04 May 2010

Fragile

The next thing we think of is – handle with care. But do we? I had wanted to post about fragile mental health this week and I got a reminder. This morning I broke a lovely unusual vase that my daughter bought for me at an art show. It wasn't on purpose, but it still shattered into a million pieces on the hardwood floor. Often that is what happens with our treatment of loved ones who have what is clinically described as having "fragile mental health", which can include a number of conditions that are severe and barely under control.

Examples include:

Severe depression that has only recently responded to medications and therapies and which requires both ongoing treatment and a very supportive home/work situation (if the person is able to work).

Bipolar disorder (same as depression) but with the additional caveat of controlling the triggers for manic episodes.

Schizophrenia or other psychotic conditions, while more controllable with the newer medications, can have break-through episodes or be more intractable or not as responsive to even the most effective drugs.

    Persons with Autism spectrum disorder can be considered more fragile if they have rages or tantrums or if their ASD behaviors, e.g., self-stimulating noises, hand flapping, etc., have increased and cannot be managed with behavioral intervention and certain medications that can be helpful.

Drugs and therapy alone are not sufficient to maintain balance for a person with fragile mental health. The people in their lives need to be mindful of their condition and to do what they can to support the person. That also means taking care of their own needs so that they can handle the additional stresses the loved one brings to the relationship.

I wasn't careful this morning and the consequence was the loss of a beautiful gift. Aren't our family members and friends with special issues a gift, too? They challenge us to be the best people we can be, with God's help.


 

Next post: Toxic people, toxic environments

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