The impact of mental illness is never limited to the person with the illness; instead, it extends to other family members and the community. These effects are not deliberate; they come up due to the differences in understanding the meaning of mental illness and how to deal with it. Also, mental illness can lead to broken families, disagreements, and in severe cases, estrangement.
Typically, a person who has been diagnosed with a mental illness like depression has had their world changed and is now looking for relief from emotional pain and needs support and understanding. Most times, they feel misunderstood by their family and think they are unimportant and a bother.
How Mental Illness Affects Family Relationships
Dealing with a family member diagnosed with a mental illness needs a lot of strength and support and can be very exhausting. It can demand anything from frequent medical appointments to dealing with everyday alterations in thinking and behaviors.
This can be stressful over time as it interrupts the normal flow of family patterns and routines. Also, taking care of a mentally ill family member might entail late-night phone calls and concerns over the individual’s wellbeing and the fear of self-harm.
When overly stressed, frustrated, and fatigued, family members might find themselves snapping out and yelling negative or hurtful comments that can later lead to more resentments and anger.
Getting Support as a Caregiver
When you are a caregiver, it can be tough to take care of your own health. You get more disposed to illnesses and long-term problems like depression, diabetes, and arthritis. You also get stressed because you get little time to sleep, have trouble eating, feel sad, and lose interest in almost everything.
However, the good news is that you can get help and reduce the chances of developing health problems. You can get enough sleep, get active, take steps to prevent back pain, and, more importantly, eat healthy foods to keep your body strong.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
It is essential to find various ways to manage stress; you can begin by taking things slow and take deep breaths. You can also do something that you love, for example, you can create some time to read, listen to music or even talk to a friend. Besides, you can talk a walk, visit a friend and get support from others to cope with the emotional stress.
Anxiety in Caregivers
Anxiety can result in emotional and physical symptoms. So it is essential to identify the signs and get anxiety counseling as early as possible. It is also important to note that some anxiety symptoms can cause medical problems, so pay much attention to how you feel.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience chest pains, loss of appetite, frequent headaches, sweating, nervousness, and a faster heart rate.
As a family member and a person taking care of a family member diagnosed with mental illness, you need to do what is best for all of you. Take the time to learn more about the diagnosis, set healthy boundaries, get help, accept temporary solutions when they arise, and more importantly, find more compassionate ways to express your fatigue and anger rather than shouting out negative and hurtful comments.