Re: Family Member coming home from hospital stay
Hello. Your post caught my eye, I guess because I can relate to your situation somewhat. How are things currently? I am a mom/grandma with three adult children and two of them have severe mental illness. My daughter, the oldest is 22 and she has diagnoses of everything from Bipolar, OCD, Bulemia (Non-Purging), Personality Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder and on and on and on. There is a strong history of Bipolar/Schizophrenia in our family (my husbands and mine both). Both of my kids have battled these illnesses since they reached their mid teens. My daughter is currently going through a heck of an ordeal. She recently was forced to place all three of her children for adoption due to the fact that she was unable to care for them due to her illness. Let me tell you from my experience it will get worse before it gets better.
You have to be an advocate for those you love or who you know that suffer from these illnesses. There is no over night solution to their problems. People who suffer from Mental Illness do not think clearly, I often tell my husband that it is their illness talking. If a person is not familiar with Mental Illness they might be found saying things like "Why cant she/he just snap out of it?" or "they made the choice to do that or act that way!" That is not necessarily true, they may have made some very bad choices but it is because they are ill that they did so. I know it sounds like a crock or a cover up to say that especially when its so much easier just to get angry at the person but one needs to realize they are not processing thoughts the way a person who does not suffer from mental illness does. They are sick and we must treat the illness before we can hope to be able to advocate change for them.
It takes the help of professionals, there have been times as a parent that I myself was at my wits end! I thought oh my God will this ever end? Its ok to step back and say "Hey, I cant handle this, I need help".
In your situation it seems as though her family may indeed be in denial. Unfortunately I find that said denial comes from people who may be uneducated about mental illness and the severity thereof. The thing about my daughter is that she recognized she was having homicidal and suicidal ideations and she sought help by checking herself into the hospital. It was all a down hill roll from there because it ended in her loosing her children but at the same time she got help for her problems. I wish I could say it has helped but it hasn't. Even the fact that she lost her children seems to motivate her to want to get well. She is a drifter and in and out of relationships as is common with Bipolar disorder.
I hope that you were able to help your sister in law and help her family come to terms with the diagnoses. When family members are in denial themselves it makes it much harder for the person who is ill. My daughters caseworkers stayed on top of her and tried to see that she kept her appointments and she did for a while. She has the mindset that when she has an attack she can just go admit herself to the hospital for a quick fix and everything will be fine until the next time.
There are no easy answers, hang in there and learn all you can about mental illness. The fact that you reached out for support is great! I hope everything works out for you.;-)