Family members often have difficulty understanding the realities of mental health disorders and treatment. You can help your family by providing insight into your experiences and openly communicating your needs to them.
Educating family members is not always easy. However, your loved ones will benefit from having a deeper understanding of your struggles with mental health and how they can support your recovery. You can use the Mindfuli app to connect with a therapist or counselor who can help you overcome mental health and family issues.
Family Dynamics and Mental Health Recovery
You might feel lonely or judged if your family does not understand the complexities of mental health, and you are not alone. In many cases, loved ones do not know how to react to symptoms or treatments related to mental health. Finding ways to involve family members in recovery can provide motivation and help you continue making positive changes.
Many people in therapy experience the following issues with family members:
- Lack of communication
- Judgemental or blaming language
- Enabling behaviors
- Undiagnosed or unmanaged multigenerational mental health issues
Healthy relationships encourage and uplift. If you feel like your family members are reacting negatively or inhibiting your recovery, it can help to discuss your concerns with them. Your loved ones may not know their reactions or hurting you. In addition, they may not understand how much the disorder affects your everyday life. Informing them about the realities of your condition can give them essential insight.
How to Talk About Mental Health
It can be challenging to talk with family members about issues related to mental health. You might worry about being rejected or misunderstood. However, family support can make a significant difference in your recovery, and these conversations are essential.
According to MentalHealth.gov, “Talking to friends and family about mental health problems can be an opportunity to provide information, support, and guidance.” Educating yourself about your disorder and the side effects you experience will make it easier to explain to people you care about. Your therapist can also help you find educational resources that you can share with them.
When talking to your loved ones about your mental health, it can help to do the following:
- Have the conversation in a neutral location
- Bring educational and support resources
- Use objective instead of emotional language when discussing mental health and treatment
- Give your loved ones time and space to absorb the information they learn
Your family members might have very firm opinions on mental health and treatment. Sometimes it can take several in-depth discussions to help them fully understand the complexities of mental health. However, practicing patience and not expecting any particular response can help you cope with their reactions to your diagnosis and treatment choices. It is important to remember that no matter how they react to the discussion, their opinions do not define your recovery.
Families With Intergenerational Mental Health Issues
Sometimes multiple generations of a family struggle with mental health issues. Many disorders have a genetic component that predisposes you to certain conditions like major depression or bipolar disorder. It might be challenging to discuss your own symptoms and treatment if you have loved ones who live with mental health issues. You can talk with your therapist to determine the best way to approach the conversation.
Families that rally together to overcome challenges and support loved ones with mental health issues often have stronger relationships. You can benefit from opening up with your family and being vulnerable enough to share your experiences with them. Your therapist can also help you encourage healthy family dynamics.
The positive effects of a healthy family dynamic include:
- Stronger interpersonal connections
- Better communication
- Fewer conflicts and less tension
- Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
Explaining Mental Health to Children
Children, especially adolescents and teens, often blame themselves for negative experiences if they do not understand the context. In addition, children are incredibly observant and will notice any changes to your mood or behavior.
If you do not have a discussion with them explaining the situation, they may jump to conclusions. Emotional distress of this kind can cause them to develop their own mental health issues. Being open and honestly communicating your condition is often the best way to avoid potential problems.
Children growing up in a household where one or more parental figure experiences mental health issues can benefit from the following:
- Explanations for symptoms like anger, irritation, depression, anxiety, or extreme mood swings
- Being told that they are not responsible for the mental health issues
- Reassurances that they are loved and that the disorder does not affect positive feelings toward them
- A discussion on how to avoid mental health issues and the importance of open communication
Your child does not have to play an active role in your recovery. However, keeping them out of the loop will only increase their uncertainty and stress. Understanding what is happening with you can help them feel comfortable discussing their own mental health.
Family dynamics are often complicated, and mental health disorders can cause relationship issues and tension within a family unit. Help your family members come to terms with your condition by sharing the complexities of mental health and educating them using reliable resources. A therapist or counselor can walk you through the best way to approach your family. Tailoring your discussion to each family member will ensure they can take advantage of the education and resources you share with them. The Mindfuli app is an essential tool that connects you with trained mental health experts who can provide additional information. Find out more about our service by calling us today at 866-973-4415.