In Living With Someone Who Has a Mental Illness,
I discuss strategies for dealing with this effectively in your family.
In Becoming Part of a Caring Community, I offer tips to connect with your neighbors.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national
early education nonprofit organization that
pairs caring adults with underserved
preschoolers in year long one-to-one
mentoring relationships. Visit www.jstart.org
to learn more about Jumpstart,
initiatives - such as Playdate With A
Purpose, Read for the Record, and
events like Scribbles to
Novels. If you would like to make a
you may do so at
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
Check my website,
updates on my appearances. For
wedding-related questions, please click on
the link for the Wedding Channel on the side
bar of this newsletter. And if you would
like me to speak to your group or
organization, please contact me directly at
the Speakers' Bureau at
I appreciate you sharing this newsletter with
your friends, loved ones, and colleagues by
clicking Send to a Friend button
Wishing you health, peace and balance.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is in bookstores and
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Living With Someone Who Has a Mental Illness
If you find it difficult to come to terms with your sibling's or parent's mental illness, there are many others who share your difficulty. Most siblings and adult children of people with psychiatric disorders find that mental illness in a brother, sister, or parent changes everyone's life in the most basic ways.
Strange, unpredictable behaviors in a loved one can be experienced as devastating, and your anxiety can increase as you struggle with each episode of illness and worry about the future. It seems impossible at first, but most siblings and adult children find that over time they do gain the knowledge and skills to cope with mental illness effectively. They do have strengths they never knew they had, and they can meet situations they never even anticipated.
Begin by finding out as much as possible about mental illness. Read and talk with other families. Methods of treatment are consistently being reevaluated, so keeping up to date with the most appropriate approach can be of great value. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has books, pamphlets, fact sheets, and tapes available about various illnesses, treatments, and related issues. For other resources and contact information about your state and local NAMI affiliates, call the HelpLine at 1-800/950-6264.
Remember that you cannot cure a mental disorder for a parent or sibling. No one is to blame for the illness, and despite your best efforts, your loved one's symptoms may get worse, or they may improve. It is helpful (but not necessary) that everyone in the family accept the disorder. Certainly everyone needs to adapt and this may require revising expectations of themselves and of the person with the diagnosis.
Some family members become so preoccupied with their parent or sibling that they neglect their own needs and well-being. Participating in a support group and/or talking with a therapist can help deal challenges. Share with your friends who are non-judgmental, and if you have the energy and the disposition, educate them because mental and emotional disorders are generally poorly understood. Find time for yourself, for hobbies, walks, jogging, sports, and writing.
Allow yourself to reminisce about happier times. Try to find pleasure in the positive moments. Look through photographs of better days, read old love letters, and watch family videos. Spend time with other family members talking about wonderful family stories. Finally, remind yourself continually throughout the day that there can be better times ahead. Make it a mantra.
TODAY Show (NBC)
Please check my website,
for the most current updates.
WKTU-FM Radio Interview on KTU Cares
May 16th: 9-9:30AM: Jumpstart's Playdate
with a Purpose and the Issue of Early
KTU airs on Sunday mornings and focuses
specifically on issues impacting the NY
community. Available on http://www.ktu.com/pages/events/community.html
Read Dr. Atkins' and Rabbi Edythe Mencher's
interview about inheritance in Reform
Summer 2010 Issue: When Scott Got More
Online at www.reformjudaismmag.com.
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Therapeutic
Issues with Recipients of Cochlear Implants,"
in the new text, Psychotherapy With Deaf
Clients From Diverse Groups, Second Edition.
Edited by Irene Leigh, and published by
Gallaudet University Press.
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Family
Involvement and Counseling in Serving
Children Who Possess Impaired Hearing,"
in the new text, Introduction
to Aural Rehabilitation.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by
See Making the Case for Family
Dinners, at iVillage.com: http://www.ivillage.com/making-case-
See Dr. Atkins on http://www.workherway.com/02-stayinthegame/bullying-adults/#comments.
Also see Googling Patients: Should
Psychiatrists Research Cases Online? at http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/04/18/googling-patients-should-psychiatrists-research-cases-online/
A Good Daily Habit
Changing your Inner Dialogue
Often our feelings happen so quickly that we don't notice the thoughts that accompany them. You can become aware of your emotions. Recognize if you have a default emotion. If you are feeling frightened or sad or angry, what are you saying to yourself when you are in that feeling state? You may wish to change your inner dialogue.
Next time, stop your thought and take a deep breath. Consider a different way of thinking about how you feel. While we can't always control the feelings that pop up, we can manage them. By making conscious choices and using our thoughts to understand and accept our feelings, we can change some unproductive, negative thoughts into positive, uplifting ones which will affect our feeling state.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips For Becoming Part of a Caring Community
Do you ever wonder what it must have been like in the days when people lived within a "Caring Community?" You know, where neighbors knew each other, encouraged intergenerational visiting, really meant it when they asked "How are you?" and paid attention to the subtle and not so subtle changes that occurred in each other's lives?
Some of us are fortunate enough to live in communities (or buildings) where we have this feeling. If you don't, however, there are many ways to create or become part of a caring community.
There needs to be a conscious effort to connect. If you already belong to an organization such as a church, synagogue, temple, or recreational center, you can certainly make an effort to, at the very least, learn people's names and acknowledge when they have good and difficult things happening in their lives. Having a group of people who visit when someone is ill; prepare meals for the family of someone who has recently died or is ill; look in on an elderly person who has no family nearby, offer to walk with them in the neighborhood, sit for a cup of tea, and get to know them; engage a young person to visit and / or help around the house or yard, or just to engage in conversation are ways to break the wall that so many of us have around us.
Here are more tips to help you:
Meet Your Neighbors - Introduce yourself to your neighbors and without judgment, be open to whatever they share about their lives.
Seek Out Members of Your Community - If you see someone in your neighborhood whom you have seen before, introduce yourself and let them know that you, too, live nearby.
Spend Time Together - Invite a neighbor for a cup of coffee, a walk, a chance to listen to some lovely piece of music, to garden together. Whatever it is, something that helps to give a base for more than "hello."
Reach Out to Isolated Neighbors - Ask someone who lives alone if they would like to walk or join you for a movie or a concert or something in the neighborhood.
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works
Now in Paperback!