Living with Someone with Psychosis
For those individuals living with a person with psychosis, life can sometimes feel very difficult. Their behaviour may seem odd, which at times can leave you feeling frightened or angry, and you may find you lose your temper. Alternatively, you may feel intensely worried and find that you are always wondering where they are and what they will do next.
The inevitable questions arise such as What happens in the Future if Things go on on like this ?
How am I going to Cope ? This can often leave you feeling anxious and upset.
If you are a person living with a person with psychosis, it is not surprising if you find yourself experiencing a broad range of emotions including worry and anger.
Caring for someone is always stressful, and many carers can find it depressing without some help. Unfortunately, becoming upset or angry may not be helpful for the individual with psychosis and yourself, and can possibly make things worse. This is because the individual with psychosis may become easily upset themselves and may find it difficult to take being criticised or being fussed over.
As a relative, having the opportunity to talk with other people may help you to understand and manage some of those feelings. On a very practical level, one of the best things for both of you to do is to try not to spend all of your time together. It is important for you both to have your own space, maintain your own interests, and have time on your own. This will ensure that you do not get in each other’s way so much. It is also important that the person with psychosis attempts to lead as independent a life as possible. It will help them to gain confidence, which is often lost when you have these type of mental health problems. Sometimes your local mental health team will arrange day care for the person with psychosis. They may help them with gaining more skills or developing an interest.
In the time that you do spend together, it is important to try not to shout, or criticise, or get too worried. This is the hardest part, as you may feel you are not caring enough, or you may worry that your relative will think that you are not interested in them. However, in the long run it could be better for both of you. The person with psychosis may find things easier if you do not have to do so much and you may find you are feeling less strain.
If your relative with psychosis holds a particular belief about something or someone that you do not believe is true, constantly trying to argue your point to make the person change their mind will not help. It is more useful to acknowledge and tolerate the other person’s view, even if it is not the same as your own. You do not have to agree but ‘agree to differ’. Using this approach does not mean that you are less likely to end up having difficult or upsetting arguments with each other. Sometimes asking about how the person feels can help the both of you.
It is very important that you remember to look after your own needs, that you do not stop doing the things that you enjoy and which can help you relax. This could mean trying to maintain contact with friends and relatives, attending supportive groups or just spending regular time on your own without your relative.