Let me first say that no one in either my husband’s or my family had ever shared information about having a history of mental illness. At the time my daughter starting having difficulty, the stigma was still very negative and something kept secret for all concerned.
This made it harder and cost us valuable time in obtaining a proper diagnosis and treatment of our beautiful, talented, very intelligent daughter.
The heartaches she has endured and triumphed over are numerous.
The heartaches for the rest of the family in different stages of life were difficult as well.
Many families do not survive. The incidence of divorce is high as is the incidence of alienation of one or more family members.
A strong faith helped our family on many occasions. Sharing with others helped lighten the load. Prayers of others ,often saw me through darkest of times for our family.
I need to interject here that some people I had thought of as good friends disappointed me and others that I had thought of more as acquaintances stepped up and brought meals, invited me out for lunch, put me and my family on prayer chains. I am sharing this because it might be helpful if you are new to having someone you love diagnosed with a mental illness.
One never knows where help strength and courage or encouragement might come from. I have learned that there is nothing to gain by hiding it. If you do, no one knows. And no one can step forward and offer something you might desperately need.
I have learned after many years in the health field and self educating myself that the best approach is to
expect good behavior,and the ability to succeed from your loved one with a mental illness.
I often told my daughter that her diagnosis is an EXPLANATION of her behaviors- not an EXCUSE.
I firmly believe a child or an adult tries to do what is expected of them. So, if we allow or accept bad behavior with no consequences or say that a child will not be able to get through college than that is probably what we will get.
If on the other hand we encourage them by saying yes you can and when they have a set back inform them it is okay, because everyone has setbacks not just those diagnosed with a mental illness. It is okay to make a mistake . It is not okay to pretend it is someone else ‘s fault or to give up and not keep trying.
My daughter asked me to write something for her blog – I hope this is okay for first time.
Gods blessings to all struggling to make sense out of mental illness and to your loved ones.