We live in the comfort of our homes with our family. They have always been there for us from as early as we were born. However, for some of us, this may not be the case. After all, a family is not limited to having a father or a mother. It is sometimes extended out to our relatives or to someone who has adopted us. Such a presence in our life can have lifelong effects in the future. Have you always wondered how your family’s mental health could affect you? Here are four ways how.
When someone is mentally ill, it affects factors such as communication and actions. They keep themselves in the confines of their thoughts and problems. Your relationship as a family is not the only relationship affected by isolation. It also affects your relationship with your friends or partner. Damaging your relationships limits your opportunities in life. Have you ever heard of the quote, “No man is an island?” Social isolation has similar health risks as smoking cigarette or obesity.
“Everyone handles positive and negative stress differently. And yes, for some, positive stress can lead to a negative response to stress, depending on the situation.” Jessica Harris, LCPC, LPC used to say. Knowing that one of your loved ones is struggling with a mental illness can be very stressful. It can become tough when you take care of them while balancing your everyday tasks. Stressed people often share the same experiences when managing their mental health. It can build up tension in your homes making your home feel very uncomfortable. Stress can also have significant physical effects on your body as well. Certain studies have linked stress to heart disease and high blood pressure. It is also known to lower your immune and digestive systems.
Affects An Individual’s Growth
For example, since you were always busy with work, you never realized that your son is a victim of bullying. The bullies would laugh at what he wears, thus lowering his self-esteem. They would call him names that were funny to the bullies but were verbally abusive. This bullying continued causing him significant psychological damage. You never noticed this because he always appeared to be okay, until one day you find out that he decided to take his own life. Now, the future you have wished for him has now disappeared. As exaggerated as this example may sound, it is still not too far from happening. Bullied victims have suicidal thoughts two to nine times more likely than non-victims. However, “Not all people who have thoughts of suicide end up acting on those thoughts. But for those who do, generally there is deep emotional pain combined with a belief that things will never improve.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC explained.
Dealing with someone’s mental illness can become both emotionally and physically draining. An individual loses their motivation to do everyday activities due to exhaustion. Lack of motivation can affect one’s lifestyle from schooling to work. It can also affect both their professional and personal relationships. Certain diseases such as heart disease and a weakened immune system may also arise from this. I have experienced this back then, and losing the motivation to do anything often leads to giving up. It taught me the value of moving on and pushing onwards.
Tips For Handling Your Family’s Mental Health
It is tough to watch over a member of your family’s mental health. It can be very frustrating and challenging at times, but here are some tips to help you.
- Always Get Together
Devote some of your time to bond with your family. It doesn’t have to be every day; a simple Sunday dinner would be enough. Let this serve as a form of a breather for whatever you may be going through.
- Communication Is The Key
Try to get informed on how things are at work or school. Make sure to check up on them from time to time. You don’t need to know everything since some actions may tell you a difference in their stories. Encourage them to open up to you from time to time.
- Keep The Feeling Of Love Alive
Feeling loved gives you a sense of security and healthy self-esteem. Make sure to show your trust and care for one another. Doing this may help develop positive relationships in the future.
- Avoid Abuse
Abuse is never a good thing. It is capable of mentally damaging your children or partner. You should avoid it at all costs since it is a leading factor for depression and low self-esteem.
- Be Careful Of Your Actions
“A mental illness cannot be willed away or brushed aside with a change in attitude. Ignoring the problem doesn’t give it the slip either.” Deborah Serani, PsyD said. In some cases, the cause of one’s mental illness comes from their own family. Your words and actions may affect both your children or partners, so always be sensitive. It is essential to take note of how to handle fights. Remember to say sorry sometimes.
- Knowledge Of Any Existing Mental Illness
We know that some mental illness needs daily care while others are episodic. You will be able to select the appropriate actions to take if you know your loved one’s condition.
Do you want to be more attentive to your family’s mental health? Check out this website regularly for more information.