How To Deal With Someone Else’s Mental Illness

A long, bloody title I know. Didn’t know quite how to succinctly describe this post, except by entitling it ‘How To Deal With Someone Else’s Mental Illness’ because that is exactly what I’m going to talk about. Anyway…
Everyone, everyday is surrounded by people suffering with mental health issues. That’s a part of life. 1 in 4 suffer with depression in their lifetime. That’s a crazy statistic. Think about it, 8 children out of a typical class will experience it. It’s crap for them, as one of ‘them’, I’m the first to admit it. However, since entering adult mental health, and meeting new friends outside of that anyway in the past few months, I’ve been surrounded by people who also have very deep mental health issues. Dealing with that, whether you have them yourself or not is really bloody hard.
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1. Look After Yourself
Caring for someone, even just being friends with someone who has mental health problems can really take it’s toll. To be the best, most capable person for your loved one (friend, relative, partner, etc), you need to make sure that you are okay. If that means treating yourself a little, or having that piece of cake, make sure you’re okay – as that is just as important. 
2. Cut Yourself Slack
Mental health can be really bloody hard hitting. Someone calling you repeatedly, whilst you’re in the shower and then messaging you saying that they’ve cut themselves is NOT YOUR FAULT. To be honest, they would have probably done it anyway, or they had probably done it before they’d even called you. You cannot blame yourself. You can only do your best, well done for doing even that!
3. Be Careful
Sometimes, mental health issues can almost be contagious. Sounds silly, doesn’t it?! But if one person is, say, depressed and you’re susceptible to it, then it can lead to a very vicious cycle. Be strong.  Know when a situation is getting out of hand, or isn’t quite right and say no.
4. Don’t Get Involved If You Can’t
As soon as you get involved with someone with mental health problems, you need to make sure you’re committed. If it’s romantically, then you need to ensure that you are going to be able to stick with that person through thick and thin. Even if it’s platonic. Mental health is hard, but stringing someone along is harder. Obviously, things happen, that’s life. But if you know you cannot stick around, be very honest and don’t get involved. 
5. Respect Your Space
Everyone needs their own space. Personally, I can get too attached to a situation that it almost becomes claustrophobic. So, remember to have your own personal limits as it not only protects you but stops others from taking liberties. ~~This could be said to anything in life~~
6. Know When Professionals Are Needed
9/10 you reading this post will not be health professionals. You’ll just be someone concerned about your loved one and trying your hardest to help them. The most important thing to know is you can’t solve it. You can try to reduce the stress, get them cups of tea, maybe even a lovely custard cream – but you cannot stop mental illness. Thus, you need to look out for your loved ones triggers and make a judgment as to whether they need IMMEDIATE HELP or even just referring them to the GP.  
**If their condition is critical, suicidal, or just very worrying, please call 999. You can also contact the Samaritans on 08457 909090 24 hours a day or Mind‘s infoline on 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm)**
If you need help and support, you can email me (megrrees@gmail.com) or tweet me @megrrees.
Megan xxxx
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