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Create a Life Worth Living
Brookhaven Retreat Blog - For inspiration, growth & a fresh perspective.
Families are unique. Each family has its quirks and idiosyncrasies, and no family is perfect. The most important aspect of family is that you are there to support and love each other through all of life's circumstances. However, sometimes dysfunction is a weed that hides among the flowers, quietly killing off what makes the family bond so beautiful.
When we grow up in a certain kind of environment, it seems normal. For that reason, it may be difficult to figure out if your family is healthy or unhealthy. The goal is not to create an idyllic picture like what you see on TV. Your main objective should be to recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy characteristics and to address any dysfunction so that you can improve your relationship with your family. With that in mind, here's are some of the features that characterize a healthy family versus an unhealthy family.
Characteristics of Healthy Family Relationships
Families are the most basic social unit. Within our families, we learn the skills that make us successful at school, work and in all different kinds of social interactions. All families are different. Some are loud and boisterous, making jokes and picking on each other affectionately. Others are quiet and subdued, content to sit in silence in each other's presence or have quiet, meaningful conversations. However, no matter what your family looks like, there are a few characteristics that make a family healthy. These are the six C's of a healthy family unit:
- Caring: Caring families encourage each other toward success. They're not afraid to show affection through words or deeds.
- Consistency: Families make themselves available and work for each other's good. Whenever possible, they help each other out and share responsibilities. They also keep promises they make to each other.
- Communication: This is the foundation of any good relationship, especially families. Healthy families enjoy sharing positive news and tidbits about their lives. However, they're also able to address issues or hurts constructively.
- Coping skills: Crisis is a part of life. Healthy families use their collective coping skills and grow stronger together when forced to face adversity.
- Core beliefs: Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and values. However, healthy family units generally share the same core beliefs. These positive values give them a sense of belonging and peace.
- Common interests: Healthy families enjoy spending time together. Despite the individual personalities of each member, they share common interests and have fun and laugh together.
Signs That You May Be Experiencing Unhealthy Family Relationships
If you come from an unhealthy family, you may not even realize it. After all, over time, you get used to the status quo. You may have noticed that your family doesn't treat each other the same way as your friends' families, but you may have chalked that up to different personalities. An unhealthy family unit, though, impacts how you view yourself and the world around you and can play a negative role in your mental health and self-esteem.
Dysfunction in family relationships can be caused by a number of different factors — unresolved conflict, misbehavior, abuse and more. Whatever the cause, there are a few things that characterize unhealthy family relationships, including:
- Poor communication: As we said before, communication is crucial to the family unit. Whether it's passive aggressive comments, angry and explosive fights or families that avoid communicating altogether, poor communication leads to misunderstanding and hurt.
- Lack of empathy: Your family should be a place you run to for solace, where you're welcomed with compassion and understanding. However, in unhealthy families, instead of empathy, there is anger and judgment.
- Perfectionism: Healthy families understand that there's no such thing as perfection in people. However, surprisingly, many unhealthy families have a dysfunctional need to be or appear perfect. This perfectionism can manifest in keeping up false appearances or having unreasonable expectations of perfection on their children's, or parent's, behavior.
- Lack of boundaries and control: Accepting boundaries means you respect someone as an individual with their own distinct thoughts and ideas. Some families, though, refuse to accept these difference and instead seek to control the other family members. Lack of boundaries and control can manifest in manipulative behavior or barging into situations inappropriately.
- Excessive criticism: There is a difference between encouraging a family member to improve and always finding fault. Excessive criticism means that no matter how hard you try, the other members of your family never find anything good in your behavior or actions.
- Fear and abuse: Families are supposed to be a safe place. When a member of the family is abusive, this creates an environment of fear. You may not feel safe being yourself, or you may try to get away because you're always afraid of the other person's actions. This is a red flag indicating that there is an unhealthy family dynamic.
Addressing Underlying Issues
In unhealthy families, the dysfunctional characteristics that define them are left unaddressed and thus never resolved. However, to improve your family relationships and take steps toward becoming healthier, these underlying issues should be acknowledged and talked through. If you and your family decide to work through some of the unhealthy aspects of your relationships, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- You cannot change the past, so don't let it control your present.
