So you have just found out that someone you love has mental health problems. How do you make life easier for both of you?
Well let me start by telling a story. it’s a tragic story that I’ve heard too many times over the years and the reason for this article. We will use an imaginary character called Sarah who is struggling in silence with mental health problems.
Sarah’s mental health problems – A hard fall from grace
Sarah has recently broken up with her partner. and life is getting on top of her. She works hard and provides for her children. They live in a nice house, but the housework is becoming difficult and it’s obvious that she needs some help. Her parents take her to one side and advise her to sell up and move home so they can look after her.
Realising something is wrong with the way she is thinking Sarah decides to listen to the family and for a while thing are getting better.
Does someone you love has mental health problems?
The real problems begin when the parents realise that they were not ready for Sarah’s behavioural problems. They have manifested because she is suffering manic depression and terrible anxiety. She is very quick to cause arguments and before too long Mum and Dad think she is out of control. They have a particularly bad argument and Sarah is told to leave.
Sarah starts to feel alone and that nobody understands her. Situations spiral and Sarah’s life takes a massive turn for the worse. She starts drinking far more than usual to dull the senses and says it’s just to help her sleep. She falls out with people at work because of panic attacks and mood swings. After a few warnings Sarah ends up losing her job. Before Sarah realises what is happening, she has lost her house, the support of her family and her only means of income.
Chronically depressed and homeless she feels real despair and the terrible thought occurs to her would the children be better off without her.
Sarah is now suicidal, how has it come to this?
Families and friends can do more
People fall into despair without seeing the warning signs. As a nation we don’t talk about Mental Health enough and because of this we don’t know how to help the people closest too us when they go into decline. Instead we distance ourselves from the afflicted and this makes the problem a million times worse.
Look out for these signs of depression in your loved ones
- have low confidence
- lose interest in activities they normal enjoy
- lose their appetite
- get tired easily
- be tearful, nervous or irritable
- At worst they may feel suicidal.
Signs of anxiety in loved ones
- have difficulty concentrating
- be irritable
- try to avoid certain situations
- appear pale and tense
- be easily startled by everyday sounds.
Panic attacks are usually a sign of anxiety. Someone having a panic attack experiences a sudden and intense sensation of fear. They may breathe rapidly, sweat, feel very hot or cold, feel sick or feel faint.
If you notice these symptoms in someone you care about it is very important to get them treated as though it was any other medical condition, but this is where another hurdle is thrown in the mix.
The wait time for patients to see a Psychiatrist is often 2-3 years. In the current NHS set up only a Psychiatrist can give a diagnosis to someone with a mental disorder so many patients go undiagnosed for years and more importantly they are left wondering what is happening to them and things deteriorate quickly.
Far too many people take their own life in the UK because of undiagnosed mental health problems and It has become my mission in life to spread the word. You are not alone. I have been through the pits of hell with my disorder but with proper therapy and medication you can live a full and meaningful life.
If you would like some help talking to a loved one, or maybe you want to know what to do if someone you love has mental health problems please feel free to contact me. You will find my Littlebroken page on Facebook and many more interseting articles on my blog at Littlebroken.co.uk
What to do if someone you love has mental health problems