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Coping with mental illness in a loved one

When mental illness strikes within a family, it often creates an imbalance. Here are some tips on how to cope with the situation.

1. GET INFORMED.

This allows for better understanding, knowledge, and adjustment to the person’s new situation. It also allows us to better interact with our loved one who is behaving differently from the person we thought we knew.

2. BE ACTIVE.

Do things with your loved one. Routine, everyday activities can help ease relationships naturally. This provides a healthy approach to relying on each other. Suggest activities that allow you to respect your boundaries. Activity parameters need to be clear, so that shared expectations are met (e.g., visiting hours, chores, etc.).

3. FIND SUPPORT.

When facing a situation alone, it is easy to have feelings of guilt, shame or powerlessness. Support groups allow you to share your experiences with people who have experienced similar situations in the past or who are going through them now. This gives us the opportunity to learn tips on how to react to different situations.

 

IMPORTANT CONCEPTS

1. THE CONCEPT OF BALANCE.

Everyone needs to benefit from the interaction. Charity begins with ourselves… We must not take on more than we can handle, or we risk burning ourselves out on the relationship.

2. THE CONCEPT OF HOPE.

It’s not foolish to believe that things can get better. It’s about finding something that works for the individual, so that they can improve as much as they can. It is possible and we must believe in it.

3. THE CONCEPT OF HUMOUR.

All of this works better when you do it with a smile. Seeing humour in a difficult situation is different from laughing at your loved one. Making light of certain behaviours relaxes the atmosphere and even spices up the relationship.

Source : Dr. Michel Messier, psychiatrist

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