In my previous blog I wrote about the importance of self-observation. Nonetheless sometimes we are in denial. We get the usual symptoms, but we think we are all-right. This is the time when people who live with us can help. It is very helpful if we live with at least one person we can trust. Thus this person can tell us that we are behaving in an unusual way.
I read often on different internet sites that the people we live with do not understand us. Sometimes this can be true. However sometimes we can get this feeling because we are in denial. Thus our goal could be to learn to differentiate between two separate cases: 1. The people we live with really do not understand us. 2. The people we live with are trying to warn us about the worsening of our mental health, but we are not ready to listen.
By listening to our partners, parents, siblings etc. we will show them we trust them. This will make them feel good and they will take even better care of us. I know there are people who do not have anyone they can trust. All I can say is I wish them they meet somebody nice. For mental illness can really be a pest, if you are facing it all alone.
In October of 2003 my last schizoaffective episode set in. It was my third one. However for my future husband it was the first one to observe. It was a shock for him to see somebody completely lose their mind. Especially because that somebody was me – his girl-friend at that time. I wrote more about that mental illness episode in my book, but let me give you a short version here. I could have prevented this episode by admitting to myself that I was manic. Instead I chose to be “too clever” and not to listen to anyone – neither to my psychiatrist, nor to my future husband. It only dawned on me that I needed anti-psychotic pills, when I started imagining I was the second Jesus Christ. Then I was put in the locked ward of a psychiatric clinic willingly and I swallowed all medication without rebelling. I stayed in the locked ward only for a few days. Then the doctors let me spend the weekend with my husband, for he assured them that I was behaving a lot better having received the proper medication at the clinic. I spent another two months in an unlocked ward, but kept going home for weekends.
This story could have been the last chapter of our relationship and of course he would not have become my husband in 2007 then. Instead we survived as a couple. I also learned to listen to him, when he warns me of my early symptoms. I always see my psychiatrist soon enough to prevent an episode. My willingness to listen to my husband is one of the reasons I can call the 2003-episode the last one today.
You can ask me more about my experience with mental illness: firstname.lastname@example.org.