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What To Do If A Loved One Shows Signs Of Mental Illness? - The Quality Of Life
What To Do If A Loved One Shows Signs Of Mental Illness? - The Quality Of Life

Video: What To Do If A Loved One Shows Signs Of Mental Illness? - The Quality Of Life

Video: What To Do If A Loved One Shows Signs Of Mental Illness? - The Quality Of Life
Video: How to Support a Loved One Struggling With Mental Illness 2023, March

What is a psychological norm? Where is the line between oddity and anomaly? How to recognize only emerging deviations in yourself and loved ones? We asked these questions to Alfried Langle, the famous Austrian psychologist, psychotherapist, and founder of existential analysis



Alfried LANGLE - Doctor of Psychology (Ph. D.), Doctor of Medicine (MD), psychotherapist, physician, clinical psychologist, President of the International Society for Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (GLE-International). A student and colleague of Viktor Frankl. The author of the method of existential analysis. Permanent lecturer at the universities of Vienna, Innsbruck, Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Santiagode Chile.

There are quite a lot of mental disorders, and it may simply not be enough time for an ordinary person engaged in everyday affairs to understand deeply in each of them. Is there some kind of generalizing criterion by which one can distinguish between mental health and illness?

A psychologically healthy person is always flexible enough. He can adapt to the situation, acts depending on the circumstances, “in context”. In addition, he is almost always ready for an adequate exchange of information and emotions, that is, in principle, he is capable of dialogue. This seems to me to be the most important criterion of the norm. Openness to communication. As soon as this ability is lost, that is, you see that a person has gone deep into himself, literally lost his way in his own world, answers inappropriately, does not want to enter into communication, preferring to talk to himself and his phantoms, this is an alarming sign.

The disease begins when a person is fixed exclusively on himself, on some one behavior, on only one experience. When he gets stuck and cannot independently shift the focus of attention to something else, distract himself. Let's say he always feels bad. Absolutely always, no matter what happens, even good. He constantly complains, does not see other colors of life. And if you observe that objectively there is a lot of positive in his life, but this is perceived inadequately, in a distorted form, then there really is a reason to worry.

It is also worth worrying when a single sensation prevails in a person - and most often it is the sensation of "me". He thinks, speaks only about himself, about some one of his inner experiences (this can be anything - from painful experiences, perceived by him as physical, to feelings of guilt). Depression can take on the form of auto-aggression when a person constantly repeats: “I understand how tired everyone is with my whining. I am bad. I know I'm not worthy of your attention. I'll just sit here, thank you for putting up with me. " This may seem like normal behavior, but if you look closely, we see all the same two key signs: your friend is fixated on himself and fixes on only one experience. A dialogue with him is impossible for this very reason. You tell him about one thing - he is about his own, you about another - he is again about his. This man is not adaptingdoes not respond to real circumstances.

There is an opinion that the modern world has become more "sick", the number of patients with depression, panic attacks, and bipolar disorders has increased. Is it so?

In my subjective understanding, the world is relatively stable. There are more serious personality disorders now, but levels of depression and anxiety have not changed much. However, there is one aspect that I would like to focus on. I think all of us are now becoming a little more individualists than previous generations. People feel that they are not ready to sacrifice themselves, their “I” for the sake of society and even for the sake of families, they try to isolate themselves from manipulation and stress. This is what seems to me to be a sign of our time. We are losing something universal, a kind of "unity", "compatibility". And although this does not radically affect the growth of psychopathologies, such detachment is the challenge for maintaining mental balance. After all, as we remember, mental health is the ability to conduct a dialogue. And if he is not …

A person can do without a lot, but not without a person

Ludwig Berne

But there are also just introverts, there are lovers of philosophical loneliness …

I agree that there is nothing new in the fact that dialogue is sometimes perceived as a duty and a burden. We ourselves decide what we need in this life - loneliness and tranquility, or the exchange of benefits, associated with the exchange of experiences. Trying to periodically avoid emotional expenditures is a very human experience. We want to feel good. And freedom is often associated with positive experiences. If independence gives us a sense of freedom that evokes positive emotions, great. If a person in a relationship feels not free, if he is uncomfortable, this is bad, and then it may really be worthwhile to pull back a little. But if the discomfort is caused by a lack of relationships, then such freedom can be completely abandoned. Recently, adults, independent, successful people have been demonstratingthat they are not ready to lose their quality of life for the sake of a relationship. This is a fairly balanced and responsible in relation to oneself, a healthy position. Exactly until the ability to dialogue is lost and obsession appears.

What to do if a loved one has warning signs of mental illness?

I would use an analogy with physical illness. If I see that a friend has a broken leg and he cannot walk, although he just walked, I talk to him about the problem. I ask if he understands how it happened. Does he know what to do? I wonder if he has a plan of action. Does he need outside help - and what kind? If I can provide this help, I help. If not, I call the doctor. It is clear that in a situation with a broken leg, intervention is necessary. And let's say, if someone has a headache, then maybe he just needs someone to be there until the pill works. Roughly the same should be done with the person you suspect has a mental imbalance.

The important question in this case is whether you can stop and fix it yourself. It is essential that your partner or acquaintance understands that he needs help. Acceptance is the first step. And he's the most difficult one. It is difficult for a person fixated on one thing to think objectively and sensibly. And therefore, it is often from the side that it is better to see what is happening. The advantage of a partnership is that a loved one - even if he is not a psychologist or a psychiatrist - inspires trust and can use the power of a good relationship to help, there is nothing to be ashamed about. If you feel that you are no longer getting the same response from your loved one, the same response that was before, this is the first sign diagnosing the disorder. As soon as a person loses the ability to dialogue, the relationship is destroyed. Always. It cannot be otherwise.

If your partner no longer gets out of bed in the morning, something must be wrong. If he does not answer your questions and constantly talks about something else, then something is probably wrong. If a person constantly complains and has a negative attitude, something is wrong. Illness is weakness. If you don't feel any weakness in your partner, that's okay. If you feel, you need to ask for help. Not forgetting that sometimes the disease can acquire strange images. For example, a person who believes that he is always and in everything the best is also probably unhealthy. And he can easily be a psychopath, because he is fixated only on himself and is not ready for dialogue. Of course, it is wrong to diagnose right away. But there is a reason to talk and ask to see a specialist. By the way, if suddenly you have a misunderstanding of the situation,you can consult a psychologist - just for clarification.

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