Coping with a Family Member who has a Mental Illness

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Coping with a Family Member who has a Mental Illness

Major mood swings, violent temper, uncontrollable crying, etc. You may know of someone or live with someone that has been diagnosed with Depression or Bipolar Depression. If so, you know that everyday is a struggle for them as well at yourself just to survive. The person effected by a mental illness can struggle daily just to get out of bed, take their meds, or leave the house. Living with someone like that can be very frustrating. You can feel as if your taking care of a child or living with someone who is constantly ill.

Educate yourself about their condition which should help you to understand what they are going through. Read or talk to others who have someone with a mental illness. There are support groups, books, brochures, etc that can give information, tips, and warning signs for their illness. Depression can make a person feel physically sick and hopeless. They can feel as thought getting through the day or even the morning or evening is impossible. Bipolar Depression, which I have been recently diagnosed with, is a little different. One day I feel like the above: hopeless, tired, frustrated, and mad. Then the next day or as long as a week later I feel like I could move the house, clean every piece of furniture, cook, and love my husband. It's always from one extreme to the other; and there's no warning signs that your world is getting ready to do a 180.

Remember to always let your friend know that you are there for them as long as they are trying to help themselves. They are in a battle with themselves and in a war with everyone else. Help to be their peace maker.

Heather Cornell

About The Author
Pauline Fitzgerald has been involved in counselling for twenty years; first as a paraprofessional, on crisis lines, peer counselling at university and as a volunteer in many organizations. For the past ten years she has worked in education, offering knowledge, compassion and caring to teens, children, families and staff. In 1999 Pauline began working as a counsellor at both high schools and elementary schools. Here she offered her support to children, teens, teachers and parents. Her honest, compassionate, accepting, caring demeanor, accompanied by a keen sense of humour endear her to youth and adults alike.

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