When I Grow up, I Don’t Want to Be Like You
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.
Having a mental illness that is not treated often means they are not doing things to be good to themselves—and if they’re not being good to themselves, it is hard to cultivate quality relationships with others.
What if someone then 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 worry or be upset. 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 illness affects each person in different ways.
Also, we are learning more and more about how to treat mental illness. Some of our older family members maybe did not receive enough treatment when they were younger, and we know getting treatment when you are younger helps more.
If you feel this way, 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 they will help themselves, too.
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?