How to Know What We Can Do When a Loved One Is Struggling
It is hard to know what a person needs at any given moment when they are going through mental illness and its numerous hardships. Since mental illness is not a tangible thing, you can’t know for sure what it is that a person needs from you. Furthermore, the person may not even know what they need, as it can be a confusing time in their life. So many emotions and thoughts are racing through their mind that they may not be able to make sense of it all. This is why we encourage people to seek professional help. Expert treatment gives them access to people who are trained to help them make sense of it. But there are still going to be times when we need to be there for the person. If they are in an outpatient program, they won’t have access to 24/7 care. At night, they don’t have access to their therapists and doctors, and they may need us to be the ones to comfort them. The challenge is to know what that help looks like. We have to be patient with people and take it as we go. Every person is unique and needs to be approached in their own way.
Patience & Understanding – the Core of Mental Health Treatment
If you have a mental illness of your own, you understand precisely how confusing it can become inside your own head. We feel so many different things and think so many different thoughts that we don’t know how to make sense of it all. We have to give it time for us to better understand it. In fact, we may never fully understand our thinking or mental illness. We need the patience to let ourselves soak in what we are feeling and determine how to approach it.
Those of us on the outside don’t need to immediately jump in and find a quick fix. We know it can be painful to watch a loved one go through something so complicated and hard, but we have to let them make sense of it before we can do anything. It is natural for us to want to get in there and fix everything, take the pain away, and help them feel better. But with mental illness, that’s just not always the reality of the situation. Often, we won’t know what to do until much later. That’s what our loved ones need. Their brain is already throwing so many ideas and thoughts at them. They are already trying to find the right thing to do, and feeling the pressure of someone else wanting to know what is happening can make it worse. Just being there for them is often enough. We don’t have to understand it, and we don’t have to push them. Take solace in knowing that they find your presence soothing. They will ask for help when they need it.
Grounding Yourself in Compassion
This doesn’t mean you have to take a hands-off approach and not engage with them. You can still talk to a person battling mental illness, but do it in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re being interrogated. Talk to them about everything they are feeling without giving advice or suggestions. Let them put it all into words so that it can become clearer for them. Let them know that they are not alone so that they feel supported.
If you are the person struggling with mental health issues, remember that your support system is not there to bring you down. If they do have moments where they are asking a lot of unanswerable questions, remember that it comes from a compassionate place. It can be frustrating, but it comes from a good place. Don’t take out your anger on them because of it. Both sides can approach the situation with love.
Have Faith in the Process
Mental illness is a difficult thing to handle. Being patient, being attentive, and being present is more than enough to make any situation better. We have to be patient with all things in this complicated world and approach it with love and understanding. Make sure you are there for your struggling loved one, and they will let you know what you can do. Listen, love, and it will all be okay. With the right support and the right people around us, we can overcome everything.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]