Thursday, 31 December 2015

Mental Health

While I am on a role, I might as well write about what it is like when those who know you have had a mental health condition for a while, and what happens to one's relationships with them.  Perhaps you have had had one or two episodes, acting crazy, and likely causing mayhem and sometimes destruction.  My experience is that the longer you have a mental illness, the more lunacy you have, and the fewer friends you keep.  This falls into many categories, the ones that give up because you have not made any effort to contact them, you have ignored their efforts to communicate, so after many attempts, and some do try many times they eventually give up. 

Another category is the one where your friend has stood by you and been there at times though not all the time, and has not experienced a significant mental breakdown in their presence.  When they do eventually see a significant mental event and the mentally ill person directs his illness at them.  They back off, this is beyond anything they have seen before, or if they have seen it before, it is beyond what they believe to be in their best interests to deal with from their perspective.  They have families or a business, or work, a mortgage, a wife or girlfriend, whatever, the cost is too high.  The insanity shown is not worth the friendship, and they say enough is enough.  I never blame these people; they have a good reason for cutting off the friendship.  Your hope is that once the doctors find the answer to controlling the primary cause of your mental illness, that these friendships will mend over time.
The worst category is the one where a person feels he/she had done so much for this mentally ill friend that he/she is somehow a god that deserves recognition for being there when a friend needed them most.  His/her narcissism catches up with him/her and he/she thinks they know more than the psychiatrists do.  He/she feels a growing resentment towards the mentally ill person.  This person starts to feel the mentally ill person is faking it and that they are enjoying their life.  This type of person begins not to notice the illness and when he/she does their empathy disappears, and their sympathy becomes nonexistent.  Eventually, a fracas overwhelms this kind of person, and they snap and lash out with hateful comments and actions.

The last category are the ones that stick by you, they understand you are ill and no matter what they are there if you need them.  They know when to back off and when you are in trouble.  They get the least recognition from the mentally ill person, yet they deserve the most.

I cannot say whether this is the same for others who suffer from mental illness, but it has been my experience.  Dealing with a person with a mental illness is not an easy business.  It takes a certain kind of person to understand what to do when the mentally ill person, someone like me, goes mental.  Has a manic attack.  It does happen, it will happen, I cannot control it, and I wish I could. It ruins your life it destroys everything it touches.  Yes, medication can control it, and yes, it works, but I will tell you now, it does not mean it goes away.  One has to fight hard, focus continuously, and never give up.  It is like any other disease, it can be controlled and beaten but it bloody difficult to achieve.

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