Friday, 12 May 2017

Not Themselves


During my years in a mental health team working alongside some of those most seriously ill in society I've taken it as a given that psychiatric illness can transform a person. Someone who would be normally described in positive terms acts totally out of character. The kind, sensitive, dignified, patient, funny and hardworking among us become abusive, aggressive, unreliable, disinhibited, intolerable, neglectful and needy when they're ill.  My role means that I often meet them for the first time when they're like this. One of the best rewards of my job is discovering the person that they really are when they're well.  I'm thinking about someone in particular  who has transformed into such a beautiful human being now they've recovered. Their family told me they were there.  It's making me smile as I write.

Although I've readily made allowances for people when I'm dealing with them professionally I hadn't always done that in my personal life.  Bad behaviour directed towards me  has been viewed in terms of vindictiveness.  Even though it's because someone was poorly it seemed  hard to rationalise, tolerate and to forgive when what they've done felt so dammed hurtful.

But something's clicked in recent times.  And so I have a message to those at the receiving end of this kind of treatment.   Ditch the ego.  This isn't about you.  The person is acting this way as a response to their own suffering.  If they're lovely normally it's the illness that's the cause.. It's not something that should be held against them forever and destroy a relationship.  Bide your time, do what's needed and send healing.  Don't take it personally.   And when they're well again, it would be stupid to keep bringing up what's happened.  Move on.  You have to believe it's more than likely that they didn't mean it!

4 comments:

  1. This is a good post. A timely message to us all I think.
    I usually take people as I find them and don't take any notice of other people's opinions about certain individuals we might both know. Also, if they are acting out of character I will think back to what has happened in their life and make allowances.

    My mother was a case in point and it's precisely that I knew what she went through as a child and early married life that I understood her thinking and sometimes the hurtful remarks she made to both me and others. I wish she was here now to give her a great big hug and tell her that everything is alright and that I understand. I am shedding tears right now.

    Joan (Wales)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh bless. I'm thinking of family members too who this post applies to. And dear friends. xx

      Delete
  2. I hear you and I will heed what you say-thank you. Catriona

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent! One thing that I forgot to say. I find it helpful to imagine the well person looking at their ill self. I try to envisage what they'd be thinking. Normally they'd be horrified. xx

      Delete