Friday, 25 September 2015

'Fight for everything that person is entitled to' - A guest blog by Diane Wilson/Mum

I am the mother and carer of my beautiful daughter who is now, after nine years of suicide attempts, in recovery and living independently. When she first started overdosing I didn't know why she was doing it and she couldn't voice what had happened to her; the day she told me was when she had been admitted to a secure unit. There is always a reason/reasons why someone has a mental health problem but with love, patience, understanding and a lot of hard work on both sides, that person can get better.
Recovery is ongoing, but she is working hard for the life she is entitled to and I am very proud of her.
I was asked to do a guest post of 10 tips for carers/friends/relatives of someone who has mental health problems.
Note: These tips, are things that I use and that work for us, they might not work for everyone.

1. FIGHT - don't feel intimidated by mental health professionals; you are the one who best knows the person being cared for. Fight, if you have to, for everything that person is entitled to if it is not forthcoming.
2. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE - it is a tough journey. No matter how tough it gets, stay by that person.
3. PATIENCE - do not compare the person you care for with someone else if they seem to be getting better quicker. Mental health is individual, recovery takes time and they will get there.
4. UNDERSTANDING - once you know what you are both dealing with, show understanding by reading and researching everything you can on their diagnosis and talk to their team as to how you can best help and support that person.
5. BE INVOLVED - attend all the meetings with mental health professionals and the person you care for. It is your right.
6. ASK QUESTIONS - have the contact numbers for all of the mental health professionals involved in that person's care and ask questions; however silly you might think it is.
7. VALIDATE - validate how the person you care for is feeling, if they are crying don't dismiss it with 'aw cheer up.' Be there for them.
8. TALK - keep lines of communication open with the person you care for, take the time when they want to talk.
9. DISTRACTION - encourage the person to do any hobbies or interests that they had before their diagnosis, or do something new together.
10. TAKE TIME FOR YOU - all carers need 'me time' no matter how limited. Keep in touch with your friends and ask for help and support if you need it.

DO NOT GIVE UP.

If any of these help, them I'm glad I shared them.
By the way, before I go, my daughter is Aimee - I am the mother of the blogger, and felt proud when she asked me to write a guest post. I love you, Aimee.