Mental health refers to psychological well-being or the state of absence or presence of a mental disorder. Thousands of people amongst us are not mentally well. However, most of the times, we turn a blind eye on them, that's probably because we can't really observe the physical symptoms of psychological disorders - behavioral or emotional. So, in order to understand those who are dear to our hearts, we need to enlarge our patience scale and reflect upon their sudden outbursts or mood swings solemnly, rather than angrily.
How to Recognize a Mentally Unwell Individual around You:
Mental illnesses are often referred to as Neurobiological disorders. There are many different states and conditions which are labeled as mental illnesses. Some common disorders are:
Anxiety Disorders and Mood Swings:
People suffering from anxiety disorders are often scared, or are afraid of certain situations and on encountering them, they suffer from anxiety and fear, often accompanied by sweating, fast heartbeat and nausea (panic attacks). The individual having anxiety disorders cannot control their responses properly either and suffer from phobias too.
Psychotic disorders refer to an unstable state of mind. Such individuals are often delusional and hallucinate too. They might be disconnected from reality at times and have distorted thinking.
These disorders include extreme behaviors and responses of individuals regarding weight and physical appearance. So when very lean or thin family member starts refusing meals because they think they are overweight, you need to get alerted.
Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders:
People with these disorders are unable to resist urges and impulses that might prove harmful to themselves as well as others around them. They start to ignore and shut out family members and loved ones in order to satisfy their urges.
Individuals suffering from OCD often perform certain rituals or routines in response to some stimuli to such an extreme extent that it becomes abnormal for example, excessive washing of hands.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Stress Response Syndromes:
People who have gone through adisturbing incident in their lives often show symptoms of PTSD. They tend to be emotionally unstable and cannot react to emotional situations normally.
Supporting and Dealing with Mentally Unwell People:
The major point that everyone needs to understand is that it's not your fault that your loved one is suffering from such an illness, neither can you cure it. However, you can help them effectively in many ways. A few of them are mentioned below;
Accept It and Be Patient:
You need to accept that your family member is mentally ill and you need to get over it fast. Certain families tend to be emotionally over involved, others are cold and blame the patient- neither of which helps, rather worsens the situation. There's a difference between being helpful and being overwhelming, you have to understand that.
Educate Yourself About the Disorder:
Finding out about the disorder and learning every aspect of it helps a lot. Read different books and articles, consult the patient's doctors. In this way, you'd be aware of the various symptom and effective ways to respond to them. You'd be able to communicate with the patient more easily and understand them in depth thus creating a friendly atmosphere for the patient in the house.
Don't Try To Reason With The Patient:
The patient is in such a condition that he/she cannot think rationally. So arguing with them or trying to make them see sense is fruitless. Let the doctors do that job for them, you cannot cure them, all you can do is be sympathetic and understand them.
Keep Realistic Expectations:
There is not a well-defined period of recovery for these disorders. It may take days, months or even years. Similarly, once these illnesses are cured, it doesn't necessarily mean that they will not strike again. Despite your efforts, the symptoms may worsen or they might get better, you can never predict. Have patience and be understanding!
Treat them normally:
Let the patients have some control of their lives when they've recovered a bit. Such patients often feel as though they've lost control and purpose of their lives, so you need to encourage them to take part in everyday chores, have fun with them, don't let go of your sense of humor and let them take their decisions by themselves. Don't treat them as the "sick one" or render them separate from the family. Don't let them lose control, though. For example, if you feel that they are neglecting their medications or involved in self-harm, you should stop them immediately.
Stay Calm And Hopeful:
The last thing and the worst thing that you can do to your loved one in such a situation is to get panicked or lose hope. Be optimistic and spread positivity around, so that they can feel the positive vibes too. Remember, it's hard for them to accept too, so don't be hard on them.
Accept your Feelings: It's hard for you too. Don't neglect yourself and take time out for yourself. You will realize with the passage of time that you are not alone, many people suffer this situation. Reach out to them. Join support groups. Don't stress yourself too much. Getting some help for you or consulting a psychiatrist might be a good idea too.