Tuesday, 7 April 2015


"Oh she is so sweet" have become the words that irritate me beyond belief.  Our daughter has FASD, low cognitive function and seems to be developing some severe mental health issues, doctors are leaning towards a diagnosis of schizophrenia.  As we are the people around her constantly, we get the brunt of her mood swings and it is especially irritating when we have been verbally attacked for weeks from her and then someone who doesn't know us that well says " I was talking with....she is just so sweet".  Comments like these make me want to scream NO REALLY, SHE'S NOT!!!!

It's not that I don't want people to see the nice side of her or to have positve thoughts about her.  It's that we haven't seen that side of her for a long while and would love to have a break from the crazy making.  When you add a mental health low with PMS everyone should run for the hills!  I want to run for the hills but can't get away.

Working with her physicians and mental health team we have been making progress at helping her however it is just as important (if not more important) to help ourselves and the rest of the family.  If the rest of the family isn't strong and well cared for we won't have the strength to support the ones affected by mental illness.

1. Accept your own feelings and know that you are not alone.
It is natural to feel many different emotions when a loved one has a mental illness.  Other people experience the same challenges and complicated mix of emotions.  Let yourself and family feel whatever they need to feel.

2. Learn more
Take time to learn more about mental illness.  This will give you a better understanding of your loved one's experiences and help you see what they may be going through.

3.  Stay connected
Embarrassment, social stigma and fear can stop many family memebers from seeking help when a loved one has a mental illness.  But that can isolate you at a time when you need the most support from others.  Talk to trusted friends and family and let them know what you're experiencing.

4. Join a support group
Support groups are a good place to share your experiences, learn from others, and connect with people who understand what you're going through.  Find the support that works for you, it could be a group of friends, a support group or a counsellor.

5. Take time for yourself
If you are caring for a loved one, your responsibilities may use up your physical and emotional energy.  It's important to take time for yourself and the other members of the family.  It can help you recharge and give you a more balanced perspective toward any challenges you experience.  Schedule opportunities that allow you to relax, have fun and get away so you can come back to your loved one with a healthier outlook.  You can't care for someone else if you haven't cared for yourself first.

6.Seek help for yourself
Caring for a loved one who's unwell can be stressful.  Seek help if you find your own well-being slipping, and encourage family members to seek help if they need it.  Mental illness can have a big impact on family relationships.

7. Develop coping strategies for challenging behaviours
There may be times when a loved one shows strange or challenging behaviours that can make you feel confused, embarrassed, or scared.  This can happen in public or in private.
- Make a plan as a family how to best deal with situations
- Understand that their behaviour is not personal, even when it feels personal.


  1. I hate that assumption. I can be sweet when I want to be, but, when I'm not, I'm bullheaded and impertinent.

  2. I think learning not to take the behavior of our loved ones with issues was hardest lesson for me to learn. Thanks for sharing this post with us~

  3. It's so hard to remain positive when difficult situations are ongoing or deteriorating. Your tips are so practical. Thanks for adding this post to's Tuesday link up.

  4. Finding people I can trust with "the truth" of our situation has been next to impossible. I feel like I have terrible judgement when it comes to trusting others who then betray that trust. I want to scream "Why in the world would I exaggerate or outright lie about my childs' behaviors?" "What do I have to gain by telling you how my child REALLY acts at home?". There are a few people I trusted with the truth that ended up telling everyone how hard I was on one particular child and everyone pitied my poor son. The only consolation I had was that I noticed that no one offered to take this darling, pitiful child for even an hour to give either of us a break. If they really believed I was exaggerating his behaviors, then what better way to prove that than to take him for an hr/day/overnight/weekend to prove how good he was for them? After all, they all thought he was cute and helpful and had such a charming personality and was just dying for "good" attention that I was unable to give him like a competent parent. This was a particular dark time when parenting him and I tended to isolate myself to prevent further judgement and condemnation from occurring. I see that it was wrong now, but at the time I was just trying to survive. We all know we need to take care of ourselves and support one another....we just need to start doing it!