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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Advice on handling a relative - when to know the person just is or is it the mental health condition

Topic: Advice on handling a relative - when to know the person just is or is it the mental health condition

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. smalloli
    smalloli avatar
    1 posts
    4 January 2018

    Hi all,

    I am a relative to a person with anxiety issues. While her issues has being long known, the whole family had been in denial or unable to handle in a way that is helpful. I've had a chat with the beyond blue webchat, and I feel desperate? and looking for advice everywhere.

    She is in her early 30s, can't hold a job, can't even properly tend to room keep (e.g. she's decided not to use bedsheets, and keeps used tissues next to her bed?? and has severe hayfever, in her room??), and does not have friends. Had been tested in her childhood to have IQ on the low side, but just able disabled range. (Sources from her immediate family, I took that with a lot of grains of salt).

    She is subtly but surely disadvantaged in childhood. In her childhood days, her family had been advised that she may need professional help, but the mum was in denial, went to a couple of sessions and said there is nothing wrong with her. The mum is still in denial. Growing up, all she learnt from her mother was to look elsewhere for any problems, nothing was ever their fault, and her dad is the big bad wolf. Her dad, with the (plausible) excuse of working to support the family, and left the family rearing to who he know is -THE most incapable person ever.  She has been to a psychologist before, but has not kept going. I think she didn't want to go and face issues, but nobody really knows what she thinks.

    5 months ago, she went on a life finding mission. She went to her home country to try and find a life. She was living with a relative. While she was there, she has had 5 different jobs. She has exposed her REAL character to ALL her relatives, and had been causing (unbeknownst to her) different troubles every month (because of her lack of education on common courtesy).

    A couple of days ago, she was admitted to hospital (with her uncle's advice) while she was experiencing stomach pains at work. She was tested, and nothing was found as the cause of her stomach pains. We as family advised the doctors that the pains may have come from a psychological factor. She is still vomiting and has not being able to hold down food (vomiting).

    I have tried in the past to talk to her. While I talked to her, she seemed like she was listening, but then what she does complete demolishes that idea.
    I feel a need to help, but she does not think she needs any. I sometimes feel I should bother with this person, but I know it cannot end well.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Bethie
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Bethie avatar
    326 posts
    4 January 2018 in reply to smalloli


    It's a hard place your in. I suffered anxiety for years before finally getting long term help. For me part of it was telling myself I was actually ok and was behaving normally when things where far from it.

    Do you think that maybe she might join BB because we are anonymous and nobody will know her?

    If worse case scenario there are provisions in the mental health act where she can be held for 3 days for her own wealthfare. I have had to use it before with my husband after he was injured and refused medical care. Doing that was very very hard because the police had to restrain him to get him into the ambulance and he did not understand what he had done wrong to be taken away.

    I hope things improve a bit but saying that it is very very important that carers talk to their own doctors as well. It's hard loving and caring for a person with MH issues

    3 people found this helpful
  3. blueskye
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Hong Kong
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blueskye avatar
    67 posts
    6 January 2018 in reply to smalloli

    Thank you for reaching out to us, smalloli.

    Having your family in denial of your mental health issues is the worst.

    You being there and understanding that she has mental health issues means a lot to her, even if she may have not yet expressed that.

    Please keep supporting her. You're someone she needs, judging by your description of her unhelpful family.

    She should take care of her mental health. Try encouraging her to see a psychologist again. They are trained professionals! Maybe even creative arts therapy?

    Instead of having multiple jobs (which can be very stressful), suggest to her to cut down and do 1 or 2 jobs instead and focus more on them.

    I hope she feels better. Stomach pains are awful.

    Best of luck! Do keep us updated <3

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    14 January 2018 in reply to smalloli

    Hi Smalloli and thank you for reaching out for support in these forums nd in the beyondblue chatline.

    This is a safe place where we share stories and endeavour to provide a listening ear, empathy and guidance drawn from our own experiences with mental health.

    As a relative in a family who is mostly in denial, your situation is hard as you are limited to what you can do. Is the denial a part of your culture perhaps? Is this a common response to a mental health issue in your cultural background?

    Are there any ways you could help the rest of the family see things differently like you have?

    You mentioned that after chatting to beyondblue you felt desperate. Why is that? Can you think of how you could change this feeling of desperation? What could help you?

    I wonder if it's a cultural expectation for the mother to raise her children while the father is the breadwinner. Could this be what's been happening in this family?

    Perhaps it is a good life experience for her to be in the country of origin of her parents and to be working and earning a living even if there's turmoil among the relatives (which is often the case).

    You clearly love her and care for her and want to help, however, you know that this is difficult and frustrating if the person doesn't want to help themselves. If this issue is creating anxiety to you, I'd suggest you talk to a professional and find/develop strategies to be able to cope and relax. I think looking after yourself first, is a very important aspect of enabling yourself to help her.

    Despite what she decides to do in her life and no matter what the rest of the family thinks, you can take steps to find peace and look after yourself in the midst of this situation. You see, if you fall, you won't be able to help anyone.

    I hope you take care and seek support to ease this burden. X

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Hawraa
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Hawraa avatar
    9 posts
    17 January 2018 in reply to smalloli

    Hi Smalloli,

    You're definitely in a difficult position, and one I can personally empathise with. I've seen parents fall short in regards to the holistic care of their child. Regardless of the factors involved, be they overwhelmed, or not in the best financial position, or massively lacking emotional intellegence etc. taking accountability is the most critical thing. In your situation, we're way past the transformative and developmental stages of your relative and any intervention is made that much more difficult. You have a great deal ahead of you, but I urge you not to give up on this person. They don't have the awareness or capacity to advocate for themselves and clearly don't have anyone else that can advocate for them.

    I echo Donte in saying of course, make sure to look after yourself first, because this can take a toll on you emotionally. Find a professional that you can strategise with. Perhaps looking into rehab facilities, so there isn't the concern of your relative not committing to treatment.

    The BB team is here to support you and your relative. Please keep us updated.



    1 person found this helpful

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