Mental illness, Mood swings, strange behavior, and a veil of secrecy. Having a loved one who has a mental illness can be frustrating, traumatic, and leave you feeling ashamed and lonely. Though mental illness is no longer stigmatized as it once was, those who suffer from it are still stigmatized, and their families may feel obligated to hide their mental illness from others. Many people are also unaware of the staggering number of people suffering from mental illness. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 18.1 per cent of all adults in the United States had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder in 2014. (SAMHSA). 1 Given that almost one of every five American adults suffers from a mental health illness, People who have loved ones who suffer from mental disabilities are even more numerous. You’ll recognize some of these tales if you’re one of this mental illness.
Story Of Elizabeth
Her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia (mental illness) when Elizabeth was 20 years old. “Something happened, and my father physically rushed my mother to a nearby inpatient psychiatric facility, where she was diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia (several weeks). I’d never heard of mental illness before, and it was shocking,” Elizabeth says.
Looking back, Elizabeth notices that her mother was suffering from paranoid symptoms before being diagnosed the mental illness. “She believed that rumors of her being a prostitute were being circulated our small town and that my father’s sisters were also gossiping about her. Elizabeth remembers her mother calling them and starting big fights over the phone. “She would also call her brothers to inform them that my father was assaulting her or attempting to murder her. Of course, none of it was true.”
And, even though the family was aware of the schizophrenia diagnosis, no one brought it up. “Our entire family dynamic shifted after her mental illness diagnosis, with everyone concentrating on keeping Mom emotionally on track,” Elizabeth says. “I gave in to all of her requests so she wouldn’t get enraged, which is bad for everybody, including herself.”
Elizabeth’s mother now talks to her children about her mental illness disease. Despite this, Elizabeth and her siblings have suffered greatly due to their mother’s mental disorder. Elizabeth says, “It’s almost difficult to put the mental implications of decades of dishonesty, delusion, and drama—what she has pushed on us our whole adult lives—aside.”Even if we accept that her mental disorder is to blame for much of her actions, that doesn’t change our underlying feelings of rage and, dare I say, disdain for her.”
In 2013, Elizabeth’s mother was diagnosed with mental illness dementia and moved in with her. “It’s incredibly challenging. “I try to spend as little time with her as possible because she drains my energy and brings so much tension and negativity into my life,” Elizabeth says. She copes by ensuring she looks after herself, which involves exercising and finding a caregiver once a week to assist her.
“The most emotionally difficult thing for me is the guilt that comes with establishing boundaries with my mother, especially the restriction of time spent together,” Elizabeth says.”I keep reminding myself that we’re giving Mom a wonderful life against mental illness and keep motivating our selves and tried hard to divert our mind from any negative thought, complete with her mini-library and Netflix, as well as a beautiful home with a big yard. She isn’t in a nursing home, as she would have been if my father hadn’t died, but if I need to restrict my time with her to keep my mental equilibrium, so be it.”
Elizabeth believes that her mother’s disease has harmed her relationships and made her cynical. “I’m not a big believer in people. I never knew any kind of healthy coping mechanisms for mental illness. “I lived in fear of developing schizophrenia for years because no one ever showed me how unlikely it was,” she says. Elizabeth says, “My mother was robbed of a near, intimate friendship.”
“I’ve had to develop resiliency,” says the opportunist. I had to learn about mental health and mental illness and coping strategies on my own and implement each and every factor. I’ve had to be very self-sufficient. “Both of these characteristics have contributed to my success,” Elizabeth says. “I also believe I’ve been able to mature as a person because I recognized early on that I’d encountered some developmental disparities as a result of my mother’s ‘absence,’ and I took measures to close these gaps as quickly as possible to mature into a healthy adult from mental illness.”
“DO NOT let mental illness be the elephant in the room,” she advises. It’s up to you to discuss it. Plan a family counseling session for everyone. Create a family and friend support network that can provide both practical and moral support.”
Story Of Kati
Kati saw her biological mother once a week although her parents split when she was a baby, and her father and stepmother raised her. “They never told me she had a mental illness when I was a kid,” Kati explains, “but I had to figure out why her behaviour was so different from everyone else’s.” The state of her mother’s home, which was a product of her hoarding, was one fairly evident symptom. “My parents would describe her as a slob. That was the most euphemistic phrase ever. Her place is completely insane.”
