My Sisters Mental Condition
The hardship of Mental health
My oldest sister is currently in hospital for an eating disorder. She has had eating disorders since I’ve known her and it’s been a horrible thing to watch. This year we are turning 21, and I remember when we were just 14 years old, sitting by her hospital bed, wondering if that was the last day I would ever see her. She is an incredibly gifted human being. Without a doubt she is the most naturally intelligent person I’ve ever met. Just amazing, you would be lucky to know her.
Her and her boyfriend of 2 years recently broke up. When they first met, I rejoiced.
Finally, someone that will give her the love she deserves.
She dated some real bad eggs before him, and I remember the relief I felt when she would tell me the wonderful ways in which he would take care of her, and most importantly, accept her.
He told her that he just doesn’t care about her eating disorder anymore. He can’t support her anymore.
And I understand and I know she does too, that loving someone with a mental illness is a commitment. And it’s not something that just anyone is able to commit to. He needs to look after himself too, and she needs someone that can commit to being there for her. But he’s just not in that place in his life.
But this is a fear instilled in myself also.
During my most severe times of having OCD, there was no agony like watching your loved one’s walk away from you, because you’re just too much. These are usually the people that, at the beginning, swore they would always be there.
It is no one’s responsibility to look after me and I am the first person to say that, but no matter how much we know that, it doesn’t stop it from hurting. It is always a bombshell of rejection.
And that bombshell brings on so much guilt. If only I was different. It’s my fault. I’m not good enough. None of this is true, of course, but when you are already feeling hopeless and afraid, you can understand why such thoughts would occur.
It is a hard position to be in, either way. To watch someone you love struggling so much to the point you can’t help them, must be a horrible thing to see. But it’s also a very courageous and mature decision to leave them when you can’t take it anymore. And while it is also courageous and mature to accept that, as the sufferer, I can’t say it’s ever easy.
I never accept the promise, “I won’t leave you”. You can leave when or if you feel it is necessary and the best option for yourself or myself or both of us. I only ask that you take the time to understand me while you are here.
How to overcome Mental disorder
Doctors have a role to play to management of mental illness but I would argue that self care and development of a healthy lifestyle and social support is probably as or is more important.
By a healthy lifestyle I am referring to proper ( for you) diet, exercise and avoidance of stimulants like caffeine, intoxicants like alcohol, and the wealth of legal and illegal drugs that can cause no end of trouble to both sound and vulnerable people alike. Stress management and discovery of triggers are both also very important.
By social support I am referring to friends and family, pets, and the people you interact with at work. Cultivating and maintaining strong, positive, supportive relationships is incredibly important for mental and emotional health for every human being.
In addition there are a wide variety of techniques that one can learn to contribute to your feeling better. Visit your local well stocked library and no doubt you’ll be able to assemble a high stack of volumes that offer a variety of ideas and skills in this regard. Try some of the ones that appeal to you and see if they make a difference. Then repeat.
It can be considerable work to discover the tricks and techniques that work for you and to incorporate them as habits in your life. The payoff however may be considerable.
Some of those books will describe in detail your condition. Learn everything you can about your illness. Learn from people’s stories of those who are similar to you. You may not have to repeat their mistakes. Knowledge is power.
Lastly, about doctors. Pretty much every voice on Quora will advise you to both find a good doctor and follow their instructions. There are problems with that advice.
Firstly, psychiatrists today are essentially pill pushers. They generally cannot offer lifestyle advice or counselling and can only give you the medicine that’s available ( obviously). The psychoactive medications that are available are problematic at best and can be quite dangerous. Their lists of possible and probable side effects are extensive. The pill makers are primarily motivated by profit and corporate ethics are often suspect. There’s lots of read on this topic and before you embark on years of pill consumption you should probably read up on all that material.
Additionally, in my experience doctors’ professionalism can be an issue. I’ve had doctors fall asleep during talk sessions, prescribe drugs that caused me to go manic, and had others attempt to prescribe these drugs even after I had told them of the previous mania induction. My first psychiatrist was jailed for sexual abuse of patients. Obviously I’m not a fan of doctors, at least not in the realm of mental health. I believe the locus of responsibility should lie with the individual and not projected onto those who may not have adequate tools or motivation to help.