Trying to understand mental illness

living with the problem of mental illness is complex wether it is

your own state of mind or that of a close friend or relative.

It is hard to cope with...very hard to cope with and just as hard to walk away


I have just been engaged in trying to make sense of 2 friend's problems....thinking

of ways to help ....the social workers and doctors have time and ability to do attend

to some of the aspects of help but the patient often takes on an allmighty superiority and finds excuses

for not taking medication and for turning a lie into a "little porky".

For instance my friend has been told not to make holiday arrangements...

Under the circumstances this is sound he goes from deeply dark in the world

that most of us never see...thank goodness to the level of up in the clouds where money

and energy levels have no boundary.

The details of this recent trip are suprising but real.

There are so many ways in which the human mind can endanger it's owner

It is just so alarming.

There needs to be more openeness, more help and more understanding of mental


Brian and Ron I appreciate that you both have been through a lot of torment?

Your insight and experiences are huge.

But not everyone who suthers will have a type of bi-pola and that is why I brought

this subject to this place on the SF.

Not everyone is brave enough to deal with their problems in the best way.

So here am I talking to you all about 2 people who are living together with different

illnesses and know that they are not getting adequate support.

One of them is escalating the angsuity of the other.

So the medication alone is not working as the surrounding relationship/s are

abbrasive to the illness.

So what am I saying?

I am saying that there is need for a one to one counciling service from

people who care. This needs to be daily for a

half an hour each day. A reassurance programme...A re directional programme.

The underlying problems need to be found, illiminated from the mind and the thoughts

moved forward.

I am certain that the NHS can or will not afford this type of help.

But salvation does not come from pills it comes from care, guidance and offering support to those

who feel alone and isolated with their problems.

As Brian has mentioned it is not always medical person but can be someone who is deicated to

respecting and loving others for what they are.

That is the foundation for a good carer.

Perhaps some of you can build a network of carers in France?

Just an idea.

Hi Barbara, Ron and I share a lot of views on this already. I always refused medication because I caused my own problems with a particular drug. It could have seen me sectioned for a very long time. Had a very kind and understanding college bursar not 'bailed me out' and taken personal responsibility for me then I may never have been given the 'right' help. I had just short of 20 years psychotherapy instead of medication. Not every week or so tightly scheduled as that but when I was on the way up or nearly at the bottom when down I saw him. When I was away in other countries he found me people to 'deputy' for him. I always had somebody there to listen. That is the thing, to be heard, listened to and not treated as a freak show specimen. I cannot imagine how two people with mental health problems can always be supportive of each other although they would be naturally understanding at least. The advice Ron is giving is absolutely right and I cannot add more. But, and Ron will second this no doubt, just like Alcoholics Anonymous say with their 10 steps, the first move has got to come from them. Help them find that and you have done all you humanly can. I can only wish you a lot of strength and courage.

Hi Barbara,
Mania, depression, irresponsibility, irrational sleep patterns etc. can all be endured in varying degrees regardless of the clinical definition. I remember going through a property purchase some years back, having fallen ill, and also 'Sectioned' power of attorney ( by law ) was awarded to a third party. In fact this arrangement is still in place as a safety measure, as a disregard for money during a manic phase is also common. You say your friends are on medication, and that mental illness is prevalent, do I assume they live in the UK?

If this is the case,they would understand that they are ill ( hopefully ) and would need to be persuaded to utilise whatever resources are at their disposal... especially during the highly stressful home move or purchase.

Their GP should refer them to the appropriate clinicians, and respective services. You might try whom I gather are extremely helpful. How your friends or anyone for that matter can see their way through trying times is problematic... mental illness is STILL highly stigmatised, with even sufferers in denial or embarrassed by any likely condition. I have developed an extremely pragmatic approach myself and am reliant on a small but well briefed support network. People can help,if willing and there are systems in place and understanding of such conditions are ever more improving.

Ron yes I know about the Bi-Pola circle but there are so many illnesses which

affect the mind...both of these 2 friends have different problems...both are on

constant medication. One does some very odd things ...irresponsable

driving without adequate sleep...after a blood test...she crashed her car

hitting another....It is a miracle that both drivers were not killed.

She is planning to move house but will never be able to deal with the legal

pains and the physical stuff which goes with moving....STRESS....whilst her

other half is suffering from some stress related illness and the very idea of

moving creates massive instability.

What to do?

HI Barbara,

There is a group, not sure if you know, that deals with the issues of Bi-Polarity, the members comprise sufferers, carers and those who act as a support mechanism for all concerned.

I'm surprised that your friend had been advised not to travel, unless they are very poorly right now, it is a classic symptom especially during the 'up' part of a cycle to assume that medication is not needed, or possibly even perceived as harmful by the sufferer.