Trying to play catch up here...
What is your family like?
I'm one of lots of kids. I like hanging out with them but only get to see them once a week, apart from my half brother who I've only met a handful of times, I'm the oldest. My parents are completely different stories, there's a lot of MH stuff and other serious issues there.
Getting to see my siblings is the highlight of my week.
Is mental health something you feel you can talk to your family about?
Not really... The only way I would be able to talk to my family about this would be I think with my siblings but maybe in like a subtle way otherwise they wouldn't understand. My brother who is 17 is a bit different, I can talk to him about it a little bit and vice versa, sometimes.
I think with parents they also kind of get this idea that they always know what's best for you and they kind of keep pushing their idea onto you even if it's wrong. Like I have a friend whose parents would not stop bugging her about getting off medication even though she needed them for her bipolar disorder, and they were doing it because they genuinely thought it would be best for her.
My dad gives me someone to hold on for. I also feel pleasure hanging out with him which doesn't happen much so it means a lot. But I also worry a lot about my dad because he is really sick, I feel selfish having mh issues when he has so many physical complications.
I avoid getting dad involved due to some of that. I just try and spend 1 day a week with him.
3. What do you think is the role your family plays in your own mental health? How can you involve them in the recovery process?
So true @DirtWitch. Families can be an amazing support. However people can also experience guilt or fear of burdening them. In addition, everyone is human and super supportive families might not be entirely supportive all the time.
Involving them in the recovery process is tricky particularly if they have a hard time understanding what you are going through. Trying to explain your feelings in a way they might be able to understand is a good place to start I think. Maybe updating them on what's been going on and if you feel like you have made some progress. Asking them to encourage you to do things that might help your mental health Eg going for walks, getting out of the house etc.
Hmm.... without like saying too much about it I think, well actually I know, stuff with my parents are the reason I struggle with my mental health. So I can't really involve them, it's pratically impossible anyway, eek. The way I can involve my family is spending as much time with my siblings as I can because it does help me.
@redhead Honestly sometimes I think the best way a family member can help with your recovery might not just be fully disclosing everything to them. I think just by spending time with them and taking your mind off it for a while, and to experience that feeling where you love someone deeply instead of feeling anxious or sad for once can be therapeutic in it of itself.
I'll sometimes ask my mom for cat pics when I'm feeling down (I don't tell her how I'm feeling because I don't really feel like going through all that), and we engage in some cat-related banter and it really does make me feel better.
I think my family plays a very big role in my mental health. Probably the biggest out of all the people/contributing factors in my life, especially my mum. They mean well, and I know that they love me, but I'm super sensitive and sometimes that's just hard for them to understand...
I've tried not to involve them in the recovery process, simply because it's something I really wanted to be able to do on my own. But lately I've been able to involve them more simply by being honest about when things are troubling me, and they've been doing their part to show more acceptance and support.
Being able to communicate openly and respectfully, and to receive that in return has been integral.
My freedom is an agreement with myself. It's an acceptance and love for who I am that isn't dependent on performance or the will of other people - Renee Yohe
I have no idea. Since I'm not too open or comfortable discussing with them it just means that when I'm around them I need to hide what I'm feeling which for one burns me out pretty quickly and when you're doing it everyday is fucking hard.
I guess they could help by making more opportunities for me to hang out with them NOT in front of the TV because I love hanging out with them and it makes me less isolated and lonely.
I'm loving the discussion we're having here! It's a really good blend of getting to know each other and some really great tips and insights.
Onwards to our next question!
How can you normalise talking about mental health with your family?