So the basis behind this letter is that my sister is in hospital and has been since before Christmas, when she was first in I saw her nearly every day and even had time off work to go and visit her, since then I found my own mental health was suffering as a result of the pressures of visiting someone that is so unwell (she had a physical illness but it has now manifested into a mental illness where she is very out of touch with the world and what is really happening).
For over a week now I have not seen her and although I felt immense guilt at first, people around me have encouraged me to take a step back and focus on myself because she is so unwell she isn’t even fully aware that I am actually there.
However, yesterday someone told me that I should be visiting her because she is my sister so I owe her that, now my feelings of guilt have returned so this letter aims to challenge the guilt I am once again feeling.
You have no reason to feel guilty, you were there right at the beginning and took on a lot of the pressure of the situation. You did things that should have been the responsibility of your parents, but you took on that role. You were there for her, supporting her, managing to get her to eat and take her tablets when she wouldn’t for anyone else.
Then you started to suffer, your mental health started to go downhill and you must put yourself first. You can’t care for someone if you aren’t caring for yourself first. You have seen the quote that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and it’s true, you need to be well and healthy to fully help her recover.
You have done so much for all of your family over the years and they appreciate everything that you have done, and you should know that they don’t expect it of you, it is you yourself that puts unnecessary pressure onto yourself.
Most of the people around you agree that you are doing the right thing in taking a break from the situation and becoming less involved
Don’t let the words of one person ruin all the progress that you have made.
I promise you, you have nothing to feel guilty for.
Your compassionate friend.