Good Days, Bad Days, and Everything in Between: Helping Families Understand the Behaviors of Mental Illness

Managing mental illness is not about instantaneous change. If you or a loved one has struggled with mental illness, you know that some days are better than others; what may work one day may not work the next. Some days may feel positive, hopeful and easier, while others may feel like a never-ending battle. All the while, you and your family are constantly trying to adapt to figure out what is best.

Sometimes, it can be hard to know what is best. Do you step in to help your loved one? Do you take a step back and wait for them to ask for help? How do you know if what you are doing is likely to cause more help than harm?

Family members may be unsure of their role, what they are supposed to do, or if what they are doing is effective. Expert advice and family support are essential aspects of assisting your loved one with a mental health condition. However, it can be challenging to navigate, especially in the early stages of the illness. It is important to understand the specific mental health condition that your family member is suffering from, and the best practices associated with managing the disorder. There are crucial roles that family and friends can play in supporting the person of concern.

What Does Mental Illness Look Like?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for those suffering from a mental illness. Treatment approaches, and recovery journeys vary depending upon the acuity and complexity of the illness(es) at hand. Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and other mental health disorders affect people differently. Often, symptoms of these disorders are confounding and misunderstood. 

It is essential to understand that mental illnesses are complex, especially if they co-occur with a substance use disorder.  For example, a person struggling with anxiety may feel severe symptoms for weeks or days and at other times, their symptoms may be more manageable. If they are abusing alcohol and other drugs it creates a more difficult diagnostic challenge. Is withdrawal from alcohol driving the anxiety and has that been the case for many years? or is the anxiety an antecedent of the drinking?

Someone struggling with a mental health condition may push their loved ones away or isolate themselves, not out of enmity, but as a coping mechanism. They may seem uninterested in things they once loved or have feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or anger. On other days, a person may feel like talking to someone about what they are going through or doing something out of their comfort zone. 

Symptoms of mental health disorders can also come in episodes where things can feel very bad for days, weeks, or months and then level out for a while until their symptoms reoccur. A person struggling with co-occurring disorders may also find it challenging to find balance on a daily basis because their substance abuse may be causing their mental illness to worsen, and vice versa. Understanding the need for professional support for the entire family system is the key to a successful outcome for all involved.

The Journey of Recovery 

Recovery is a long-term process. An individual’s recovery is supported through their relationships and a strong support network. Family members play a significant role in the recovery journey and experience both the positive experiences along with the difficult moments as well. 

Families are all looking toward the same goal but may not be under the same understanding of how to get there. For someone who has recently completed treatment, transitioning into recovery may not go as smoothly as planned. However, with the support of a treatment team and expert consulting, professionals can help you and your family find what works best according to your unique needs.

Your Role in Recovery

As a family member of someone who is in recovery, you want to be supportive. You want to be there for them through the good and bad. When somebody goes through treatment and recovery, they are not immediately healed. 

As a family member, it can be challenging not knowing how the next day will go, making sure that your loved one is okay, and understanding how to help them when they are not okay. Although you want to be there for them, it is essential to understand boundaries and when to step in. 

It is important to acknowledge the feelings of your family member. When you overstep boundaries, it can cause tension, hurt feelings, and distrust among everyone involved. Having expert help can assist families in finding the balance of support and space and help them learn how to maintain healthy communication and relationships. 

What Do Coaching Services Do?

As you and your loved ones navigate the complexities of mental health treatment, experts can help guide and support your family through the process. Recovery can be complex. Throughout the process, professional support will ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. 

An experienced recovery coach can come in with a result-based plan to ensure that everyone understands their role, makes progress toward results, and makes sure that everyone is equipped with the tools and support to do so. 

Mental illness affects people differently. Often, individuals are faced with emotional rollercoasters and mood swings that can be difficult to manage. Mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and many others can feel unpredictable at times, forcing individuals and their families to adapt to each daily situation constantly. One day, they may feel down, frustrated, upset, or fatigued; on others, they may feel happy, relaxed, or at ease. With the expert help and coaching services provided at Clere Consulting, families can receive the support they need to help them work toward their goals. An experienced recovery coach can come in with a result-based plan to ensure that family members are working towards the same goal, making progress, and are supported throughout the whole way. Mental health treatment and recovery are complex and take time and change. Clere Consulting is here to help navigate these complexities. To learn more, call (866) 384-8847.