Friday, March 16, 2007

Can't Live Without Them


You can't live with them, and you can't live without them." This old saying especially speaks to the heart of those who have a friend, co-worker, or family member who has a major chronic depressive disorder. In my last blog, I tried to express the feelings and struggles of those who are mentally ill. Now, I want to share a list of ideas that I've compiled for you caregivers.

01-Knowledge is power. The first step needed is to gain as much knowledge as you can about your loved one's illness. I can't overemphasize the importance of this.

02-Join a support group. There are other people sharing your struggles. Check with DBSA and NAMI for a local chapter.

03-Don't try to "fix" mental illness. It can not be done. The goal is control, not "fixing."

04-Find a medical professional that you can talk with on a one-on-one basis. If possible, go with your loved one to his/her appointments with their doctor. Try to be interactive in their care.

05-Find time for yourself doing something that you enjoy. This is to be done alone or with people other than your spouse. Be especially careful, though, that you don't develop a romantic interest in another person.

06-When your partner is in a healthy mental state, talk quietly with them about your needs and hurts. Don't confront or be judgemental, but be frank.

07-Remember, "this too shall pass."

08-Allow yourself time to reminisce about the good times. Look forward to new ones.

09-View your loved one's illness as something that you have to fight as a team.

10-Spend quality time with your extended family or church friends.

11-Allow yourself a special treat occasionally.

12-Don't try to always be the "strong one." Have a good cry.

13-Try not to take unpleasantness personally. Most of the time, it is their illness speaking, not them.

14-Let the people around you know when you are going through an especially difficult time.

15-Don't have high expectations of someone in poor mental health. You are setting yourself up for disappointment.

16-Do not turn to alcohol, drugs, or extramarital sex to take away your pain and frustrations.

17-Laughter is always good medicine. Rent some comedic movies and invite your friends to watch them with you.

18-If necessary, do not hesitate to see a marriage counselor, but do it when your spouse is mentally stable. Make sure that your counselor is knowledgeable about mental illness.

19-Don't get entangled in a "blame game." This situation is not the fault of your partner, not is it yours.

20-Make sure that God is a big part of your life. He knows, He cares, and He will strengthen you.

I will give you some more suggestions in the future. If you have anything that you believe would be helpful, please post it in the comments section.

"The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:5-7)."

["I'm so low I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

5 comments:

Neva said...

One of the things that seemed to help my Intensive Outpatient Group was to remember to not define ourselves as our illness. Don't say I am bipolar, instead say I have bipolar disorder. We are so much more than what we have. Even before Patti LaBelle, :) we used to say I have an illness but it does not have me.
Enjoyed the post, Stormy
Peace and prayers
Neva

Neva said...

One of the things that seemed to help my Intensive Outpatient Group was to remember to not define ourselves as our illness. Don't say I am bipolar, instead say I have bipolar disorder. We are so much more than what we have. Even before Patti LaBelle, :) we used to say I have an illness but it does not have me.
Enjoyed the post, Stormy
Peace and prayers
Neva

Brian Nicklaus said...

of course, then there was Norm from Cheers, who quipped...

"women...can't live with them...pass the peanuts..."

Anonymous said...

Good post. Perfect to send to those 'caregivers' who just don't try to understand and only get frustrated with us. Thanks and best wishes!

Lisa

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