More than several times, I've had people walk into my office and ask me why this is happening to their brother, sister, daughter, uncle, mother, again when they've had a good week/month/year.
Mental health is an uphill battle. People are allowed to have good days mixed in with their bad day. Those battling mental health issues work incredibly hard to hang on to good days. However, it is difficult for our loved ones to understand the harsh realities of constantly struggling with mood disorders and mental illness.
Sometimes, we begin to believe that in order to conquer a mood disorder, we must be pleasant and strong every day. This is not reality. This is not a reality for anybody. While it would be nice to believe this is possible, we can't fool ourselves into thinking this is going to happen. When our loved ones begin to expect that we can snap out of "bad days" because we just had good ones, we're setting up an invalidating environment. In turn, this may exacerbate the situation.
Visit the link below for a wonderful picture depicting the struggle:
As caregivers, it can be hard and frustrating. Thus, we can be supportive by:
- Educate yourself
- Have realistic expectations
- Take care of yourself
- Respect limits
- Talk about what is helpful