08-09-2017 01:09 PM
From Monday, 11 Sep – Friday, 15 Sep we are opening the floor to you to ask whatever you want about how you can respond when someone tells you they aren't okay.
We all know the importance of asking someone if they are okay - as carers many of us make sure we check in with our loved ones regularly. But sometimes the response can leave us wondering what we can say to 'fix things'.
Throughout the week, you can share your tips and strategies on how you respond to a loved one who shares they aren't okay. What have been the challenges? What has worked and what hasn't?
If you're not quite sure how to have these sometimes difficult conversations, we're also here to offer advice and support.
For more tips read our blog 'Five tips for responding to someone who isn't okay'
@Shaz51 - I saw you requested a notification reminder about this discussion, so here it is
11-09-2017 07:59 AM
11-09-2017 12:19 PM
Thanks for kicking off this week's Q&A session.
What resonated with me was your line about 'don't tell me to engage with mindfulness' - it seems like this is one of the go-to lines for someone who is trying to suggest solutions to someone going through a difficult time. Although mindfulness does show to be effective and people are well intentioned, we hear it a lot as a 'solution' (along with - 'you should get some exercise' and 'you should get out of the house' I hear those quite a bit too).
You haven't asked a question in your post, so I wasn't sure if you were asking a question to us, or sharing your experience and an example of what NOT to suggest to someone.
Please clarify though if you have a question for us or other members.
11-09-2017 12:36 PM
I did want some advice as to how to respond.
I strongly believe that we can live well in spite of my husband's diagnosis, I do not feel that all is hopeless.
11-09-2017 12:41 PM
11-09-2017 07:02 PM
I think that at the heart of my concerns is that the mental health challenges our loved ones face are complex and I think when they are not OK we sometimes are not equipped to help if the answer is NO. Often their problems need professional help,far beyond our capablilites, not necessarily hospitalisation, not necessarily a med tweakage, sometimes it is therapy, some disorders are helped by family education, some are not (although I believe having individual psych education so we understand our loved ones disorders is always helpful).
I see the role of a friend different to that of a spouse. As a partner we are on the front line and I know I have to go with gut feeling. I let the treating team know if I have concerns. Mr Darcy uses a lot of energy to be "normal" in public and will not tell anyone but me if he is not ok; he crashes when we come home. Only when he gets really bad will he tell the pdoc that he is not travelling well.
It saddens me when Mr Darcy is not OK, I cannot love him back to mental health. I know that some of my responses are likely unhealthy, although I do my best not so show expressed emotion. I keep reminding him there is hope, that there is a place for him in life, we just need to find where that is and that there is no hurry for this to happen, that it takes a while for the brain to heal after psychiatric trauma. I believe these to be true but I know he sees things as being futile.
I want to be able to instil hope but I know this cannot be forced.
11-09-2017 07:44 PM
I am getting used to signalling with body language ... just so so ... or pull a face ... often I dont want to go into a great explanation or pull someone else's mood down.
I am trying to use less words, a light touch on the arm ... etc ...
11-09-2017 08:11 PM
Finding it hard to put my thoughts/ feelings into words but I agree with and can relate to most of what @Darcy says above.
I feel completly ill equipped to help my darling when she is not well. I have also been frustrated by her treating teams unwillingness to engage with me and include me as part of the solution. I am most grateful though that over the last 6 months she has been opening up to me more rather than shut me out... even when that has resulted in me taking her back to hospital when she didnt want to go.
It also saddens me that I can not love my darling back to health, I have often felt like a failure when my expressions of love have not been enough 😔
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