Helping a loved one who is experiencing a severe mental illness, especially someone who may not realize they are sick, is one of the greatest gifts you can give. For some, it may mean the difference between life and tragedy. ~ Treatment Advocacy Center
From the Treatment Advocacy Center blog (Oct. 27, 2014)
Before my brother got sick, really sick, I had started taking masters level psychology classes and what I learned has come in handy over the past few years. Even when he hasn’t wanted it, I’ve been able to help my sick brother. I’ve been able to help my sick family navigate the confusing, frightening, and very tumultuous seas that are mental illness.
That’s something I’ve realized, just now in this moment: serious mental illness doesn’t just impact the person who is sick, but it effects and infects those closest to that sick person, making them sick too, in a very real way.
Mental illness makes mothers cry. It makes siblings fight. It makes fathers afraid in their own homes, afraid of loved ones who refuse to keep psychiatrist appointments and who refuse to take meds.
Mental illness leaves pits in the stomachs of those who aren’t ill – those who listen to the delusions; who watch the abnormal behavior; those who care; those who want to heal every part of the broken brain that turns water into poison that twists memories into horrible misrepresentations of the truth.
Mental illness sucks.
It sucks the color and order from this beautiful intricate life of ours and replaces it with a black and white jigsaw puzzle missing dozens of very important pieces. In other words, mental illness is no fun at all. Did I mention that it sucks?
My brother is very sick right now. My parents are with him in his college town 10-hours away, taking turns in the ER while they wait for a bed in the psych unit.
We are lucky this is happening in Nevada, where the laws are more balanced and allow family members and concerned doctors provide treatment to people like my brother.
This is not the case in our county in California, where you have to commit a crime before they’ll take your severe mental illness seriously.
My poor parents are exhausted. My poor brother is chasing his tale around a cage of paranoia and anger and fear. And all I can do from here, hundreds of miles away is research treatment centers and blog and pray.
You know how we all want to cure cancer? Parkinsons? Lou Gehrig disease? Clearly there are lots of things we all want to cure. Well, I’d like to add one more to the list: can we please find a cure for mental illness too? Please.