How to deal with Mental Problems
No one ever chooses to be mentally ill... Never!
Understanding is the key to dealing with mental problems of family and friends. It is more than sentiment. It has healing qualities that can keep minor upsets from becoming worse, and help mentally sick people recover.
There are two kinds of understanding. The first kind is sympathetic understanding as you make allowances because the person is sick and you know that she can't help her sickness even though what she does may be disturbing.
There is also rational understanding -- an understanding of what's behind mental problems, why troubled people behave the way they do. This kind of understanding helps you to keep things in perspective and puts you in a reasonable frame of mind to deal with the troubled person -- to help him rather than fight him.
The first step in understanding the troubled person is to realize that her disturbing behavior or problem behavior may be more painful to her than to anyone else. Then, also recognize that troublesome behavior without apparent cause may be the effect of an emotional illness rather than a fault of character ... that troublesome people are people in trouble.
Here are several instances of disturbing behavior which tell us a person is in emotional trouble:
- belligerence - has a continuous "chip" on the shoulder, argues or quarrels at the slightest excuse.
- excessive moodiness - spells of "the blues" or "feeling down in the dumps"; feeling a great deal of the time that "nothing is worthwhile or really matters."
- exaggerated worry - continuous anxiety about nothing at all, or entirely out of proportion to the cause.
- selfishness and greediness - lack of consideration of the needs of others; a "what's in it for me attitude" about most everything.
- helplessness and dependency - a tendency to let others carry the burden; difficulty in making decisions.
- poor emotional control - exaggerated emotional outbursts out of proportion to the cause, and at inappropriate times.
- day-dreaming and fantasy - spending a good part of the time imagining "how things could be," rather than dealing with them the way they are.
- hypochondria - worrying a great deal of the time about minor physical ailments; experiencing imaginary symptoms of illness.
How to give Helpful Understanding
- Let the person know you are truly interested and care with a friendly attitude.
- Be a good listener with little interruption.
- Try to help out with some practical problems which relieves the emotional pressure and puts her in a better frame of mind to deal with difficulties.
- Read literature dealing with specific mental and emotional problems.
- Get the person help from a mental health professional.