The Mental Health Flies: Talking to your mentally ill relative

Being an adult with a mental illness is very challenging. Mental health is challenging, navigating the mental health system is challenging. Mental illness can really interfere of you living we often forget this relative did not ask for this, it is kinda handed to them. They did not walk up and say ” Hey, today I am going to wake up and become mental ill and not be able to function.”

Truth is anyone can become dysfunctional and require help . When talking to a relative/friend-please show compassion. There is a lot of shame and embarrassment associated with mental illness eg. a loss of independence after having it, medication changes…not to mention people leaving in their life and facing discrimination. Walk a mile in their shoes, battling your own mind is exhausting.

Often there is a negative stereotype that mental ill patients are helpless. This is simply not true, they may need some time and assistance getting back on track, but never helpless. In fact some the strongest people I know have tough mental illness and own their own homes, have a career, kids, etc. YOUR relative is not their illness- so do not talk to them as if they are helpless babies, faking it etc. Talk to them normally, love them normally and understand if it was you…you want to be treated the same.

Mia V.

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