• If you have a family member with Schizophrenia (formerly known as mental illness), remember these points:
  •  You cannot cure a mental disorder for a family member.
  •  Despite your efforts, symptoms may get worse, or may improve.
  • . If you feel much resentment, you are giving too much.
  • It is as hard for the individual to accept the disorder as it is for other family members.
  •  Acceptance of the disorder by all concerned may be helpful, but not necessary.
  • . A delusion will not go away by reasoning and therefore needs no discussion.
  • . You may learn something about yourself as you learn about a family member’s mental disorder.
  • Separate the person from the disorder. Love the person, even if you hate the disorder.
  • . Separate medication side effects from the disorder/person.

 

  •  It is not OK for you to be neglected. You have needs & wants too.
  •  Your chances of getting mental illness as a sibling or adult child of someone with NBD are 10-14%. If you are older than 30, they are negligible for schizophrenia.
  • . Your children’s chances are approximately 2-4%, compared to the general population of 1%.
  • . The illness of a family member is nothing to be ashamed of. Reality is that you may encounter discrimination from an apprehensive public.
  • . No one is to blame.
  •  Don’t forget your sense of humor.
  •  It may be necessary to renegotiate your emotional relationship.
  •  It may be necessary to revise your expectations.
  • . Success for each individual may be different.
  •  Acknowledge the remarkable courage your family member may show dealing with a mental disorder.
  • .Your family member is entitled to his own life journey, as you are.
  • . Survival-oriented response is often to shut down your emotional life. Resist this.
  • . Inability to talk about feelings may leave you stuck or frozen.
  •  The family relationships may be in disarray in the confusion around the mental disorder.
  •  Generally, those closest in sibling order and gender become emotionally enmeshed, while those further out become estranged.
  • . Grief issues for siblings are about what you had and lost. For adult children the issues are about what you never had.
  •  After denial, sadness, and anger comes acceptance. The addition of understanding yields compassion.
  • . The mental illnesses, like other diseases, are a part of the varied fabric of life.
  •  Shed neurotic suffering and embrace real suffering.
  • . The mental illnesses are not on a continuum with mental health. Mental illness is a biological brain disease.
  • . It is absurd to believe you may correct a physical illness such as diabetes, the schizophrenias, or manic-depression with talk, although addressing social complications may be helpful.
  • Symptoms may change over time while the underlying disorder remains.
  • . The disorder may be periodic, with times of improvement and deterioration, independent of your hopes or actions.


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