It’s no surprise that we are feeling overwhelmed with all the wars going on in the world, the surge of mental illness among our youth, loneliness among the elderly, and global warming to name a few, we have to shift our mindset to being kind, and practicing gratitude in order to “survive!”
Mental Illness and What I’ve Discovered
People don’t normally talk about mental illness within their own family but since I’ve become open about my situation, I realize that nearly everyone knows someone, or has a family member, suffering from a mental illness.
When I realized how mental illness in a loved one can change your life, I asked: “Why Me?” It throws you of course and now I spend my time learning as much as I can about schizophrenia, a disease that afflicts 2.8 million adults in the U.S. This is not what I was planning at this stage of my life.
Not only is my son suffering from delusions and voices in his head, but I’m suffering from not being able to get through to him that he needs medication and help. If you’re not careful, stress can take over and we all know that stress is the root cause of so many health issues.
I find it difficult to focus on writing my second memoir as well as blogging. This post has been in draft mode for several months until today, when I said, “Enough! get moving and publish it!”
Who knows, I may be able to help someone who is going through the same problems as I am.
I have some links below that have been extremely helpful to me and maybe you or someone else you can share these with.
Where Can I Get Help on Mental Illness?
In case you are not familiar with ways to get help, I want to give you a valuable book, podcast and links that have enabled me to understand more about mental illness.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has become my life saver. Our monthly support group helps me and other parents share the crises, traumas and occasional positive stories going on with our adult children. Our NAMI group leader has become my mentor and pillar when I need help.
I feel like I’ve been studying a new subject in college in order to understand schizophrenia and learn effective ways to speak to my son. Books such as: I’m not sick: I don’t need help, talk about the LEAP method. Listening to podcasts like the one run by 3 moms of schizophrenic sons: 3 Moms in the Trenches on mental illness, has given me insight into what to expect.
Finally, for those of you who live in California, we have a new plan for schizophrenics called Care Court.
“CARE Court connects a person struggling with untreated mental illness – and often also substance use challenges – with a court-ordered Care Plan for up to 24 months. Each plan is managed by a care team in the community and can include clinically prescribed, individualized interventions with several supportive services, medication, and a housing plan. The client-centered approach also includes a public defender and supporter to help make self-directed care decisions in addition to their full clinical team.”
Practicing gratitude and kindness has saved me from negative thoughts.
Self-care, a new buzzword, is one of those important elements in taking care of yourself when you have to take care of a loved one with a mental illness. My way is to exercise, and swimming and weight training consistently allows my mind to rest.
Here is a list of ideas that I have taken to handle my stress
- Exercise, exercise, exercise daily. Find something you can stick with and enjoy.
- Join a support group. In my case, I joined NAMI, and we meet once a month to share our problems and seek help. They offer many educational zooms with professionals.
- Join a spiritual or religious community. In my case, I’ve joined a spiritual center where I get a boost of positivity every Sunday, and have made several new friends.
- Practice Gratitude daily. I’m a huge fan of Rhonda Byrne’s books and follow her “Law of Attraction,” and her MAGIC book for daily gratitude journaling.
- Travel and reward yourself. In my case, I need to live my life, and travel always gives me joy and a fresh perspective.
Have a wonderful 2024
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