Do you have friends or family members who have a mental illness and have had a lot of trouble dealing with it or did not get treatment? Many of us do.
It can be tough to watch them suffer. Maybe they are someone you enjoy spending time with sometimes, but other times you feel let down because they neglect you or hurt your feelings. When a person’s mental illness is not treated, often they don’t do things to take care of themselves—and if they’re not being good to themselves, it can be hard for them to cultivate relationships with others.
What if then someone tells you that you also may have a mental illness? Your immediate thought might be, No, that’s not me. I’m not like my family member at all, and there’s no way my life will turn out like theirs.
It’s understandable that you might get upset and worried. Accept that you feel that way, but then take some time to think about it a little more. It’s true that mental illness can run in families, yet every person is unique and mental illnesses affect each person in different ways.
Also, we are learning more and more about treating mental illness. Some of our older family members maybe did not receive enough treatment when they were younger, and we know the sooner you get treatment, the more it helps.
If you feel worried about your genetics, remember we are like our family and then we are not like our family. Focus on yourself. Sometimes when we do that, others notice and in time, help themselves as well.
And just because mental illness might run in your family, remember that science shows that your genes are not set in stone!—read our post on epigenetics to find out more about that.
Have you experienced worries your life would be similar to a family member’s who did not get treatment for their mental illness? How did you cope with these concerns? Let us know in the comments!\]\\