Note: Video length 40:53 and emotional.
Note: Video length 40:53 and emotional.
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.
What would you do if you had a son who was contemplating suicide? Would you panic? Would you get depressed and give up? Would you seek help? In many cases, families experience a host of emotions when they learn a loved one is contemplating suicide. Some panic, some give up and get depressed, and others seek help. Some families do all of these things and go through cycles of emotions. All this week we have been learning from the stories of families who have volunteered to share their stories, experiences, and thoughts with us. Although this is our final story, I encourage you to share with others who may feel supported by knowing that they are not alone. Lets meet Tina.
Suicide. Sometimes that word alone is enough to provoke a sea of emotions in many of us. Either we’ve known someone with thoughts of suicide, lost a loved one to suicide, know a friend who lost someone to suicide, or hear about it daily in the news. Either way, the word itself holds so much meaning, so much emotion, so much hopelessness. The word itself is powerful enough to silence an entire room. The word has always held a haunting foundation for me. Even as a therapist I have trouble conceptualizing it, talking about it, and dealing with it. How about you?
Do you know a college student or young adult who suffers from anxiety? Anxiety has become one of the most frequent complaints of both mental health and medical patients. It is something most of us experience on a daily basis and might suffer from more than we care to admit. Anxiety can creep up on us in the middle of a joyful event, on our way to work, on our way home after work, during rush hour, during grocery shopping, or even during a date-night with your hubby. Sadly, anxiety has no particular schedule. It comes and it goes when it pleases.
What comes to mind when you think of a therapist? Do you think of someone who wears glasses, sits behind a desk, answers phone calls, and sees patients all day? If so, the field of mental health is not doing a good job at giving you a realistic view of who we are. Therapists hold so many titles, roles, and take on multiple responsibilities. For many people, a therapist is someone who talks about problems, thoughts, worries, and feelings. But that’s not all some of them do.
Do you have a sibling with a severe or untreated mental illness? Do you know someone who does?Today we’re going to listen to the story of Sandra Laing, the younger sister of a woman who suffered from a horrible history and severe mental illness. She currently lives in the UK and shares her story and educates us about her personal experience with what some might call “trauma.”
Do you have a personal story involving mental illness? What about a personal story of disappointment, discouragement, or changes you weren’t ready for? I’m sure we could all relate to that. But for many of us, it is difficult to imagine the life a family member has to live when their loved one is suffering from severe mental illness.
Do you know someone characterized by pervasive mood change or instability? Do you have or know a relationship that changes like a chameleon minute to minute, hour to hour, or day by day? If so, you are among the millions of people who deal with Borderline Personality Disorder. About 1.6% of individuals experience this illness and there are tons of people who suffer from BPD but are misdiagnosed or un-diagnosed. A large percentage of individuals are often misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder.
Do you or a loved one take prescription sleep medications or what are known as sleep aids? If so, you or your loved one are among the millions of people who do in today’s society. This is an issue that has proven to be very significant for all of us. According to a recent report in the New York Times (2013), the FDA is conducting tests using a driving simulator in clinical trials to test the effect of sleep drugs on behavior. Evidence suggests sleep aids like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata remain in the system far longer than once thought. Many are waking in the morning still under the influence of these drugs and perhaps unable to operate their vehicles in a safe manner.