If you know them, you’ll know if they seem stressed even if they try to hide it.  Coming right out and saying something’s wrong can add to the stress of an already overloaded mindWhat can you do when a loved one is stressed, overwhelmed & at the verge of a breakdown?.  Notice that they’re asking for help before they scream “help!”. 
2. Don’t just ask them how you can help.  Think of what you can do to relieve some of their stress.  Take something off of their plate.  Asking them to tell you how to help is not helping.  It’s just giving them one more thing to work their brain.  They may not even think clearly enough at the moment to know what they need. 
3. Find a way to give them time to themselves.  Watch their kids, take their shift at work, feed their pets.  Allow them time to breathe and think so that they can reset BEFORE they break.

Notice that they are tired before they drown.  Don’t ask them to pick a raft as they’re barely treading water.  Just toss them a raft.

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