This past week I met with a few of my former colleagues and we ended up discussing the various ways we tend to de-stress over the weekend. I thought many of the suggestions shared were great and wanted to share them with you!
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.
Crisis. What comes to mind when you hear this term? Do you think of natural disasters such as hurricanes, national health concerns like the Ebola virus, personal struggles such as a divorce or failed relationship, or perhaps something less dramatic but still emotionally draining such as failed expectations or loss of a good job. Whatever the stressor (a situation that outweighs your ability to cope with it), a crisis can be any of the above situations and be long-term or short-term.
A crisis has been defined in multiple ways but most people define a crisis as a hazardous event that outweighs your ability to cope. Such a situation could include physical stressors (lack of sleep, poor nutrition, medication changes, or an illness), emotional/psychological stressors (anxiety, depression, worrying, cognitive distortions, etc.), and social/environmental stressors such as overcrowded living conditions, socioeconomic status, living in high crime or drug infested areas, lack of income, loss of a job, poor interpersonal relationships, lack of education, or no transportation. All of these things can become a crisis because each individual is different and each individual’s ability to cope is also different. What might be a crisis to you might not be a crisis to someone else. This is why it is important to exercise empathy and compassion when someone is feeling as though they are in a crisis state.
A lot of people question whether a crisis is also an emergency. Believe it or not, an emergency is not necessarily a crisis but it can escalate into an emergency. An emergency is a life-threatening event that requires immediate attention, while a crisis is a state of disequilibrium or imbalance that might require emergency attention if the individual within the crisis needs help such as in the case of having suicidal thoughts, cutting, or threatening to kill someone. For example, a woman who is holding a gun to her head and threatening to take her life, is not in …
Have you ever had to face the fact that perhaps your loved one or close friend needed to be hospitalized? Was their illness so bad and jeopardizing his or her safety that you considered discussing the need to have the person “sign themselves in?” If so, join the millions of other individuals and families who have had to face this very difficult and emotionally draining situation.
When someone treats you with disdain and uses every verbal attack they can think to use on you, do you walk away thinking “this person hates me, they think I am completely worthless?” If you have never thought this way, would you? What about if your boss walked by you without smiling or greeting you after you just applied to another job? Would you think “he completely hates me?” If so, have you considered that perhaps you were engaging in a Cognitive Distortion?
Did you know that your parenting style can determine the emotional and psychological well-being of your child? Being the parent of a child has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. The only thing lacking from a parent child relationship is payroll. A child has so many needs, desires, and milestones to achieve in life. It’s the parent who bears the burden until the child becomes mature enough to seek out their own wishes in this life. But despite the challenges that come with parenting, it is also perhaps one of the most rewarding (most of the time) jobs in the world.
Sadly, many parents are unaware of the power that they hold over their children. These types of parents lack the educational, emotional, and mental abilities to properly raise their children and equip them for the world. These parents not only lack skills and emotional intelligence, but also mental stability. Some parents who are detrimental to their children’s overall development also struggle with their own mental health problems and substance abuse/dependency. In such cases they are viewed by mental health professionals as victims themselves. Parents who are struggling with their own mental and emotional well-being cannot (and often times will not) cater to the needs of their children in the areas of academics, emotional well-being, psychological health, and social abilities. Children who are neglected and abused at the hands of unstable parents often end up in foster homes, residential treatment facilities, detention centers or juvenile jails, or incarcerated for long periods of time. Children who are victims of victims often become prostitutes, drug addicts, sociopaths, criminals, psychiatric patients, or emotional messes. As a result, it becomes absolutely necessary for mental health professionals, psychiatrists, social workers, probation officers, police, and others to get involved and remain involved. These families are often titled “dysfunctional families.” Where the dysfunction began is difficult to pinpoint because in some …
Firstly, I would like to start by thanking the many families who participated in Personal Stories Week this year. So many asked to participate that I had to push some stories to August 2015. Your stories of bravery, triumph, struggle, pain, denial, hope, loss of hope, and perpetual challenges have not only inspired us, but perhaps has made us more grateful for the beautiful aspects of life that so many tend to take for granted.
Are you the parent of or know someone who is the parent of an adult child with schizophrenia or Schizoaffective disorder? How did you respond to that diagnosis? What if your son or daughter was a stellar student with gifted abilities and one day lost her hope for a bright future because of a chronic mental health condition? The stress and strain that you would feel might almost take all the life in your soul. In fact, it might cause you to question why. I’m sure Sharon (seen on the right) has been through this process many times in her life.
Have you ever been to a mental health agency where everything appeared to be disorganized, unethical, and perhaps even illegal? Did a loved one receive mediocre mental health services, inadequate services, or no help at all? If so, you are not alone.
Are you the parent of a child, adolescent, or adult child with severe mental illness? How do you feel right now? Tired? Lonely? Discouraged? Or even stronger? Some parents say that they are struggling every single day of their lives with the reality that their child, teen, or adult child is suffering from both their own illness and stigma. Other parents say they are not as discouraged as they were before they found out what their child actually struggled with. No matter how you have chosen to view your situation, I’m sure you can relate to Melanie Jimenez.