People tell us how hard it is to look after yourself while you are so worried about someone, and waiting for news. Below are some suggestions and thoughts from family members about what might help you to keep well while you wait.
‘Be kind to yourself and each other. Keep healthy, you need your strength.’
Your needs come first and at this really hard time, getting through each day often feels like a struggle. Think about which things need doing, and which things can wait or be done by someone else. You don’t have to do everything. Don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t have to look after everyone else’s feelings. Think about who you need to look after. If you have young children or other people you care for, they will still be your priority. Try to look after yourself so that you can still be there for them. It is important to put yourself first, even if that feels difficult for you. Give yourself permission to say no and only do what you need to do. People will have lots of suggestions, some of them will feel helpful, but some may not feel welcome. It is ok to let people know what you need and how they can help in a way that feels right for you.
Sometimes you might have to be honest with people who are trying to give advice and maybe say something like: “Thank you for your suggestion, but it isn’t helping me right now.”
“Try to take a day at a time and do what you feel is best for as you will be given all sorts of advice which can be very confusing.”
If people are struggling to find the right way to help, try to think of some practical things they can do that will help you. People want to help. Some examples might be shopping, running errands, helping with children or pets, cooking food or making calls. You may experience feelings and reactions that don’t feel normal to you. They may even feel scary. Most of these feelings are normal when you are waiting for news of your loved one.
“There is no right or wrong way of coping, do what you feel is right for you.”
We speak to lots of people who tell us that it can be hard. Feelings such as guilt, anger, despair and dread are common alongside many others. It can be hard to enjoy things and often people say they feel guilty about doing things for pleasure. People may worry that others will see it as a sign of not caring or forgetting about your important person. We know it is far from the case. It is good to be able to take time to relax and celebrate the aspects of life that still seem manageable. You may not feel motivated to do things for yourself; it may be easier to focus on searching. You may live alone or feel isolated in your thoughts. People say that often others do not want to keep talking about the missing person. It is easy to feel left on your own in your worries. Some people tell us it is hard to go out of the house or take time away. It might be for fear that the missing person might come home or that it just feels difficult to see people out of the house. These and many other difficult feelings are common.
Here are some suggestions that could help you keep going and stay healthy while you wait:
Speaking to anybody about what you’re going through can be helpful. Your doctor will want to know how you are, and may be able to help, particularly if you have physical symptoms. You could connect with other people who have similar, personal experience. And we are here to listen to you and offer support, for free and in confidence.Talk to us