Archives for Caregivers
Do you care for someone with a mental health condition? What about someone with several mental health conditions? Perhaps you also care for someone with behavioral problems as well. Either way, it is very easy to begin to feel burned out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. For many parents, families, caregivers, and friends of individuals with mental health or behavioral health conditions, the road can seem almost endless. The road can also be emotionally draining, primarily when a loved one is frequently admitted to psychiatric hospitals, needing multiple safety precautions in the home if there are suicide attempts or cutting behaviors, and multiple calls to the police for protection. As a child and adolescent therapist who works with many families, I have seen my fair share of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burn-out. Unfortunately, many caregivers (friends, family, spouses, children, etc) are uninformed about these things and neglect to care for themselves. This article will discuss burn-out, secondary trauma, and compassion fatigue and ways to examine if you are a sufferer.
For most of us, we've had a few rainy days that felt endless. But for the remainder of society, rainy days happen all the time. A lot of people tend to believe that depression is a fleeting emotion and something that cannot destroy the natural flow of one's life. Sadly, some families tend to make depression taboo and refuse to acknowledge it or discuss it. The use of medication further stigmatizes families and causes barriers for open discussion. For fear of appearing "helpless" or "needy," some people suffer in silence all alone until one day their illness becomes so apparent that it's almost impossible to hide.
Trauma is a complex, but necessary subject. For the month of June and July I spent the majority of time writing articles on childhood trauma. It's a known fact that many people fail to recognize how common and pervasive it is. Our society tends to believe that trauma is only for those individuals who have experienced a terrible life event. But that is not all trauma is. Trauma, as noted in previous articles, can be secondary or vicarious. You only need to listen to a host of detailed stories to feel the effects of trauma. In fact, research suggests that trauma can affect all of us and it doesn't have to be us experiencing the event ourselves. For example, imagine that you are being told about a close friend's sexual and physical abuse as a child. Every detail, every emotion, and every sensory experience (smell, sounds, sights, tactile, etc.) are being described to you at great length. You might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or even stressed. Perhaps you went to bed that night and had a dream about it. Or maybe you become hypervigilant in your own relationships to ensure that you avoid being abused. In a sense, you are becoming just as emotionally vulnerable as your friend. This is called secondary trauma, or, as in the previous article, compassion fatigue. Secondary trauma occurs when you have empathy and concern for the person who is sharing their traumatizing story with you. This article will explore a trauma-based model known as the SELF model and provide tips on how you can engage in introspection about the trauma you may have experienced in your life.
Are you the father of a son who struggles with mental and behavioral problems? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the emotional and mental health needs of your son? Are you are mother or wife in a household almost completely destroyed, on a daily basis, with family conflict and emotional chaos? If so, E Martyn Ramsey has written a book just for you. He the father of a son who, following an intense family conflict, decided to commit suicide by going into their basement and hanging himself. Life for Joe, Ramsey's son, was characterized by internal pain that he could not sooth in this world. No drug, no friend, no occupation, no event, no thought, or success could heal the internalized pain that Joe carried with him until the day of his suicide. Lets welcome E Martyn Ramsey as he shares his story with us today.
Are you a mental health professional or work in the field of mental health? Are you a caregiver? What are some of your most vivid experiences? There is always at least one experience that made some kind of impact on you emotionally, psychologically, or even physically (, injuries during restraints, etc.). The experience could be positive or even negative. Either way, the experience will probably always be apart of your existence. It's difficult to...
How would you describe your parent(s) growing up? Were the parents who used corporal punishment (spanking), "time out," or some other form of punishment? Despite years of controversy surrounding what parenting "techniques" are good and what are bad, the topic of child abuse rarely gets discussed. It's a taboo topic. This week, during Personal Stories Week, we will be discussing a variety of topics relating to attachment, parenting, mental illness, and mental health in general. Today I have Ginger Kadlec, an advocate for children, sharing her knowledge about child abuse with us.
Stories are powerful. It wasn't until I began in the field of clinical psychotherapy that I recognized just how important stories are to the structuring of our lives. We gain meaning and strength from our stories. We also provide others with empowerment and courage through our pain. A story can be so powerful that it changes not only the heart and mind of a person struggling with mental health challenges, but also their life. Personal Stories Week has become a yearly tradition for me on PsychCentral. I have the opportunity to contact various inspirational speakers, social media tigers, parents, families, caregivers, blog talk radio hosts, writers, authors, twitter followers, other professionals, etc. to invite them to write an article and share their experience within the mental health and social welfare system with us. It's such a great time connect with writers and readers. It's an entire week filled with personal stories of triumph, motivation, courage, and knowledge. I invite you to check in everyday and to share the many stories you will see this week.
Trauma is a complex phenomenon. Many of us have probably experienced an event that we struggle to not only forget, but emotionally cope with. If I were to ask you if you have ever experienced a traumatic event what would you say? Was it severe, moderate, or mild? Was it long-term or short-term? Were you able to easily get over it? Whatever the case may be, a traumatic experience must be an event that we find difficult to cope with overtime. Sadly, many people who tend to lack knowledge about trauma fail to recognize that anything a trauma victim comes in contact with can re-traumatize them. For example, I previously had a client who witnessed his mother slit her throat and commit suicide. Prior to this suicide, the mother had been playing hiding-go-seek outside with all 4 of her children. This child struggled with understanding why his mother would walk away during hiding-go-seek and kill herself. Now, at the age 10, he watches movies with his father that often include crime scenes, murder, and suicide which tends to trigger memories of his mother's suicide. He is unable to sleep at night, relax, or put the past behind him. Yet, his father is unaware of the reality that he is possibly re-traumatizing his own son with these movies. This article will discuss 7 things we, who are close to trauma victims, should be mindful not to do. I will also give suggestions on what we should do instead.
Have you ever heard of the terms “burnout,” “compassion fatigue,” or “secondary traumatic stress?” If not, you’ll soon find out what these terms mean in this article. Each week we discuss issues specific to parents, families, caregivers, and individuals who are living with or helping someone with a mental health condition. But this week, we’ll talk a bit about the mental health professional and the challenges many helpers face. The challenges that mental health professionals face can ultimately affect the type of service you receive. This doesn't mean that the professional is incapable of helping you, but it does mean that skill level can be affected. You should be aware of how compassion fatigue affects someone you are working closely with.