Issues for Families Dealing with a Mental Illness
I am a parent of a 45-year-old son, who lives with bi-polar or manic depression and have learned some lessons in the “school of hard knocks” that I would like to pass on to you. Mental illness does challenge a family and their relationships in some of the following issues:
*Persons have been told that they have failed as parents with their loved ones, who have a mental Illness. Yet their illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, is a biological-based brain disorder or disease. It is not caused by poor parenting.
*Parents feel terrible when they lose control of what is said at their child or loved one because of the behavior. Parents feel terrible, but have the option to apologize, whether they accept it or not. The relief comes in letting go of guilt and frustration in apologizing.
*Family members are tired and worn out because of loved ones with challenges and need to take care of themselves first. As caregivers or advocate we need to be healthy ourselves.
*One of the hardest to do is to let go of our expressed or unexpressed expectations for our loved ones such as college, career, friends they choose and where they live, etc.
Mike Rinkin: Executive Director, Compassion Ministries Inc.