- You can't change people or control their actions, you can only control your own reactions.
- Protect your own well-being, and be willing to move on if a relationship is unhealthy and unchanging.
At the end of the day, your success and happiness are in your own hands. The dysfunction of your past doesn't have to dampen your future. If your family refuses to discuss the unhealthy aspects of your relationships, then it may be time to move on from trying to address those underlying issues.
The most effective way to heal is to lead a full and fulfilling life and to create a family of your own with healthy bonds. You can forgive your family while at the same time recognizing their dysfunction and establishing healthy boundaries to protect yourself.
Most people have heard of depression and have a basic understanding of what it is. Yet when it sneaks into a marriage, some spouses have a difficult time recognizing that their husband or wife is depressed. That's because depression doesn't always look the same. After all, people don't generally walk around saying "I feel sad and hopeless." Everyone is unique, which means your spouse may display the symptoms of this disorder in different ways.
Common Signs of Depression in Your Spouse
As the most common mental disorder in the United States, the stigma around depression has grown less in recent years. However, most people still feel the need to put on a brave face and hide what's going on inside. In a marriage, signs of depression may manifest as part of their relationship with you. To find out if your husband or wife is one of the almost seven percent of adults who have experienced a depressive episode at least once in their life, here are some of the signs to look out for:
- Loss of interest in things that once brought pleasure: Unfortunately, this doesn't just mean a loss of interest in hobbies or activities. Your spouse could actually lose pleasure in their relationship with you. That doesn't mean she doesn't love you. Engaging with another person and meeting their needs requires effort and energy she may be unable to muster up. One of the early signs of depression you may notice is your spouse spending more time on their phone, surfing the web or watching TV, as these are activities that require minimal effort or interaction.
- Change in sleep patterns: A more obvious sign that your spouse is depressed may be that their sleep patterns begin to change. They may have difficulty falling asleep or insomnia that keeps her up most of the night. You might notice them leaving the bedroom to watch TV or walk around the house. However, depression can also manifest in excessive sleeping as the disorder can cause fatigue and lack of energy.
- Eating changes: Another place depression can reveal itself is at mealtime. Changes in eating can go either way, causing your spouse to gain or lose excessive amounts of weight. You may notice your spouse overeating, usually in an attempt to cope with the symptoms of depression. Yet the disorder can also lead him or her to lose interest in food or struggle with digestive issues that make eating difficult.
- Negativity: This side effect of depression may be hurtful. You might be excited or optimistic about something only to be met with a "downer" response. When your husband or wife says these things, it may feel calculated and cruel. However, they're not trying to make life difficult. These utterances stem from their own depressive thoughts.
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts: One of the most serious effects of depression is that it can cause people to think about or attempt self-harm. If your husband or wife has mentioned that they think about dying or that he or she doesn't think it matters if they live or die, take these statements seriously. This is usually an indication that their depression requires immediate professional intervention.
How to Help When Your Spouse Has Depression
The above signs are just a few indications to look out for. Other signs could include irritability or drastic changes in mood, difficulty concentrating, excessive anxiety, a loss of self-confidence and feelings of guilt. If your husband or wife is showing signs of depression, you may be tempted to take responsibility for your loved one's recovery. This likely won't help them, and it could put a huge strain on yourself and your relationship.
Think of your job as more one of providing compassionate support, which includes:
- Listening without judgment: While you are not directly responsible for your spouse's recovery, you can offer support and provide a listening ear. Even if you've never experienced the hardships they're living through, listen actively and empathetically as they explain their reality. This can help to reduce some of the feelings of isolation your spouse is likely experiencing, which can be helpful in lessening the overall effects of their depression.
- Responding to emergency situations like suicide attempts: Sometimes, a bit of space can be needed for your spouse to work through their depression. However, if you witness any signs of self-harm or if your loved one makes comments about suicide, take those signals seriously. Get help quickly by contacting a suicide hotline, mental health professional or 911 if necessary.
- Being sure to care for yourself: Addressing depression can be difficult for loved ones as well. Offer your support and assistance as much as possible, but remember to take care of yourself. Be sure you get enough sleep and take the time to do the things you enjoy. Stress and burnout can affect how much you're able to support your spouse. It can also be helpful to set healthy boundaries — offer comfort and reassurance for your spouse, but try not to take on your husband or wife's feelings as your own.