Kati’s friends were shocked that she stayed with her father rather than her mother as she grew older, which raised doubts in her mind. “I was perplexed as to what had occurred. We had a strict visiting schedule, and we went to see her every Sunday,” Kati explains. Her mother’s house was not allowed to be visited under the terms of the custody agreement. Kati says, “After a while, it ended up at her door.”My father may have been worried that she will take him to court once more.”
Kati’s stepmother finally informed her of her mother’s diagnosis of schizophrenia mental illness. Kati was able to affirm her thoughts about the situation after learning that her mother had a mental disorder. Kati explains, “It’s not just a personality quirk that I should get used to.”Her sense of fact and how she maintains her home are unusual. While earning her master’s degree, she worked in several low-paying jobs. She had talent, but she couldn’t keep a job. She was diagnosed with a mental illness when she was younger, which suggested that her behaviour was abnormal. It has encouraged me to be more respectful of her and to feel sympathy as I’ve grown older.”
Due to the state of her mother’s house, Kati realized she couldn’t do home visits any longer while in high school. She informed her mother that she would no longer be visiting her at home, and the two began meeting in public places like coffee shops. That made a significant difference in our relationship. Being exposed to a hoarding environment will not make you like anyone. Kati expresses her displeasure by saying, “It’s so unpleasant.” “Meeting in a calm, natural environment helped to alleviate a lot of the stress and mental illness that came with the visits.”
Kati is unsure of her mother’s mental illness treatment, but she seems to have gone untreated for most of her childhood. “Now that I’m an adult, I believe her actions are close to those of someone suffering from bipolar mental illness disorder. According to Kati, you may have been diagnosed with schizophrenia mental illness in the 1970s but had bipolar disorder.
Kati’s now-retired mother works at a soup kitchen and a clothes closet, which Kati finds excellent self-care. She and Kati talk every day on the phone, and Kati and her kids visit her whenever they can. “Setting boundaries is crucial because (your loved one) can have negative feelings or be unpredictable, but if you don’t let them drive you mad, you’ll like them a lot more,” Kati advises. “Also, don’t be embarrassed by your mental illness; it turns out that no one cares or is surprisingly caring. No one excuses you because it’s something we all blame on ourselves.”
Story Of Jackie
Alexis, Jackie’s daughter, suffers from severe mental illness anxiety and depression. Between eighth and ninth grade, Jackie had her first depressive episode, but she didn’t realize it until she was no longer depressed. “During her sophomore year in high school, she came to me for the first time. We had just ended a long talk when she began to cry. That’s when I started looking for ways to recruit her help against mental illness,” Jackie explains. “For a long time, this has been building. She also showed anxiety symptoms in third grade.”
Alexis was able to complete counselling about mental illness without the use of medicine during high school. “I think it was useful,” Jackie says, “but the problem is that you can’t get in when you need to.””We spent the first few years working out how best to plan her mental illness therapy appointments and how to deal with it when we couldn’t get her in. It was a fight. Her doctor would tell her she was fine, just for her to have issues later.”
Alexis insisted that her family not tell anyone about her mental illness condition when she was in high school because she was afraid of being judged and ridiculed. “Keeping this mental illness quiet almost made it worse,” Jackie admits, “but our therapist said it had to be her choice.” Jackie felt alone because she lived in a society that views mental illness as a weakness rather than a genuine illness. Fortunately, she made a friend who had been through a similar ordeal with her children. “If possible, join a support group of people struggling with similar issues, so you aren’t dealing with it alone,” she advises.
When Alexis began college last year, her family decided to put her on mental illness medication. “We should keep an eye on her at home and make sure she didn’t get into any trouble.” We could tell she needed support when she returned home on weekends from college because she didn’t have that guy. “Her therapist decided that she wanted to start making things right away,” Jackie says.
Alexis is doing well these days and is open about her depression and anxiety mental illness. She’s already begun to document it on her blog. “At school, she made some good friends who are all aware of what’s going on. These kids have been fantastic when she’s had problems,” Jackie says.
