One of the more challenging aspects of any mental illness is timing. There is never a good time for mental illness to strike someone. Everyday life quickly becomes abnormal. Mental health challenges force humans to slow down and pay attention.
Into The Mystery
Suddenly, we step onto a path and into the mystery of treatment, healing, and recovery. Since each person’s condition is unique, it seems as though there is no standard timeframe for healing in many cases. Unlike the common cold, it is difficult for doctors to give a time range. The recovery timeline is unknown, requiring weeks, months, or perhaps even years.
In this context, it is safe to say that most desire what is best for their friend or family. And while healing is not up to us, we can play an active part in the process by creating a healthy, loving environment. As with illnesses such as COVID-19, the flu, or cancer, we must prioritize healing. For many, this will involve suspending our usual expectations and allocating time for recovery.
Think of this as pushing pause and giving your friend or family member time to heal. During this time, we do all we can to create a connection with our loved ones. We remove expectations to provide a healthy, low-stress environment for healing to begin.
Remove Unnecessary Pressure
We must realize that our expectations can add additional pressure on someone already on edge. Commitments to school, work, or caring for children could be unrealistic depending on the situation. A professional such as a doctor or counselor can assist in monitoring the individual’s condition to evaluate if/when the situation changes. They can also help evaluate what responsibilities to suspend temporarily.
Understanding how our expectations communicate unintentional messages that make healing more challenging is crucial. No matter how scary it can be to see someone we care for unable to function, we must give them the space to heal. Understand their condition did not begin overnight and likewise will not heal overnight. It can be helpful to ask their doctor or counselor, “What can we reasonably expect given _____’s condition?”
The goal is to create a loving environment where connection and healing can occur. Our approach dramatically impacts the friend or family member. While many things are out of our control, we can show our love by providing them with space to heal. Temporarily removing commitments and expectations places priority on their healing.
We must not give up hope for healing. We continue praying!