- Encouraging your spouse to get the help they need: Depression can be extremely difficult to overcome without the help of a professional. Try doing a little bit of research to determine some available options, and discuss them with your spouse — but be careful to avoid pressuring them. If they are not ready to take part in therapy or in a specific program, ask if there is someone in their life that they would be comfortable talking to. Remind them that seeking outside help to get better is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Brookhaven Retreat Can Help Women With Depression
If you believe your wife has severe depression, then we can help. Brookhaven Retreat is a residential women-only mental health facility located in the beautiful Tennessee foothills. In this safe and comfortable environment, your spouse can get the help she needs to find positive ways to cope with her depression and find her way to longlasting recovery. We invite you to contact us to find out more about the compassionate services offered at Brookhaven Retreat.
Plan, prepare, create and give to help ensure wellness before and after a family gathering.
Gatherings roll smoothly when there is a conversation and entertainment plan like games, fun videos, a news board etc.
For a much better chance of success, have a plan A and plan B in case things suddenly go quiet and awkward.
Design a task list for your guests who want to help. They can scatter cozy throws, pretty pillows, flowers and candles.
A good hostess does best when she accepts help and has all hands busy under her direction.
Create a music playlist in advance.
Always have at least one exciting Mocktail. Read on for a couple of recipe ideas.
The best guest greets the host and thanks her before leaving and never wanders around areas without permission.
Be generous with compliments and accept any with grace.
Gatherings end positively when all assist with the clean-up.
A person remembers how you make them feel!
Opening up about your mental health problems can feel extremely risky. You never know how people will react, even those in your own family. Ideally, when your family knows you have a mental illness, they will act as a source of support, offering encouragement and understanding. However, opening up to them may be a daunting task. Many people are afraid that their loved ones will judge them, treat them differently or feel uncomfortable around them. This stress leads many to keep their mental health issues a closely held secret.
If you decide to open up to your family and tell them about your mental health disorder, disclosing the truth will help those who love you to fully understand what you are struggling with. This honesty will give them the opportunity to be a source of support giving you trusted people you can talk to about your feelings. It will also help you to face your condition honestly and push past denial so that you can seek the treatment you need.
Tips for Talking About Your Mental Illness
Even if you're ready to open up about your mental illness with your family, you may not know how. There is no way to predict how they'll react, and you may be afraid. But here are some tips that could smooth the way for healthy discussion:
- Be Selective: Unfortunately, not every member of your family will be able to offer the emotional support you need. If there are those who lack this skill or ability, it doesn't mean they don't love you, but you may want to wait to speak with them openly until you feel ready. It's better to share with those you feel closest to first and whose support you feel will be conducive to recovery.
- Concrete Examples: When you share, give concrete examples of how your mental illness affects you. For instance, if you have depression, share how the disorder has impacted your daily life.
- Give Suggestions on How Family Can Support You: Even though your family loves you, they may not know what they can specifically do to help. Feel free to offer suggestions on how they can provide support, such as encouraging you to attend your appointments or take your medication.
- You Don't Have to Share Everything: You can decide ahead of time which aspects of your experience you wish to share. If they ask questions that make you uncomfortable, you can politely decline to answer.
- Set Boundaries: Your family may be brimming with advice, both helpful and unhelpful - Afterall, they love you and want to help. You can make it clear ahead of time that you prefer that they hear you out without making suggestions.
- Keep Things Positive: Be sure to share good things that you've learned in spite of or even through this experience. You can also give the conversation a hopeful tone as you look forward to the successful treatment of your disorder.
- Provide Educational Information: Your family may not know very much about the specifics of your mental illness. It may be a good idea to have resources available which explain about the disorder.
Don't Be Afraid to Seek Help
Having a support system is essential to successfully managing mental illness. If you find that you can't handle your symptoms, even with family support, it's okay to seek help. Brookhaven Retreat offers a safe environment where women can get the help they need to face their mental illnesses. If you would like more information about our treatment center, browse our website or contact us today.
