Thursday, 03 November 2011
Mental disorders are hard for the person living them. Life is a constant battle against your mind. If your friend has a mental disorder don't try and make them feel guilty or burdensome. Telling someone that their panic attack is embarrassing you won't help anyone in the long run.
If you friend/family member has a disorder, you should:
- Encourage them. Different things work for different people. For some people therapy is all they need, some need a combination of that and medication. For some individual therapy works great and for others a group is comforting because it is nice to have the support of people going through the same things. Don't ever look down on someone for getting help. There is a stigma in our society about mental disorders, so don't go making them feel worse about it. Instead be proud that they are taking active steps towards functioning normally.
- Hold them accountable when they screw up. This is a tricky one. Everyone gets better at a different pace. But when someone hurts them-self, whether they cut, drink excseivly, engage in random/ emotionally damaging sex/relationships, ostracize themselves, it is never okay. Don't yell at them for their behavior but don't write it off. Remind them that getting better is a process, and their will be times along the way that they mess up, but hopefully they have learned from their mistakes and can move on a better/wiser person. But if they are doing something dangerous, don't be afraid to report them. No one can help them if they are dead.
- If you can (or if it is appropriate), be a part of their process. Drive them to therapy, talk to them about their plans, if their therapy includes a certain diet or exercise regime offer to do it with them. We all know that it is hard to get up and start exercising, now imagine trying to start a routine while depressed. Go running, encourage them to go with you.
- Be patient. Bones don't mend over night and neither do people's minds. It's a very slow process and it's frustrating for everyone, so try your best to be patient.