One of the reasons why most family members do not try and open up their feelings is due to the fear of getting an unwanted response. It is where they build a negative idea of people’s unexpected reactions. Yes, family members understand the frustration of having a mental illness. But unfortunately, there is nothing much they can do about it. And on our part, it is also devastating to see our loved one suffer in pain. We do not want them to feel they are alone in the battle. Thus, we need to acknowledge the importance of assisting them with their mental and emotional needs. Here are some tips we can do to ensure that our loved ones can feel comfortable enough to open up to us.
Tip #1: We Have To Show Them That We Care
This one is pretty much obvious. Often, our loved ones with mental health issues break down and feel devastated when they think we are not there for them. Their thoughts are a bit exaggerated that they somehow misinterpret our actions as those that do not show any concern for them. Sometimes, though we know it is their mental state that causes that mentality, we feel hurt. To avoid that misunderstanding, we should tell ourselves that our loved ones need us more than ever. It is vital that we care about them significantly, even without the assurance of getting it back. Because at their most devastating moments in life, we need to show them that they matter more than anyone else.
Tip #2: Do Not Show Visible Signs Of Negative Emotions
Dealing with family members who have mental illness can be frustrating than anyone can think of. That is because sometimes, even if how much we show and explain to them that all we want is to help, they will continuously shut us off. At that point, we might feel a little angry or annoyed. Understandably, our intentions are pure but some family members will have a hard time dealing with other people because things are too overwhelming for them. That is why, when trying to help, we must not show negative emotions. We must never sigh, frown, smirk, or show any gestures and facial expressions that might represent a negative meaning. We should never make them feel that we are not interested in listening to their emotional crisis. We should never talk to them as if they are stupid.
Tip #3: Never Remind Them That Their Situation Could Get Worse
It is incredibly unhelpful if we constantly tell or remind our loved ones that their mental health issues could worsen. No, it is not true that pushing people to their emotional and mental limits can help them adjust. In fact, it only leads to worsening their cases. All they can think about is how sad, hopeless, and exhausted they are. It is all about their negative emotions. So when we continuously bring up new matters that can trigger their mental and emotional response, they tend to collapse. It will not give them positive thinking and will eventually feel guilty about their situation. Reminding them that they are in a bad health condition will only make them not want to talk about the illness.
Tip #4: Never Relate Their Emotions To Our Experience
Sometimes, when trying to help family members with their emotional problems, we tend to share our experiences. Perhaps that is because we believe their feelings are relatable. We think that whatever it is they are going through, we already managed to experience something like it. But telling our loved ones that they should not feel the way they are supposed to feel just because we already experienced it is bullshit. We have no right to compare their struggles to ours – unless we share the same mental health issues. Mental illness can manifest extreme symptoms compared to other behavioral problems. Aside from that, we need to realize that the whole situation is about our loved ones’ inability to handle their mental and emotional issues. We must never use the situation to validate the relatable experience to turn the attention to us. It is our loved ones who need support so we don’t have to include any of our issues into the matter.
All this time that we are trying to help our loved ones with their mental and emotional struggle, most of us are doing it wrong. From start to the end of this article, we know we are guilty of doing the opposite of these helpful tips. Understandably, the reason for that is because we are not used to looking at mental health from a more in-depth perspective, so we believe less of it. But realizing that our method is reversible can give us a chance to correct the mistakes we usually do in terms of helping the people we love.