When someone has a mental illness, the repercussions of the disease extend beyond their own life, often impacting those closest to them. The families of these individuals can be severely affected by mental health disorders, emotionally, mentally and even physically. Whether it be concerned parents coping with grief or guilt, a spouse struggling to make it through each day and not knowing how to help or even small children who are confused by the change in their parent or sibling, the impact of mental illness on families shouldn't be downplayed.
Although mental health issues can have devastating effects on every member of the family, there is hope. Many mental illnesses are very treatable. And as families get the information they need as well as outside support to cope with the disease's effects, healing can come. However, families should first confront how their loved one's mental illness has negatively impacted family dynamics. By doing so, they can grieve and move forward with realistic expectations.
How Mental Health Issues Can Impact Families
From the smallest member of the family to the oldest, when one person in the family unit struggles with mental illness, everyone feels its effects. Those most affected are usually the parents, spouse or significant other and children of those with the disorder, but other members of the family can feel its impact as well. There are quite a few different ways an individual's mental health issues can hit families, including:
- Emotional Upheaval: After a loved one is diagnosed, a variety of powerful emotions can run through every member of the family. Parents often experience guilt, wondering if their child's illness is due to bad parenting. Siblings and children often struggle with understanding how to help. Anger is another reaction family members may experience, as mental illness can make family members feel out of control and powerless to help.
- Stress: As members of the family feel the impact of their loved one's mental illness, they might begin to worry as to when the symptoms will strike next or what the future holds for their affected loved one. This often causes extreme stress and can even make them feel like they have to walk on eggshells constantly.
- Confusion: Children especially experience quite a bit of confusion when they witness changes to the behavior of their parent or loved one brought about by mental illness. If they don't understand the cause of this change, their confusion can give way to fear or even anger. It's essential that they have an outlet to express how they feel.
- Feelings of Uncertainty: Mental health issues can erode a family's sense of well-being as they watch their loved one suffer from their illness. Because of this and the resulting uncertainty of the situation, family members might begin distancing themselves from their loved one or even experiencing negative physical and emotional symptoms themselves.
- Feelings of Neglect: When a family cares for a loved one with a mental health issue, other members of the family like small children or siblings sometimes end up feeling neglected. Because the care of the individual with the illness becomes all-consuming, these other family members are left feeling that their needs or feelings don't matter.
- Grief: As the full implications of a loved one's mental illness become apparent, family members may experience a deep sense of grief. Most hope that once their loved one gets help, they'll be able to return to life as it was before, but they are worried about the changes to come.
Seeking Professional Help Can Benefit Everyone
Loving and caring for someone with a mental illness can take a huge toll on a family. That's why it's essential to find support. If you're feeling the impact of your loved one's mental health issue, it's okay to ask for help. There are many treatment programs available that not only address issues for those diagnosed with a mental illness, but that also include family therapy components.
Brookhaven Retreat is a women-only inpatient mental health treatment center that addresses the impact mental health issues can have both on the individual and on their families. Our programs offer a family therapy component that allows individuals diagnosed with a mental illness to work with their loved ones to overcome the impact their symptoms have had on everyone involved in their lives, especially those closest to them. If you would like to learn more, please contact us today.
For a lot of people, loving and helping are synonymous. We want to help the people we love no matter what the situation. In some cases, we use help as a sign of our love and commitment to make life easier or more pleasurable for the people we care about.
When it comes to addiction and certain mental health issues, however, helping can really be hurting.
What Is an Enabler?
An enabler is someone who encourages or enables poor decisions or self-destructive behavior that only serves to perpetuate a problem.
Enablers make things possible, but in the context of addiction or mental health issues, this is not helpful. Enablers make it possible for addicts, for example, to continue their addiction. They might do this by helping to hide the evidence that there is a problem or making excuses for the person so they do not lose their job.
An enabler also often picks up the slack so someone can function with the addiction or mental health issue instead of seeking treatment. Enablers may also encourage people to accept their condition rather than recognizing that they need help. Sometimes enablers even encourage, inadvertently, behaviors that are dangerous or self-destructive.
