If you live with someone with a mental illness, you may experience different emotions, including anxiety, anger, shame and sadness. You may also feel helpless in regards to the situation. Everyone reacts differently. For instance:
- Some parents may feel a sense of guilt for their child’s illness
- Family members may wonder whether the illness is hereditary
- People may worry and wonder about their responsibilities towards the person with a mental illness
These reactions are perfectly normal.
Just as it is difficult for a person with mental illness – Living with a person suffering from mental illness is not always easy. The following are strategies that can help you cope:
Express your feelings
People around someone with a mental illness can experience feelings such as anger, shame and guilt. These are normal reactions, which need to be expressed. Avoid building up resentment. Find people capable of listening with whom you can share your feelings without restraint or guilt. These could be good friends or a support group for close relations of people with mental illness.
Take care of yourself
Your physical and mental wellbeing is important. Being healthy helps you stay balanced and cope better with the person you are supporting.
Solve one problem at a time
Living with a person who is trying to cope with a mental illness can cause certain problems and interpersonal conflicts. If you are in such a situation, try to avoid solving all the problems you are experiencing at the same time. Instead, confront problems one at a time and find a simple solution for each. The more solutions you find, the more in control of the situation you will feel. There are always solutions. Trust in yourself.
Respect your limits and seek help when necessary
We all have personal limits. When you do not respect those limits, you risk adversely affecting your health, which is not helpful to the person who has a mental illness. Acknowledge your personal limits.
When necessary, seek information and support from aid resources, where you can also meet other people that are, or have been, in the same situation as you. Talking with these people can help you better understand your feelings and see what solutions others have had.
If you or someone you know could benefit – please reach out to Healing Path Counselling Services.
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