Mental illness takes a toll on the person who lives with it day in and day out. It also significantly affects their friends and family. For most people who have a loved one who suffers from mental illness the feelings of helplessness become overwhelming. It's difficult to know how to help. Too much help and the person may become resentful, too little help and they will feel like you don't care about them.
There may come a time when your loved one asks you for specific things to help them on their mental health journey, but when they are in the early stages of their diagnosis and therapy these are the things that you can do to help. If you're searching for mental health therapists in Charlotte NC, call Legacy!
- Help Set the Tone - When a mental illness is newly diagnosed there are lots of questions, fear, and anxiety. Chances are the fear and anxiety aren't helping an already severe mental health situation. Reassure your loved one with hope and calm behaviors. When they become agitated or angry, remind them that this is a process. Learning a new set of skills and behaviors to treat their mental illness will take time. No one expects perfection. Encourage them to help you understand their fears and their anxieties.
- Set Boundaries - Many times, those with mental illness display aggressive or harmful patterns of physical behaviors towards those around them. Family and friends will put up with these behaviors as a way to avoid aggravating a tenuous situation. However, as your loved one begins therapy, this is a good time to be clear about what the new boundaries are and what behaviors are and are not acceptable.
- Show Respect - Mental illness makes the people it affects feel out of control and can often make them feel like they are unable to just be themselves. This creates frustration and anger. Finding ways to give some power back to your loved one can help them stabilize and progress more quickly. As changes occur, work together to identify ways that they can take control. Small chores around the house, filling medication reminder boxes, or other small tasks can help give a feeling of control. Avoid criticizing or drawing attention to things that have a minimal impact on the overall big picture like nagging about putting away their shoes or drawing attention to a chore they didn't do perfectly. This defeats the purpose of trying to allow them to regain some control.
- Work Together - Set goals and be realistic about the expectations for your loved one. Just because they have started therapy and may be taking medication does not mean that they will be cured overnight. Mental health and overcoming mental illness is a lifelong journey. Over time the person will improve significantly. It is best to set reasonable and attainable goals and expectations. Ask your loved one's therapist or care team for guidelines to help measure progress and to set goals that are appropriate for each phase of care.
Click here for part two of this series.
Affordable Therapists in Charlotte NC | Legacy Freedom
Whether you or your loved one have been newly diagnosed with a mental illness or are struggling with managing your mental health, Legacy Freedom of Charlotte can help. Our holistic approach to mental health care treats the whole person, not just their mental health needs. Whether you struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorders, ADD, ADHD, schizophrenia or any other mental illness - we can help. Our care team will create a unique care plan that is centered on you. By combining traditional talk therapy with alternative therapies like acupuncture, tai chi, or meditation, Legacy Freedom can help you learn to life a fulfilling and purposefilled life. Stop fighting the cycle of mental illness and call our affordable therapists in Charlotte NC.