How to Stop Enabling Someone You Love
Recognizing that you are an enabler is the first step in ending this behavior. Some signs that you are an enabler include:
- Always putting someone else’s needs before your own
- Ignoring or condoning unacceptable behavior
- Lying to cover up someone else’s mistakes or bad behavior
- Offering help when it is not asked for nor appreciated
- Assuaging someone’s anger to maintain status quo in your relationship
It can be easy to excuse your enabling behaviors as expressions of your love. We want to take care of the people around us, but it is important to recognize that enabling makes you complicit in an addiction or other harmful behavior patterns that will cause long-term damage.
When you stop enabling your loved ones, you do not stop loving them. Instead, you recognize that your efforts to protect them from pain or other consequences are better applied to assisting them in a long-term recovery.
Tips to Stop Enabling Someone You Love
In order to stop enabling an addict, someone with a mental health issue or any other issue that they may need to see help for you will need to take a step back and examine your own behaviors and how they contribute to a long term solution – Do they help or hinder long term well-being?
Consequences are meant to change behaviors. If you keep your loved one from facing the consequences of bad behavior, you are enabling that behavior.
It can be hard to change your own enabling habits, but here are some tips:
- Never lie about what you or someone else has done.
- Do not pay bills that are not your responsibility.
- Stop trying to solve someone else’s problems.
- Clearly communicate your own feelings regardless of the consequences.
- Do not make excuses for other people’s behavior.
- Allow consequences to befall people who make mistakes.
- Do not take responsibility for someone else’s actions.
- Stop protecting your loved one’s feelings from the truth.
Enabling is a type of addiction in itself. Your enabling behaviors started long ago and developed over time. Like any habit, you found some positive results from your behaviors, so you repeated them. You may consider yourself the type of person who just solves everyone’s problems or protects your loved ones, and it can be hard to make changes to your own behavior to stop enabling.
Not Enabling Does Not Mean Abandonment
Since most enablers see their behavior as expressions of their love, it can be hard to withdraw from these activities. How do you leave someone you love to face the consequences when you know you have the resources to help them, even if it’s only a temporary fix? You are constantly trying to show how much you care and abandoning someone you love would send the opposite message.
When you stop enabling someone, you do not abandon them. You are still there in their lives loving and supporting them for the good choices they make. You just stop accepting and perpetuating the bad behavior, and you express your lack of acceptance by withdrawing your support for those activities. Allowing your loved one to face the consequences of their actions will force them to change bad behaviors, and that is a better expression of your love than enabling.
Brookhaven Retreat Can Help
Mental health conditions and addiction is a serious issue that requires professional help to overcome. You may be able to protect your loved one from pain in the short term, but eventually, the addiction will become too big for either of you to handle. The best way to show your love for someone with an addiction is to let them recognize they have a problem and get them the help they need.
Brookhaven Retreat can help you change your enabling behavior and assist your loved one in ending an addiction or coping with a mental health condition. Addiction or mental health and enabling can be two intertwined problems that are best dealt with simultaneously.
We understand how difficult it is to change your behaviors. Contact Brookhaven today to learn more about the programs we provide, so you and your loved ones can get back to living a healthy life together.
It is an exciting day when you see your daughter go off to college with accolades of successful high school completion behind her and the rest of the world in front. For even the most gifted student, though, college brings many changes. Academics are harder and require more self-discipline, and most college freshmen are living away from home for the first time. Your daughter no longer has you to monitor her curfew or make sure she gets her homework done. She is now responsible for herself in many ways.
College life is full of exploration and discovery. Students decide for themselves how they want to live, what foods they will eat, and who they will socialize with. Drinking is usually part of the college environment to some extent.
Signs of Binge-Drinking in College Students
It is much harder to monitor your daughter’s activities while she is at college. You have to trust that you taught her well and she is capable of making smart decisions in this new environment. Peer pressure is still a big part of life for college students, though, and binge-drinking is a common trend on many college campuses.
Binge-drinking can be a huge health risk, so keeping an eye out for these signs could tell you when it is time to intervene:
- Skipping classes
- Becoming distant or aloof
- Frequent mood swings
- Constantly asking for money for unexplained expenses
- Extreme weight loss or other extreme physical changes
These are signs that drinking may be more than just a fun social activity for your daughter. College is a place to experiment with different behaviors and lifestyles, but binge-drinking is one that can have lasting consequences. If your daughter is showing signs that her drinking may be interfering with her academic work, changing her personality, or affecting her physical health, she may need your help.
