Dealing with a someone with mental illness can be difficult. You can now imagine how overwhelming it can be when dealing with a family member with mental illness. It is not any easier than dealing with one’s own mental illness. Most times, mental illness is not something you expect to happen. So, it is not something you are prepared to face.
After hearing the news of your loved one’s mental illness, you may wonder how you are going to deal with it. You may not even sure whether you can deal with it or not. If you find yourself in such situation, here are ways to cope with family members with mental illness.
Make peace with yourself
The common reaction of most people after learning the news about their loved one’s mental illness is to blame themselves. Due to the stigma attached to the illness in the society, you may be feeling guilty, shameful and helpless. You should snap out of it as soon as possible. Whatever the case might be, it is in the past. Leave it at that. Think about the future. You have to stay strong now for the both of you.
Learn more about mental illness
Try to get acquainted with the symptoms and treatment process, read the testimonials of others or join a depression chat room. You can get an idea of what you may face and you can be prepared for it. You may even take part in the treatment process (if that is allowed); that can be a huge boost to the patient. This can also enable you to assess the situation and take necessary actions until the professionals arrive. Reach out to the families of other patients, build a network for mutual support.
Maintain a positive attitude
This will be a lot useful not only for the patient but also for you. It is common to give in to negative thoughts if the condition persists or if the medication takes a little longer to be effective. But you have to stay positive. Know that the condition will always improve, sooner or later. Remember that your loved one is depending on you for emotional support. Also, a positive environment can go a long way. Try to avoid any negative influences in the surroundings.
Always, be on guard
For cases like bipolar disorder, the situation may change in a matter of seconds. The patients can be as unpredictable as a baby, laughing for a second and drowned in tears the next second. Always, be alert and ready to diffuse the situation. Keep some time aside for yourself so that you can recharge yourself.
Don’t be over supportive
People tend to overcompensate by doing everything for the patient because they feel guilty. This may not be helpful because the patient may become more dependent on you even for daily chores. You are not helping a caterpillar to become a butterfly by breaking its cocoon. You may help them, but let them do the work by themselves. That will give them confidence. Let the patient join mental health forum where they can meet other people suffering from the same condition. Sometimes, they may learn one or two things on how to cope with the illness.
Medicine has advanced a lot, there is a better chance of recovery when compared to the past. Your efforts will augment the effect of medicine. Don’t give up your hope, things will resolve.