1. Use validating, non-judgemental language. I have this as number one for a reason! No matter what he is saying, repeat something back to them that they just said, just so they know you are listening. It is not helpful to correct, lay blame, lecture, etc. Listen without jumping to conclusions.
2. Find treatment options and present them to us. Don't expect us to be able to have the energy to do this for ourselves if we can't get out of bed.
2. Educate yourself. There are logical reasons why we behave the way we do! If you can understand "why", then it makes all the many small, as well as large, decisions we have to make each day much easier. You will receive clarity of direction for your loved ones' life, your own life, and you will learn not to take the behavior personal (very important!)
3. Lower your expectations, wayyyyyyy down. Accept that we are severely impaired in key areas of brain functioning and therefore are not capable of things that come easily for others. This is a big one for people to swallow! Here is a typical conversation: "But she is so talented! She has her PhD and yet she can't even hold down a job! I just can't accept that she can't work!" Trust me, if she is not working, she can't. But, with your support and proper treatment, she will work again! But it may take a while.
4. Learn to remain calm in crisis. If you think this one is impossible, think again. We live in internal crisis most of our lives and we are learning how to stay calm--so can you! Model this for us so we know it is possible!
5. Continue to model appropriate behavior, but don't try to "teach" us the right or wrong thing to do until we are ready. This seems counter-intuitive to parenting 101, but we often can not tolerate instruction from our loved ones without it inducing immense shame and fear.
6. Likewise, if you are fortunate enough to be married to one of us, don't expect that we are capable of negotiating through the typical daily life decisions with you until the core symptoms of our illness are somewhat under control. Once we learn how to regulate our emotions, understand that many of our thoughts are altered and gain effective communication skills, you will be delighted to find our conversations becoming much more productive and pleasant.
7. Take care of yourself.
8. Go to support groups!
9. Never, ever, ever discount the power of your love! It is the demonstration of your vulnerable love that will help heal the incredible hurt we usually are feeling. Trust your heart!
Comment down below any other tools you have for your day to day life! 👇👇👇👇