What to Do About Drinking Problems in College Students
Your daughter could develop an addiction to alcohol in a relatively short time. Even weekly drinking is dangerous when it involves binge-drinking. If an addiction develops, she will need your help to recognize the problem and seek treatment.
Here are some tips for handling your daughter’s binge drinking problem:
- Encourage communication – You raised a teenager, so you know how important communication can be. If your daughter is developing a drinking problem at college, you will see the signs more easily if you maintain open lines of communication. Make it easy for your daughter to talk to you about her college life. Try to be receptive and non-judgmental about the decisions she is making. Instead of instructing her, try asking her what she plans to do about any difficult situation she encounters.
- Suggest campus counseling - With open lines of communication, you can talk with your daughter about binge-drinking and how it might be affecting her. Early intervention by a professional counselor can be key in ending the addiction. Most college campuses are staffed with trained counselors for students who get into trouble with drugs and alcohol. The counseling is accessible to college students and is usually convenient and inexpensive.
- Find other activities to enjoy – It’s easy to go along with the crowd when you don’t have anything else to do. It may seem like all college students are drinking, but that is not true. College campuses are full of activities, most of which do not include alcohol. Help your daughter explore her interests and join in activities she may enjoy. She could find some like-minded friends and end up spending her time engaged in healthy active, creative, or service-oriented activities.
If none of these tactics work, and your daughter continues binge-drinking at college, you may need to seek professional help outside of the campus setting. Sometimes a serious addiction requires a physical separation from the people and places associated with drinking. There are plenty of inpatient rehab centers that are experienced in treating alcohol addictions that could help her overcome her addiction to alcohol. Brookhaven Retreat is a women only treatment center specializing in mental health issues and addiction rehabilitation. Contact Brookhaven today for more information.
Maintaining a healthy loving relationship with someone who suffers from anxiety can be challenging. Anxiety is one of those conditions that can show up unexpectedly and affect your life in ways you did not anticipate. Loving someone with anxiety means there are a lot of inconsistencies in your life. You may not feel that you can fully count on your partner to be there and fulfill the daily responsibilities of life. When you love someone with anxiety, you often end up taking on more and allowing your partner to opt out of activities that may cause them anxiety.
People with anxiety may face challenges with the following:
- Employment and finances - Anxiety can make it difficult to work and keep a job. People with anxiety may struggle with interactions with bosses and co-workers, or the physical work environment may be too taxing for them. Large spaces, loud noises or crowds could trigger anxiety attacks, making it impossible to work consistently. Without a steady job, someone with anxiety cannot meet financial obligations or participate as an equal partner, financially, in a relationship.
- Social life - Social activities can be difficult for people with anxiety. They may avoid social gatherings, or schedule them and then have to back out at the last minute.
- Family activities - It can be difficult for someone with anxiety to participate in certain activities, depending on what triggers their anxiety. They cannot always be responsible for certain family activities because their anxiety may prevent them from being able to follow through or participate in certain activities.
- Emotional well-being - Anxiety can lead to feelings of guilt or depression. These emotional issues compound the anxiety and can also be accompanied by reduced self-esteem and a poor self-image.
When you love someone with anxiety, you may sometimes find yourself carrying more responsibility. Anxiety can be debilitating and can make it hard for people who suffer from it to participate in certain activities, no matter how much they may want to.
How to Love Someone Who Suffers From an Anxiety Disorder
What can you do when you love someone who suffers from anxiety?
- Stay supportive - Being supportive of someone with an anxiety disorder means not trying to rationalize what appear to be irrational fears. If your partner could see the situation differently, without fear, they would. No amount of explaining is going to change that. Instead, try asking them what they need to feel comfortable or reduce their anxiety. It is okay to acknowledge that you do not understand what they’re feeling and ask for guidance to help them deal with an anxiety attack.
- Learn about anxiety - Taking an interest in what your partner is going through will help them feel supported. Learn about anxiety and how your partner’s anxiety works. When you know their triggers, you can better help your partner cope with them. You will also be more sensitive to suggestions that force them to face those anxieties. Anxiety is a complex issue that can have different causes and triggers. In its extreme, it can be debilitating and lead to even more serious issues like depression. Learning about anxiety will help you remember that it is a disorder, not a choice.