Jackie’s blood pressure has increased to the point that she now requires mental illness medicine, which she attributes to her daughter’s mental illness burden. “I’ve also been to see a therapist,” she says. It’s the fear of losing her that keeps me awake at night. What happens if anything unforeseen occurs? What happens if she gets hurt this time? It affects me. Therapy takes place in a safe setting. She says, “I can say things and be truthful about things I can’t say to someone else.”
“Never give up on them,” she suggests. It’s really easy to just turn around and walk away. It’s different when it’s your child, but if it was a sibling or other parent, it’d be much too easy to ignore. Don’t give up just yet on them. All you have to do now is help them and provide them with as much assistance as possible. Give them a haven where they don’t have to worry about being judged.”
A severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or major depressive disorder is difficult to identify. When a family member suffers from one of these mental illnesses, it’s even more complicated. When an individual has a significant mental illness, it affects the whole family.
Biological factors also play a role in serious mental illnesses. They aren’t the product of poor parenting, and they aren’t likely to have been avoided by something you might have done differently as a friend or family member. Even so, it’s normal to experience a range of strong—and sometimes unpleasant—emotions following a diagnosis.
It’s common to feel ashamed, hurt, or embarrassed by a family member’s difficult-to-manage actions. Many people are still angry, both at the situation and at the individual who has been diagnosed with mental illness. And, although it is illogical, parents sometimes blame themselves. Feelings of remorse also accompany feelings of embarrassment and rage. Grief is also a natural occurrence. From diagnosis to the rehabilitation of mental illness, learn how to assist a loved one!
While these mental illness disorders can be terrifying, it’s important to remember that they can be handled. If people who have been diagnosed with these diseases seek treatment as soon as possible, they will be able to live complete and happy lives. If you’re worried that a friend or family member is showing these signs, keep your composure. It’s easy to picture the worst-case scenario, but mental illness symptoms often coexist with other issues.
Consider whether other factors are influencing the person’s mood or behaviour on mental illness. Is there a recent traumatic event in the person’s life, such as the death of a loved one? Have they recently been laid off or enrolled in a new school? Regardless of your responses, don’t let your fear of a diagnosis stop you from encouraging your loved one to seek support. Begin by speaking with him or her. Share your concerns without being alarmist or accusatory. “I’ve noticed you seem more anxious than usual” or “I’ve noticed you don’t seem like yourself lately” are examples of phrases you could use. The claims are then supported by evidence such as improvements in hygiene or everyday activities.
Encourage your loved one to seek medical assistance for mental illness from a trustworthy source. Suggest a visit to a general doctor if he or she refuses to see a mental health expert like a counsellor. You are welcome to accompany them to their appointment if they choose. Try to be patient and compassionate, and refrain from passing judgment on their ideas and behaviour. Listen to the person’s thoughts rather than dismissing or challenging them and assist the individual by requesting assistance with any possible obstacles. Find out about local services that can assist you, for example. Make it easier for the person by researching possible therapists, hours, places, and insurance problems. If you believe they are obstacles, discuss transportation, childcare, and communication methods with an employer, among other things.
Individuals suffering from mental illness disabilities also have a sense of self and a voice. Talk to your partner in an open and frank manner. Inquire about how they’re doing, what they’re having trouble with, and what they’d like from you. Work together to set reasonable goals and devise a strategy for achieving them.
Recognize and applaud the loved one’s accomplishments. According to research, constantly encouraging or nagging people with severe mental disorders to make behavior improvements has negative consequences when opposed to providing constructive reinforcement.
While these mental illness disorders can be terrifying, it’s important to remember that they can be handled. If people who have been diagnosed with these diseases seek treatment as soon as possible, they will be able to live complete and happy lives.
If you’re worried that a friend or family member is showing these signs, keep your composure. It’s easy to picture the worst-case scenario, but mental illness symptoms often coexist with other issues.Talk to your partner in an open and frank manner. Inquire about how they’re doing, what they’re having trouble with, and what they’d like from you. Work together to set reasonable goals and devise a strategy for achieving them.
If your family member declines your bid, contact his or her physician’s office to express your concerns. Even though the practitioner will not be allowed to share details with you due to privacy rules, it will warn the doctor to be on the lookout for symptoms of mental illness.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.