Avoiding the situation of communicating with a mentally ill person might be the best solution if it were not for the circumstances that can make this communication necessary.
You can’t stop communicating with a relative or a loved one if they are in trouble. There may be a situation where you have to contact other people with mental health problems for some time. SOSSD wants to let you know that we are there for you.
How can one protect oneself in this communication from negative emotional consequences?
Identify clearly your strengths and resources, and assess whether they will be sufficient for you to communicate in this situation.
Mental illnesses manifest themselves differently in different people. There are people with whom only a qualified person can communicate. You can’t live and interact with people who are able to pose a real threat to a person’s life. Such patients are placed in special conditions and contact with them is possible only for a limited time and with certain protection measures.
In all other cases, communication with mental patients does not pose a threat to life, but is also stressful and energy-intensive.
Determine clearly how much time you can communicate with the person without serious loss of mental health, and to what extent you are able to guide their behavior. Depending on this, seek aftercare or other ways of dealing with everyday life situations.
Consult with a qualified person about a person’s mental illness.
All mental illnesses have their own specifics that you need to know about. You will get more information and extra ways to control the situation if a specialist tells you about a predicted illness, its course and other features.
You will also be warned about the unexpected things you need to be prepared for, and about your behavioral strategies that can help relieve many of your stressful moments. Sometimes these strategies may seem strange to us from a routine point of view, but they may be the most effective in dealing with people with mental health problems.
It is important to change your attitude towards the mentally ill.
The natural reaction that most people have when they start to get in contact with the mentally ill is shock and stress. Severe irritation can accompany such communication for quite some time. It is important to give yourself time to endure this stress.
Don’t give up on the help you can get from a qualified person during this difficult time. For you, this period can be more difficult than for a mentally ill relative with whom you have a relationship.
It is very important to treat the sick person properly. The very fact that he or she is behaving like this or doesn’t understand something is very annoying. Although this may be a consequence of the disease, not the evil will of the person.
It is very difficult to accept this fact, because we are used to requiring normal and correct behavior from a mentally ill person. Our irritation, although justified, takes a lot of effort and makes the situation much harder than it really is.
Find a way to fully accept inadequate behavior as a given, without evaluation. At the same time, you may well dislike it, but you can not treat a mentally ill person as a healthy person who behaves incorrectly.
If this attitude can be achieved, the situation becomes much easier.
A specialist’s explanation of the mental illness and a psychologist’s advice on how to rethink your attitude can help.