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6 Things Your Loved One in Mental Health Treatment Wants You to Know


I have just completed week three of a partial hospitalization program to treat anxiety, depression with psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder and have at least another nine weeks to go. I have learned so much about myself and about my diseases. I have worked on bettering myself and have been learning to love myself. I am grateful for the doctors, therapists, and peers who have helped me through this journey, but I am also so grateful for my loved ones who have tried to understand what I am going through. I know it is tough. I have been asked, “What can I do for you?” This is a short list of some of the things you should know to help a loved one who has started treatment.

6. I want to get better.

If we didn’t, we wouldn’t choose to be in treatment. Fear of getting better is a real thing. It is an intense fear to feel fear preventative of getting better, but still, we want to get better. That is why we go to treatment every day, participate in groups and one on one, take our medication, and track our moods.

5. I want you to ask me about treatment.

We are processing so much during treatment, but we never get to process the fact that we are finally processing. We need that time, but we will rarely ask for it because we don’t want to burden or scare you. Please ask us about our experiences.

4. I don’t want to only talk about treatment.

While we want you to be curious and to have questions, we also want to talk about other things — things that make us feel “normal” and that remind us of life without depression and anxiety. Let’s talk about movies and music, friends and family, and even the latest scandals on reality TV shows. We can handle it.

3. I am exhausted.

The work we are doing is taking every ounce of our attention and energy throughout the day, so when we do not want to go out with you or when we seem out of it while spending time with you, it’s not you. We are just so tired.

2. I am working harder than I have ever worked in my life.

We are fighting for our lives by being in treatment. We want to get better, but there is not a happy pill that can “fix” us overnight. We are working and fighting to survive each and every day that we are in treatment. It is not a walk in the park.

1. I love you so much for being there for me.

You are a special human to be there, and we want you to know just how appreciated your support is.

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Thinkstock photo by Tay Jnr