Friends & Family

I know a lot of what I write in this blog is about me – largely because, well, I only spend time inside my own head, so I find it hard to speak for others. I do know, however, that it is not just people who have mental illness who suffer – their friends and families often do, as well. While our heads may be going haywire and things aren’t working correctly, our loved ones often have even less idea what is going on with us. We act erratically, we do stupid or dangerous things, and we stop making sense. 

I haven’t been in that place, really, but I have some idea what it can be like to be outside looking in, helpless to really do much besides provide support. A lot of my friends have their own mental issues, and as familiar with them as I might be, I can’t truly know what is going on in their heads. So when they start to act strange, or do things that scare me, often there isn’t much I can do besides offer my support and see if there is anything they think I can do for them. I have a slight advantage given that I suffer from a mental illness myself, so I have some idea of the wackiness that must be occurring, but that isn’t a lot of comfort.

I wonder if there isn’t more I can do. Not necessarily for the people who are stuck with their mental issues – though I also want to help them – but maybe to help the friends and family who are stuck on the outside. I know that feeling of fear when a friend is talking about committing suicide; I know how terrible it feels when someone you love feels that they are worthless and unlovable. So I wonder if there is some way – maybe something I could write, since that is one of my strengths – to help get family and friends into a headspace where they can, if not understand what is going through their loved one’s head, then at least accept it and work with them to try to help. I’m not really sure what I can do – my mother has suggested maybe writing a pamphlet, something short and relatively succinct. That might be a way to work. I don’t know that my often snarky tone will always be appropriate, but maybe I could do something to assuage some fears and help everyone on both sides. 

I’m not really sure, though. Does anyone have any suggestions? Any resources they feel might be helpful for something like this? I am open to suggestions, because I don’t really know where to go with this. But I’m willing to find out.

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