What comes to mind when you think of the words “safety plan” or “behavioral contract?” The word “contract” can sound a bit intimidating and “safety plan” could almost sound immature. But both are essential and basically mean the same thing. Either way, they are useful for individuals battling severe, untreated, or resistant (unable to be easily treated) mental health conditions. But they are most useful for children and adolescents.
Would you know what to expect during your first psychiatric evaluation? If you were accompanying a loved one, would you know what to do or say? Would you be able to offer the detailed information needed to help mental health professionals determine treatment needs? Most people would not. So lets discuss what a mental health evaluation is, what to expect, and what to bring.
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?
What do you know about the topic of self-forgiveness? Does the word seem idealistic and not realistic to you? Have you exercised forgiveness in your life before? The term “forgiveness” brings a host of feelings to the surface for many people.
How did you feel when your loved one was diagnosed with a severe mental illness such as borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder I, or schizophrenia? Did your entire worldview change? Were you depressed or anxious? If so, you are certainly not alone. I receive multiple emails and phone calls from parents, family members, or caregivers of individuals suffering from a severe or untreated mental illness. These contacts are not easy for me to hear, they are disturbing. But for that parent, family member, or caregiver, the situation has surpassed disturbance and become trauma.
I recently had a conversation with a representative of Bupa, a United Kingdom, Edinburgh based healthcare service. Our discussion was about caregivers and the challenges they face. They offered to write an article for Caregivers, Family, & Friends, and I said “yes.” Bupa offers us tips below on how to care for ourselves as caretakers of individuals who are ill.
“Bupa is an international healthcare group, we serve over 14-million customers in more than 190 countries. We offer personal and company-financed health insurance and medical subscription products, run hospitals, provide workplace health services, home healthcare, health assessments and chronic disease management services. We are also an international provider of nursing and residential care for elderly people.”
When have you fallen apart in your life? Was it when the family couldn’t get along? Was it when your divorce happened? Was it a mental health diagnosis? Was it job loss? Whatever the case, falling apart requires that we learn how to pick up the pieces of our soul and move forward. We may never move forward in total healing, but the right tools can push us in a better direction.
Do you know what an “emotional hangover” is? I “coined” this term in my personal life some years ago and defined it as:
being similar to a typical hangover, you remember certain details from the day before, you might feel guilty (even if you don’t have a real reason), your body may feel stressed or tired, and you would rather do nothing but rest. You feel emotionally drained, unenthusiastic about the day, sluggish, and depleted.
For most of us, we’ve had a few rainy days, but for the remainder of society, rainy days happen all the time. A lot of people tend to believe that depression is a passing emotion, something that cannot destroy the pace of one’s life. Families often 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,” individuals suffer in silence, alone until one day their illness becomes so apparent that it’s almost impossible to hide.