I care about someone with mental illness. 

    • Do you or a loved one battle mental illness?  I have had the honour of raising a child, not done yet, a son who has battled almost all of his short life. He battles hard. 

      When we started this journey of parenthood, we did not expect this particular road. We have had to adjust to the multiple twists and turns that come along with parenthood, let alone parenting of a non typical child . I made it my mission to learn everything I could, from ptsd to bipolar to anxiety. Along the way I have learned more and more, not only about my child but about myself and others who live with illnesses that are not visible.  I care. A lot. 

      1. Acceptance.  Accept the diagnosis. Let go of your pre conceived ideas of mental health or that it’s not a “real” illness because you can’t see it . Accept that it is very real,and very scary. Accept that you will have to explain this,and much more repeatedly to those who question the reality. Accept that you will need to fight.  Denial will help no one.  Least of all those with the illness. Denial could in fact cost them critical help and support. Accept the reality and with that surround yourself with a support system and professionals you trust and move forward.

      2. Get educated. Research. Ask questions. Help your loved one do the same. It helps everyone to be prepared and truly helps in understanding the illnesses.  When armed with knowledge you can become a huge assest in the treatment and careof yourself and loved ones and aide in breaking down some of the societal barriers. Knowledge really is power and knowledge of illness is one of the most powerful components.  

      3. Advocate.  With the knowledge you gain you will be able to advocate more gratefully and well for your loved one or yourself. Our world is slowly learning but there’s still much to  learn. You may have to advocate in numerous areas of life. There is still a lot of ignorance and stigma surrounding mental health and often those living in the trenches aren’t up to the task of explaining or advocating for themselves. Be their voice and use yours. With each voice those stigmas and intoletances will become less.

      4. Be kind and forgive. To not only your loved one, but yourself.  Often as parents we feel guilty. Let the guilt go. We all mess up. We all make mistakes. Learn from them, forgive and carry on. 

      5. Don’t make them all about the illness.  There are times when the illness is all consuming, for them and yes you. At those times yes every ounce of everything is about the illness and getting through. Those people with mental illness have a disease, but they are not just a disease. They are so much more. They are human. Don’t solely focus on the illness part of them, focus on all of them. 

      6. Be positive.  This is not their fault. Nor is it yours. It truly is what it is. Absolutely there’s many tears,ample amounts of frustration and every emotion possible. No its not all positive, don’t pretend it is. Live those emotions, but don’t stay there and don’t try to find blame, there is none. Try to remember that this to shall pass. 

      7. Be patient.  There’s no quick fix. No matter how much we wish there were. There’s a lot of trial and error . With each individual needs vary. Mental illness is the least cookie cutter illness there is.  Try and try again.  Be patient with yourself during these times and most importantly be patient with those struggling. I promise they’re far more frustrated then you are. For chronic mental illness there’s no real cure, so getting to a point of stability will try all your patience, and you will question regularly when that point will tip. For many people with mental illness, you will eventually find what seems to work, and be treated successfully. In the mean time your patience also will be tried and tested. With mental health patience really is a virtue. And with it and hard work illness can be at least become manageable. 

      Cherish your loved ones and yourself, always ❤

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