This month we are going to change our focus even more and talk about mental illness. It’s a subject that everyone knows something about, but no one wants to talk about. Yet surprisingly it affects many families in one way or another. Just like diabetes, mental illness is a disease that needs to be treated and with the right treatment and medications can be successfully managed. We all know about depression, and the ones like schizophrenia. There are others too like anxiety & panic attacks, PTSD (which you don’t have to be a combat veteran to have), eating disorders and so many others. Each of these affect not only the individual, but their family and can affect their social network and society as a whole. Unfortunately mental illness is not something that is just going to “go away” like a lot of people hope it will. So what can we as families and social circles do? The first thing is to recognize the signs of mental illness and then help the person recognize them. Be very careful if you want to do an intervention. They can go horribly wrong unless you know very well how a person will react to being confronted about anything. Getting a person with a mental illness help should be a top priority, and then being a support system is good. Be cautious however not to become a player in any games with them. Many people with mental illness are very co-dependent on people, so don’t be their co-dependent player. In other words, don’t enable them to continue staying in their illness. Step back and allow them to become healthy again. It’s tough to do, but it is very important that this happen. Otherwise you will just get stuck in a vicious circle and no healing will ever take place, just like with a drug addict or alcoholic.
Another thing that is important is for the person to take their medication and to never run out of refills. It’s amazing what can happen without the medication that they need and it is not good for them or the family. If they need counseling, make sure they are in counseling. Just be sure that the person has the right counselor for them. A counselor that is good for one person may not be right for another one. Mental illness comes in many forms, but each person needs to be loved and given the help they need. So many of them wind up on our streets homeless and alone which breaks my heart. Yes, even here at C & S Creations we have some that struggle with issues, but thanks to modern medicine have the medications and resources to be able to live a fairly normal life. Part of it is due to some damage that was done to the brain a few years back. Unfortunately some areas had some bad damage, but medication helps a lot to take care of the deficit. Recognizing the signs of mental illness is very important and we will be talking about those in the next few weeks. They are important and may help save someone’s life.