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9 Ways to Help Those Who Love Disorder Patients

9 Ways to Help Those Who Love Disorder Patients

It can be devastating to families and friends when someone is diagnosed with a major disorder, such as ADD, anxiety or depression. The number one priority is, of course, the person who is suffering. However, the people who love the patient also are suffering, and their needs are often overlooked.

Loved ones of disorder patients might not suffer from disorder symptoms. But they face many challenges as they support the person they love. As a disorder patient goes through diagnosis and treatment, loved ones will experience strong feelings, challenges and victories right along with the patient. In fact, supporting a person with a serious disorder can be as challenging as having the disorder itself.

When things get better, the patient often feels a sense of relief. Their loved ones don’t feel the same relief. But they do feel their own kind of relief.

To help loved ones of disorder patients, remember these important things:

1. The disorder disrupts the lives of family and friends, too.

Certainly, the primary focus should be on the patient. However, it’s not easy to incorporate doctors’ appointments, worry, routine changes and other challenges of dealing with a disorder in the family.

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As arrangements are made for treatment and routines change at home, be sensitive to everyone’s needs. Even the patient will feel better knowing the people he or she loves are being taken care of.

2. Friends and family of disorder patients experience strong feelings.

We tend to want to look to caregivers and loved ones for strength when someone has been diagnosed with a major disorder. It’s often the strength of a loved one that helps the patient cope.

However, because families and friends love the patient, they also will be dealing with many challenging feelings: fear, anger, worry, frustration. Counseling can help. At a minimum, be aware and be gentle.

3. Guilt is often the secret challenge of those who love disorder patients.

Even if it doesn’t make sense, friends and family of disorder patients often harbor a secret feeling they have either caused the disorder or have made it worse. They might also feel guilty that they can’t do more to help the person they love.

Help them by persuading them to see their innocence in the situation and see that there are many things they CAN do.

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4. Loved ones of disorder patients don’t have all the answers.

This is important for both loved ones themselves and patients to remember. Dealing with a major disorder is challenging, and even medical professionals struggle to understand and successfully treat those who suffer.

A patient doesn’t always know how to explain what’s wrong. Friends and family sometimes don’t have the strength to take control of the situation. To solve this problem, work together and be patient.

5. Loved ones of disorder patients experience grief.

Just as a patient can go through all the stages of grief in dealing with a disorder, so do family and friends go through similar stages. They may think, “Why me?” Although this sounds selfish, it is realistic and normal.

Depending on the state of the patient, some discussion of this may help bring things out into the open and actually improve the patient’s outlook. In other cases, loved ones should look elsewhere for support in resolving their grief, so they don’t add to the stress of the patient. Consult with medical professionals to determine what’s best.

6. Caregivers of disorder patients often need treatment too.

The stress of helping a friend or family member face a major health disorder can cause health problems on its own. Be sure loved ones of disorder patients are consulting with physicians and counselors to relieve the stress and learn techniques specifically designed for families and caregivers.

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Temporary medication and regular counseling sessions might be in order. In the end, helping the caregiver stay healthy and strong could directly influence positive progress of the patient.

7. Loved ones of disorder patients don’t always want to talk about the disorder.

There is more to life than the disorder. It might sound harsh, but even the patient feels this! If too much time is spent thinking about the disorder and working on helping the patient feel better, it adds to stress.

Spending too much time on the disorder also can cause confusion and make it difficult to see things clearly, just as when you get too close to anything. Take time to address the disorder, but also take time to do normal things in life.

8. Disorder patients and those who love them need to have fun.

There is a time to be serious and a time to let loose and have fun. Laughter and joy can be very healing, not only for disorder patients, but for those who love for them and care for them.

If someone you know is struggling in their care of a loved one with a disorder, you can help by taking them out of the house, finding something enjoyable to do, giving them someone to talk to, and helping them enjoy life, if even just for a few hours.

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9. Loved ones of disorder patients sometimes have their own disorders.

It’s not uncommon for members of the same family, or people who experienced the same triggering event (such as a death) to be dealing with the same disorder symptoms or others. In this case, the caregiver is also a patient who has unique symptoms and issues of his or her own.

Everyone involved must recognize the challenges each person faces and do their best to help within the situation. Professional consultation is often necessary to help a family or group of friends sort out the complexities of multiple disorders within the same group of people.

Support those who support the disorder patient

Friends and family of disorder patients, in a way, share the disorder with the patient, because it affects their lives too. They also share in the joy and sense of accomplishment when the patient gets better.

The key to sustaining the health and well-being of both a disorder patient and the people who love him or her is to be thoughtful, gentle, and aware of the challenges everyone is facing. Make allowances for mistakes and frustrations. Seek professional help when needed.

The primary focus always should be on getting the patient better, but supporting those who support the patient is often overlooked. Care for the caregiver is a vital element of any patient’s well-being and progress.

Featured photo credit: I’m Light Painting Again/Rob Boudon via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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