What are the best ways to deal with a mentally ill family member?
My mother is mentally ill and for the most part, she lives a normal life. It is when she goes off her meds that things get down right scary. What are some ways for me to cope with her illiness, especially when she is in a bad state of mind?
The best thing to do is to support her as much as possible and always make sure she has her meds as this helps balance out her thoughts and feelings. Also try and see if there are any support groups in your local area to see if they provide counselling or group activities as this helps with their self confidence at times like this. Try to listen and help her through her tough time even though it isn't easy I admit.
Also always have a plan of action like numbers to ring, like Doctors, support workers and other places that can help support you in times of a severe mental health crisis should she worsen. I've had to do this myself, and I know full well it isn't easy when they are in that state of mind and off their medications, so just take care!
It does depend on how severe their condition is but I think that even though it is mandatory to help them it needs to be made clear that they should seek for and allow to accept help from the outside, either via councelling, Life Coaching or even going to a clinic for a few months. It is noone's fault that they have this condition but I do feel that it is important that the people around them are still allowed a certain level of freedom and quality of life. Some people actually thrive on dedicating themselves to others fully. In this symbiosis of mutually accepted dedication both parties could benefit.
Are you asking this question because you are in this situation yourself?
Your 'Team Leader'
It is helpful for everyone involved, including Mom, to go to family therapy TOGETHER. The "trick" is finding a good family therapist who will hold each of you accountable for your behavior in relationship to each other. Mom's illness may not be the issue but only the presenting problem, so to speak. Mom is what is called the identified patient.
The challenge for you will be to determine when to stay away, so to speak, from Mom and letting her know you will not tolerate her intolerable behavior. Attending Ala anon for support may be very helpful or Codependent Anonymous.
You might also want to come up with different ways to describe what is going on for Mom other than that she is mentally ill. The label takes her off the hook, so to speak from being responsible and accountable.
In my own experience, I very gently but accurately describe how the behavior during the bad episodes affects me and those around us. This helps the person understand that they need to be more responsible for making sure the episodes don't happen again. This approach helped reduce the number and severity of episodes I've had to deal with. Luckily, this person truly wants to be well.
Just because a person has an illness, I think they still need to accept responsibility for negatively impacting me and others (when the behavior is due to not taking meds) and learn how they can better manage, as well as apologize for not doing what they could to avoid the bad state of mind that affected me and others.
all my sympathies are with you KrystalD & i pray to God for a gud health to your mom & courage to you to cope up with the situation bravely (amen)!
.....those who are mentally ill are real God people, bcoz they are innocent and God loves innocents the most...more or less they are like small children/infants, and so our treatment for them shud be acccordingly..... Since children need love, care & sympathy at every step of their upbringing, so do the mentally ill family members . They shud be dealt with all love & care with patience, and even more at the time when they are at a bout of the mental illness.....and love is the best medicine which cures all physical, mental and spiritual disparities for sure!
It must be very difficult when your mom goes off her meds. That is a very frustrating scenario. I am on both sides of mental illness so here is what I have learned:
* Learn about the specific mental illness. You can go to sites like www.nami.org or dbsa.org or just google in the disorder and you will find lots of information about what she is dealing with. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO. Everything you do after this step will depend on what you have learned about her disorder.
* Find tangible ways to be supportive. One thing you can do is get into a support group for families of the mentally ill. Their you will find lots of ways to cope and to support your mom. She needs encouragement that she can get better. Encourage her to use the tools she's been given, but don't be the behavior police.
* Don't call her crazy, get angry when she has a setback, or stigmatize. Remember, she has an illness, not a character defect or emotional weakness.
* Love her unconditionally.
* Take care of yourself. It's easy to be sucked down into the abyss with your loved ones. If you find this happening, get help.
The websites I gave you will give you many more tips on how to be supportive to
a friend or loved one with a mental illness. God Bless.
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