The question is real and when you don't get an answer it's frustrating. Not only for you but it's frustrating for the person that can't explain it too!
We all know someone that has their ups and downs. Sometimes those ups and downs are linked to something called MENTAL ILLNESS. Let me be very clear. Mental Illness is a REAL thing and it doesn't always refer to someone that is completely off their rocker and needs to be locked up in a mental institute or hospitalized. Let me be even more clear...sometimes a person does need to be in a hospital or institute and that is OK because if you broke your leg I wouldn't tell you to walk it off. I would tell you however, to go to the hospital, have a professional treat you and when you're all better you can come back from the hospital. IT IS THE SAME THING!! But sometimes you want to SCREAM...WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!
This article is for those of you that are not suffering from a mental health illness and are at their whits end trying to deal with someone who does.
#1 - You have every right to be frustrated
You don't have to pretend that you understand when you don't. You don't have to walk around on egg shells or be afraid of saying something wrong. You do have to try to understand and be patient. It's hard, you can't see it, you don't know what is happening and you don't know when it's going to happen. Remember this...the person that has the mental illness is also frustrated. They too don't understand, don't know when it's going to happen and they know that it's hurting you.
#2 - Educate yourself
Do you love and care about the person that you are sick and tired of? Well, you're going to have to invest in a little time to educate yourself about what is going on with them. Encourage them to seek out professional help but be sensitive about it. Perhaps you need to do it together. There isn't a one and done diagnosis or treatment. It could take months or even years to get a grasp on what's going on and when you do...it could switch up and change course. Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety and all the other lovely flowers that grow in the brain yard are tricky but manageable. The more you know about the illness the more prepared you'll be.
People with mental health issues are responsible for their own treatment. You just need to encourage them.
#3 - Take care of yourself too
You can not help others if you are on empty. Helping someone when you have no gas in the tank is not healthy for you. Take care of yourself, seek out therapy if you need it and don't be afraid to be honest about the way you feel. If the person you are trying to help refuses the help, you are not responsible for that. Everyone has to do their part and you might need to push a little but you don't need to bury yourself. If you have been supportive, patient, educated and helpful...you are doing your job.
#4 - Don't push a pull door
If you want to help you need to make sure that you aren't causing more pain. Sometimes the trauma that has occurred can be revisited by the way you want to help. Family should not be included in the treatment if the family is the primary pain point in the mental illness. What I'm saying is this...if the individual is telling you that the you need to pull the door to open it...pushing it isn't going to work. Most people know why they feel the way they do but they don't want to revisit it or they don't know how to confront it. You can not and should not do that for them. Forcing people to make amends, pushing an individual closer to old trauma or surprising them with your own solutions is a sure fire way to cause them to feel betrayed and lose trust in you.
#5 - You don't have to stay
If you are losing a part of you. If you are suffering right along side and you feel like your relationship is not moving in the direction you need it to for your own personal growth. You have the right to leave. You do not have to stay in a relationship that is falling apart. You can feel sorry for someone but if they don't want to help themselves and you are not getting what you need, it might be time to go.
Mental Illness is a BITCH for everyone that it touches.
Sign up to get notifications for this blog if you would like to keep reading from both points of view. My name is Lisa and I have Bipolar 2 but I also have dealt with a family history of it and I know my side isn't the only one.
Up Next: What I want you to know (an open letter to the mentally healthy)