Mental health carries numerous stigmas, which makes it difficult to find accurate and accessible information about the challenges of managing this type of pathology from a family perspective. Living with a loved one who faces mental health problems can raise questions about how to help and how to lead as normal a life as possible, especially for those who must assume the role of “caregiver.”
In this coexistence, two types of challenges usually arise.
Firstly, there is the suffering experienced by family members, knowing that someone they love has a mental disorder and that their life will be affected by it. This can be considered a psychological "burden" for these people.
Second, there is the practical burden, which involves the daily challenges associated with physical care, medication administration, transportation, and daily routines.
In this article, we emphasize the difficulty of taking on so many burdens and share seven tips to help alleviate your mental load:
Obtaining information about the disorder helps reduce the negative feelings associated with the image we have of mental pathologies. Becoming familiar with the illness demonstrates support for the affected person and also prevents the distancing and aggression that may arise when there is a lack of understanding.
The family unit can be a positive factor in treatment. Transmitting a safe and communicative environment can be beneficial for both parties. As affected family members, you will find support in others and the disabled person will notice direct support. This way we can reduce the burden of guilt that usually appears in this type of cases.
It is not necessary to sacrifice our own lives to care for others, extremes are never good. If we are not well, we will not be able to help as we would like. Not overprotecting the patient will allow us to reduce unnecessary stress situations for oneself.
Avoiding stigmatizing those who suffer from mental illness is essential. Talking openly about feelings and seeking support in groups can help us overcome the social burden and make the patient feel understood.
Seeking support does not indicate a lack of love or concern. Using the tools we have at our disposal to make our lives easier is essential.
Maintaining an open dialogue with the affected person and finding common interests or talking about them will strengthen our connection and a good family environment.
It is crucial to remember that, as family members, we are not mental health professionals and that our main task is to maintain a loving relationship, not to fix the problem. Although mental pathologies require special attention, we must address them within normality and with the corresponding professional advice.