Hello, I hope you are doing good this weekend. I recieved this article in a Nami newsletter and I wanted to share it with any of you who may be in a strained relationship due to a Mental Illness. Dawn Brown lays out some steps to help restore or keep a relationship going, despite all the stresses that are involved when dealing with a Mental Illness. To find local support groups in your area you can click on the link below to Nami. I know from personal experience, the one thing a person does not want when they are suffering is for their loved ones to abandon them or give up. So reach out for help when you need it in order to stay strong, and in the end the results could be that you are strong together!
Have a great weekend,
When mental illness strikes there is always collateral damage that extends beyond the person with the illness to include family and friends. Relationships are often strained to the limit as a person with mental illness struggles to cope with their symptoms and possibly refuses help and lack of resources and support can leave loved ones angry and burnt out. This creates a difficult situation that can result in more hurting than helping, and relationships can be damaged or lost.
Sadly, the most strained relationship is often between a mother and child. Whether your mother has a mental illness or you are the mother of someone with a mental illness, you understand the heartache that exists when the relationship is damaged or lost. Fortunately, even the most difficult situations can be improved, and working towards reconciliation and restoration with your loved one is well worth it
Restoring a relationship that has been damaged by mental illness begins with the acceptance that the relationship will be different. Making adjustments that can restore and sustain the relationship, include:
Realizing that you are not the cause nor do you have the cure for mental illness, realize that you cannot provide all the care needed
Locate resources in your community. Day programs/club houses, NAMI Connection Recovery Support Groups, social services and case management provide social opportunities, support, and professional care that can greatly enrich lives, as well as, lighten the load
Education brings understanding, and understanding brings compassion. Contact your NAMI Affiliate for information about NAMI Family-to-Family and NAMI Peer-to-Peer education programs in your community
Remember to set and respect boundaries. Keep communication clear and concise. Revise your expectations. You should not expect everything or nothing from another individual, be realistic in your expectations
Renegotiate your emotional relationship. Mutual respect will provide equilibrium
Taking care of oneself is essential to having a strong and loving relationship. If you are ill, be willing to receive treatment and manage your illness by cooperating with your medical team and taking prescribed medication. If you are a caregiver, do not ignore your own needs. Providing ongoing, long term support requires you to be at your best
Statistics illustrate the enormous size and economic impact mental illness has on the United States, but they do not reflect the impact it has on our families. We do not have to allow mental illness to damage or destroy our relationships. Do not give up. Forgiveness works to reconcile and love to restore
By Dawn Brown, NAMI HelpLine Information and Referral Specialist