Understanding someone with a mental illness/es is a hard one. It takes a lifetime for someone to understand someone else's condition I would say. You don't just meet someone and the person with the condition tells you about their struggles and you say you understand what they're going through. Unless you've been in similar situations such as hospital admissions and similar diagnoses but even that there's not full understanding in my opinion. My normal friends got it tough. But I'm going to say I have it tougher. I have been through a lot, and although there's no point in dwelling in the past, the past has been journeyed and there's no way I can change that. What I can change is the way I think and the way I react to certain things. Like when someone tells me to 'Chin up' and 'Snap out of it', especially when I'm in an episode, it simply doesn't help. On normal days I just shrug it off and don't care about explaining my situation. But on those terrible days I just want to be understood and not be told those unhelpful statements said above. So what do my good friends say when I'm in an manic episode?
1. "We'll go through this hell together"
No one wants to be alone. No one wants to be misunderstood and for me having mental illnesses it's easy to feel lonely in your own mind and time. I learnt that recovering from mental illnesses has nothing to do with strength but it includes having a good routine of sleep, a good diet, exercise, and a healthy support network such as love from family and friends.
2. "I love you. I care about you."
How often have I have been in an episode and received a lot of love and care from my support network? A lot. Whether that's in a form of written text on card or over Facebook msg, it can mean a lot to me. For someone to just say that, it touches me on a very deep level. I think it's something that gets missed telling to loved ones everyday and it can be taken for granted for.
3. "Are you ok? What happened?"
Instead of jumping to quick assumptions about what happened, good friends ask these questions to confirm everything is ok and they truly want to know what actually happened. People can normally be quick to judge (even I can be a victim of this).
So there you have it. I have compiled three not-so-detailed points about what good friends say when I'm in a manic episode. I can think of more but I'll leave it to next time.
Mental Health Resources
3847 1058 A wonderful community mental health house which supports all different kinds of mental health support. There are scheduled activities every day for each month - wide range of different activities include yoga,
1800 737 732 24/7 National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence & Counselling Service. I have called this service several times for the rape trauma I faced in the past. This is a very wonderful service, and although I have only used the telephone counselling service several times, the qualified professionals were always very compassionate and helpful. It helps to have a pen and notebook ready before calling, as they tend to give good, practical tips on how to manage the problem you're having at the time. Highly recommend this service.
13 11 14 Lifeline - Available 24/7. I noticed the times I was in distress and called, the calls were confined to a maximum of half an hour or so. It's good to know someone who can listen. This is a free dial
Acute Care Team (24hr QLD Mental Health Support)
1300 642 255 (also known as 1300 MH CALL) - I use this service as an existing patient with the PAH Mental Health teams as I was an in-patient at the hospital. You have the option to speak with a Mental Health Clinician. I found the clinicians generally helpful. I have a long history with the hospital, and they can easily bring up my file - as long as I say who I am. Sometimes I use this line to check on my future appointments with the team.
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