I was talking to a friend recently and we were talking about Thanksgiving and if we would see our families. She was in the mental health field and had an uncle who was mentally ill. My friend vented because that family member never seemed to take his pills or go to therapy.
“You take your pills and go to therapy. You’re in recovery,” she said . “How hard could it be?”
I let my friend vent then reminded her that it wasn’t easy for me. I detailed my struggles before I went to a psych hospital, then after: the ECT treatments, the medication changes, the therapy, road to recovery. Plus, her uncle and I have two different diagnoses.
She blinked tears away and said you’re right, which doesn’t happen often.
“I forgot,” she said. “I’m used to the you in recovery. and it seems easy now. I know better.”
She continued on about how her uncle hasn’t really come to terms with his mental illness and that he comes from a different generation where talking or having mental illness was taboo.
That makes sense. Therapy probably scares him to death. And he probably doesn’t grasp the concept of recovery in terms of mental illness, I didn’t at first.
It’s easy to get frustrated at someone with a mental illness, but you have to remember: they have a mental illness, and everyone’s different. They might not have the ability or capacity to understand their illness or recovery. You should never compare them to someone else, especially to someone who doesn’t have an illness.
Also, the holidays can stress everyone out. It also can trigger those with a mental health condition so please be patient and know that it can be triggering and bring out certain symptoms.