- Take care of yourself - Mental disorders are exhausting for everyone, be sure you take the time to take care of your own mental and physical well-being. Continue to participate in social activities you enjoy, even when your partner needs to opt out. Schedule activities for yourself, either solo or with friends. Create a support system for yourself of friends or family you can talk to when you are feeling overwhelmed. Set boundaries and stick to them, so you do not become over-extended physically, mentally, or emotionally
Seeking Treatment for Anxiety
Treatment options are available for anxiety, both in the form of inpatient and outpatient treatment. Don’t assume your loved one’s anxiety will go away on its own. More often, when left untreated, anxiety increases and develops into other issues. Anxiety and depression are closely associated.
When your loved one’s anxiety becomes debilitating and has an impact on their daily life, it may be time to seek treatment. Outpatient counseling can be useful and provide relief from anxiety. Your loved one would meet with a mental health professional on a regular basis to work on the anxiety. This process can take time, but as long as there is consistent counseling, progress can be made. The counselor will continually assess the situation and provide guidance for continued treatment or other therapy options.
Another option for anxiety treatment is inpatient therapy. In a residential setting, treatment and becoming well is a primary focus, and in many cases can be more effective. At Brookhaven Retreat, the setting for residential treatment is part of the therapy. The beautiful, private, comforting surroundings at this women only mental health retreat help calm the nerves and heal the mind. Experienced mental health professionals guide the individualized program for anxiety treatment and administer therapy with compassion and expertise. Contact Brookhaven Retreat today to learn more about how we can help your loved one resolve an anxiety disorder.
Love is a great feeling, but loving someone with depression can sometimes be difficult. People with depression suffer from what seems like some invisible demon, and you cannot protect them no matter what you try. Listening to someone you love constantly express negative feelings about themselves or even allude to harming themselves can tear your heart out, but what do you do?
When you are in love with someone who suffers from depression, they feel extremely fragile. You want to protect them and help relieve them of the pain, but trying to find a way to do so can often see impossible.
Loving someone with depression can take a toll on you and on your relationship. You savor the moments when you get to experience your love in their best light — relaxed and happy. When the depression is present, they can seem distant and like nothing you do makes them happy. How can you love someone with depression?
How to Love Someone With Depression
Developing and maintaining a healthy relationship is a constant challenge for anyone, but depression adds another dimension. Here are some tips for keeping yourself healthy and your relationship balanced when you love someone with depression:
- Stay positive - A cheery disposition will not cure your partner’s depression, but it may help sustain your spirits and maintain your relationship. Focus on the positive qualities your partner has, especially when they are not as evident because of the depression. Instead of letting your partner’s depression dampen your spirits, set an example of positivity.
- Be compassionate - Depression is an illness that requires treatment like any other. Your partner cannot just cheer up. Depression is more than just a bad mood. Try to remember that your partner feels worse about the depression than you do and probably more frustrated that they can’t just shake it.
- Be supportive - You can’t cure your partner’s depression. All you can do is try to comfort them while they are going through it. Think of it like a cold. If your partner had a bad cold, you might make them chicken soup and wrap them in a warm blanket. These efforts would show your support, although they would not cure the cold. Ask your partner what they need and how you can comfort them, recognizing that you will not end the depression. Just remember, that your support is not a substitute for professional help if necessary.
- Find balance - The key to a healthy relationship is balancing the needs of each partner with the needs of the relationship. When you are in a relationship with someone with depression, their needs may seem more important than yours. It is okay to tip the balance of the relationship toward a partner in need, but this cannot be a long-term condition. You have to find ways to get your own needs met in the relationship, or you will feel resentful, and the relationship will suffer.
This advice for loving someone with depression can help save your relationship and keep yourself healthy. Allowing the depression to infect your relationship would be counterproductive to your desire to help your partner.
Helping a Partner With Depression Seek Help
Depression is a serious mental health diagnosis that may require professional treatment. Approaching the topic of seeking help with your partner may be a delicate subject, though. There are many negative stigmas attached to mental health issues and seeking treatment for them. Someone with depression likely already feels bad about themselves, and the suggestion that they seek help may be met with anger, guilt and shame.
