How can I help before it’s too late?

After doing some research, I am starting to think that a family member is bipolar. One minute they will be having fun and the next they can be screaming and totally shut down. There has also been issues with cutting in the past. We have tried to get them to talk to someone, but they refuse to go. Being in their 20s, is there anyway we can get them the help they need, before it is too late, when they refuse to see a doctor?

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I did a similar post about this about a month ago, Do you believe the last resort for someone in denial to realize they have bi polar disorder is to “CRASH”?, which kind of dealt with the same overall issue.

Though I’m not going to say that “Oh My Great Monkey! They have bipolar. Get them help now!!!”, because I’m super not qualified to say that, I can say that if they have or have had issues with cutting, I do believe that should at the very least talk with someone.

And I think that would be an excellent way to approach the subject. Instead of saying, “Yo, you totally need to see a shrink!” (yes, I actually DO say “yo” when talking to people, as does PDog. It’s quite entertaining really … anyways….) maybe you could say, “Hey, have you ever considered maybe talking to a counselor/therapist about how you are feeling?”

Talking to a psychiatrist, especially when you have not done so before, is very intimidating as well as frightening. Many of us with Bipolar don’t WANT to have Bipolar. So what if we talk to a PDoc and he tells us we DO have it! That can be pretty devastating. I myself suppressed many symptoms from previous PDocs just so they wouldn’t know and/or think Bipolar was even a slight possibility. I was NOT manic and I was NOT going to let anyone say otherwise. (Oh wait, my friends and husband said otherwise at least a time or two…hmmmm)

I was 26 and had hit rock bottom before I said, “FINE, so yeah, I may or may not have periods of ups too! What of it?!?!” As if I didn’t already know. It wasn’t much of a surprise when they announced this new diagnosis. But that doesn’t mean it was easy to hear.

Now as therapy IS part of the treatment for Bipolar and/or other mental illnesses, it can be a great place to start. And who better to tell you that maybe you should consult a psychiatrist than a trained professional? I mean after bearing your soul to them, how can you really say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t need to see a shrink!” Cuz um … you just bared your soul to them, I’m pretty sure their opinion has good merit.

That’s not to say that your family member may not completely tell you to shove off when you suggest therapy, but I can promise you one thing, they heard you. Whether they liked it or not, they heard your plea and there is no way they are not going to sit and think about it. Granted I’m sure you’ll hear a bunch of excuses first. And I’m sure they’ll rationalize those excuses to themselves … BUT … you’ve broken through and they are thinking about it. That alone is a start!

Maybe you can get a one up on them and be prepared for these excuses! Here is a list of common excuses you might here:

“This is just temporary! I’m just going through a tough time. It will pass. Stop worrying about it!”

It’s true, we all go through tough times. Sometimes it does pass, but let’s be honest here, the odds of that happening are quite slim! Maybe it is just a rough time. People have break downs all the time. But wanna take a guess as to how they get through it? BINGO! They seek therapy. Even the most mentally stable people sometimes need the counseling of another (usually professional) to make it through the tough times. It’s natural. If we were an expert on what we were going through, we could probably talk our selves through it, but chances are, unless we’ve studied it for gobs of years, we aren’t experts.

So even if it is JUST TEMPORARY … then counseling shouldn’t take too long. They’ll get you through that rough patch and you’ll be out and back to normal in no time. Got another excuse?

“It’s not like I’m sad all the time! People who are depressed are, so I’m obviously fine.”

With or without Bipolar Disorder, depression can still come and go. Depression has triggers; stress, anxiety, life altering events, etc. If we don’t face that depression that is coming and going, believe me, it’s GOING to keep COMING back! And I believe that depression that comes and goes deserves equal, if not more, attention than the depression that is ongoing.

“If I talk to a doctor/therapist they are going to try to put me on all these drugs. I’m not taking any drugs!”

Therapists and counselors canNOT prescribe medications. Going to therapy has nothing to do with taking meds. Only a licensed psychiatrist can prescribe any sort of medications that may or may not help in addition to therapy. Seeing a counselor is about talking, not getting hopped up on meds. Not to mention there are forms of alternative therapies that you can try. No doctor is going to force you to take medication, they can’t. They can suggest it, but they can also suggest alternatives. And let’s not forget, talking to a therapist can definitely help us weigh our options and figure out why or why not you may want to consider taking prescribed “drugs”.

“I don’t need therapy. Therapy is for crazy people! Do I look crazy to you?”

Ok, so if you’re sarcastic like me, I know you’re going to be tempted to say, “Is that a rhetorical question?” What? That’s just me that would say that? Soooo. This one is a little more difficult to combat. Convincing someone that therapy is NOT for crazy people is much easier said than done. Even I had to do a little digging for a compelling argument.

Per goodtherapy.org

“The belief that people who go to therapy are “crazy” or “damaged,” is false. The most common demographic of therapy goers include everyday ordinary people suffering from everyday human problems, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship issues. Only a small percentage of people undergoing psychotherapy qualify as having a serious mental illness; and these folks typically find their way into programs that offer a higher level of care than the average private practice therapist can offer. If a person is afraid of being judged as crazy by others or by their own inner-critic for going to therapy, then therapy would be especially useful in building self-esteem and freeing one from the limitations of what others think.”

Maybe we should even explore the word “crazy” a bit.

Definitions of crazy:

  • brainsick: affected with madness or insanity; “a man who had gone mad”
  • foolish; totally unsound; “a crazy scheme”; “half-baked ideas”; “a screwball proposal without a prayer of working”
  • possessed by inordinate excitement; “the crowd went crazy”; “was crazy to try his new bicycle”
  • bizarre or fantastic; “had a crazy dream”; “wore a crazy hat”
  • someone deranged and possibly dangerous

Oh CRAP! With these definitions, it looks like we’re all a bit “crazy”!!! Just saying….

“I don’t have insurance and/or can’t afford therapy!”

*makes a loud buzzer sound* WRONG! Anyone can afford therapy! Believe me, I’ve been there. There are all sorts of alternatives for those who are unable to afford therapy.

Options include

  • Finding a counselor/therapist and speak with them to see if they have a “sliding fee scale
  • Almost all areas (at least in the US) have a Community Mental Health Centers. Finding one is as easy as Googling “Community Mental Health in so and so County, your State. (ex: My Google Search “Community Mental Health in Ingham County, MI”)
  • Websites such as NIMH, NAMI, MHA in America or mentalhealth.org.uk, mind.org.uk, MHUK in the UK usually have links and/or resources to find the best mental health services in your area.

So clearly, “I can’t afford it!” is not a valid excuse. And it wouldn’t help to do the research yourself and hand them a list of contacts that will be affordable and will work with them just as they are saying “I can’t aff…”.

For a more detailed article about finding affordable psychotherapy click here.

And don’t discount the fact that maybe/most likely they just feel downright embarrassed to seek that sort of treatment. It might not hurt to offer going with them. You can never have too much support!

I hope this has been at least a bit helpful. If you have further questions or I have missed something, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/finding-low-cost-psychotherapy/2/

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