One in every four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives. Mental illness doesn’t just involve those affected but also those close to them: their family and friends.
Let’s take a look at how mental illness also affects those you care about.
They can become exhausted
Fatigue doesn’t just affect the person dealing with mental illness. Their families and friends will likely get frustrated with trying to figure out what is happening to their loved one. When the mental illness manifests, it is not immediately recognizable. A shift in a person’s behaviour can be attributed to many factors like external conflict.
When the mood change persists it is anyone’s guess if it is mental illness, unless it is professionally diagnosed. And even if it is, friends and family may grow tired of trying to help or adjust with the unpredictability and burn themselves out.
They can feel confused and helpless
It doesn’t stop with being tired. Some friends or family are deeply affected by the mental illness and can feel helpless when they cannot make you happy. Fortunately, thanks to the power of the Internet and social media, those with mental illness can now make their thoughts and feelings more visible.
Writing out what they are going through isn’t just crucial to help them get through it, but to help their loved ones have some sense of understanding. Creating this visibility isn’t easy but it will lighten the burden for both parties.
They can misunderstand or be dismissive about it
The topic of mental illness has come a long way, but plenty of people still don’t believe in it entirely, or they simply don’t understand the complexities of it. In fact, men are much less likely to report depression according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There is a certain stigma people feel regarding mental illnesses like depression, particularly in men who have been known to suppress their feelings.
Friends, family, and especially coworkers or acquaintances may not realize what you’re going through and out of ignorance or as a defense mechanism be in denial. The next step may include them distancing themselves for many reasons.
They can distance themselves
When a loved one walks away it could mean many things, but not necessarily a negative one. It doesn’t always indicate abandonment though it seems like the most obvious answer. It could also imply, especially in a parent or elder sibling’s case, that they feel they have failed you. They could be suffering from emotional fatigue and need their own space to recharge.
Plenty of people dealing with a mental illness such as anxiety or depression also tend to push their loved ones away. While your loved ones do not want to leave, they may be forced to. However, if they truly care they would keep a safe distance and maintain a watchful eye.
They can also develop their own mental illness
The people in your life love and care for you. They try to understand your thoughts, share your feelings, and help you in times of need. And it is with this sacrifice they too can fall victim to mental illness.
Being mentally ill can lead to developing physical symptoms, and in contrast being physically ill may make one prone to developing a mental illness. When our families and friends become exhausted from helping deal with the illness, they can also develop some form of illness themselves. It is crucial that they don’t neglect their own well-being and help without compromising their own mental health.