When you suggest professional treatment, do so with love and compassion. Reinforcing the idea that depression is a disease may help. If your partner had a broken bone, you would take them to the hospital for treatment. Just because the part of them that is not working right isn’t visible doesn’t mean medical treatment isn’t necessary.
One option for depression treatment is outpatient therapy. A counselor or other mental health professional could meet with your partner regularly to work on their depression. This type of treatment is usually painless and performed in an office. It consists of conversations and mental exercises designed to relieve the depression and get your partner back to enjoying life again.
Contact Brookhaven Retreat for Help With Depression
For more focused treatment for depression, you could opt for inpatient treatment. This is where your partner takes time to focus on getting well and developing strategies for lifelong mental wellness. During their stay, they will receive different types of therapy — behavioral, experiential, etc. — to help resolve the depression.
Brookhaven Retreat is a women only inpatient depression treatment program. Brookhaven Retreat offers a comprehensive approach to treating depression in a beautiful setting with privacy and comfortable surroundings. Contact Brookhaven today to learn more about how we can care for your loved one, help her overcome her depression, and return home with a new outlook.
With the flood of new drugs available, it can be hard to understand the dangers and know the signs. Everyone knows street drugs are dangerous — and illegal. However, many prescription and even over-the-counter drugs can be dangerous when not used according to dosing instructions and for the medical conditions for which they were intended.
If you suspect someone you love is addicted to drugs or using them in a way they aren’t intended for, it’s crucial to seek help as soon as possible.
Signs of Drug Use
Knowing how to tell if someone is on drugs is important in recognizing and potentially intervening in a dangerous situation. There are certain physical drug addiction symptoms you can look for, such as:
- Extreme feelings of euphoria or relaxation — the “high”
- Increase in blood pressure and heart rate
- Unexplained vomiting
You might notice some other changes in your loved one as well, including:
- Poor School or Work Performance. Drug addiction turns your focus away from the important things in your life and makes drugs the center of your universe. Someone suffering from addiction spends more and more time getting high and recovering. Work and school will noticeably suffer from a lack of attention.
- Borrowing or Asking for Money. Young adults, especially college students, tend to be short on cash anyway, but drug addiction will intensify that financial need. Addiction means an ever-increasing need to get drugs at a complete disregard for the budget. Someone becomes so focused on getting the drugs they crave that they will spend their rent money or food budget for the week if they have to.
- Unexplained Injuries. People often engage in risky behaviors when they are under the influence of drugs, and sometimes they get hurt. For example, an addict may not even remember how they got a bruise or cut, and they are certainly not going to want to explain it if she does. As drug use escalates, the number of unexplained injuries may, too.
- Severe Mood Swings. Everyone has their ups and downs, but drug addicts experience violent mood swings. You may notice your loved one is elated one day and nearly catatonic the next. He or she may become irritable and pugnacious very quickly. The high moods in addicts can most likely be attributed to the drugs. When your loved one is craving another dose, their mood will most likely be depressed or grumpy.
- Unusual Social Behavior. People who are addicted to drugs tend to be ashamed of their behavior, although they may be powerless to stop it. They may withdraw from social situations and spend more time alone than usual. They may also become secretive, and hide their activities and whereabouts from you and others who care about them. It’s possible they’ll pull away from their usual friends and begin spending time with new people who are part of their new drug culture as well.
These are some warning signs that someone you love may be addicted to drugs. Often, a person addicted to drugs doesn’t even realize the addiction and does not believe that they have a problem. Be assured, though, that any type of drug abuse or addiction is a problem, and the sooner it is addressed the more successful recovery will be.
How to Help a Loved One Who Is Using Drugs
When someone you love is taking drugs, you want to help in any way you can — but it can be difficult to know where to begin. You might begin by talking about the unusual behaviors you see and offering your love and acceptance no matter what the problem is.
Getting someone you care about to admit that they have an addiction is the first step, and seeking help is the second. When your loved one is ready to seek professional help for their addictions and any co-occurring mental health issues, contacting an inpatient addiction treatment center may be their best option for recovery.
Brookhaven Retreat is a mental health and addiction treatment center for women. Contact us today to start your loved one on the path to recovery and healing.