Friday, November 5, 2010

Are you all right?

Staying sane when those in your house are not ... literally ... can be one of the biggest challenges of taking care of people with mental illness. Yes, it's possible.  But you also can end up with the old drop-the-frog-in-cold-water-and-turn-up-the-heat syndrome.  So it doesn't hurt to ask: Are you all right? 

Are you literally feeling sick to your stomach when you have to deal with your loved one with mental illness?

Are you lying about what's going on in your house? I know that many, if not most, people choose to conceal the severity of what they go through.  But if you are lying to cover up scary behavior or conceal violence that is taking place, you need to talk to someone whose judgment you trust about the situation. I also become very concerned when I hear that someone has not told an accountability group ... like a small group ... about the situation at home.

Are you getting isolated?

Are you making decisions from a place of fear or guilt? 

Are you showing symptoms of depression? (This could be sleep issues, gaining or losing weight, losing interest in your favorite activities or even having your own suicidal thoughts.)

We all know that we can't change the person with mental illness.  But we do have the power to change the situation we are in by changing ourselves: taking care of our health, taking much of our own lives back and getting off the roller coaster. So keep an eye on yourself.  If only because you know your own mental health is critical to your loved one's life.

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