Have you ever said something like,”If only I had known then what I know now.” I have said that more times than I can recall. The truth is that I might not have done things differently even if I had known the outcome. Sometimes I think that we believe that we can change the outcomes so that history doesn’t repeat itself. It might also be that we believe that even when the odds suggest one outcome we are capable of influencing the events in such a way that we produce a different outcome. In my reflections on my family’s experiences with mental illness, I realized that my experience has been that I have never had control over the mental wellness of another person. The only thing I ever really control is our response to circumstances and our preparation for potential situations.
I am reposting this post I wrote some time ago because people who are dealing with mental wellness challenges (as well as their families) still need affirmation and encouragement. I also want to speak to those who deny the existence of mental wellness challenges or who do not believe that medial treatment should be an option for management mental health issues. If you find yourself or someone you care about concerned about mental wellness issues, please refer them to a health care professional for evaluation or counseling. Please avoid shaming, minimizing their symptoms or concerns, and encouraging them to skip medication doses. Accept that “we all have something” as my mom used to say. Your something may required medication to regulate your blood pressure, your pain, or your migraines. Don’t be responsible for aiding your friend, a loved one, or yourself in neglecting mental health wellness because you don’t completely understand it or because you are embarrassed because other people don’t understand it.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have journaled regularly and found a way to process all of this information sooner. I hope that you will have at least one positive takeaway from my experiences and use that takeaway to improve the health of another person who is struggling.