There are many aspects of mental illness that make it difficult for people to deal with, and not just the person afflicted with the illness. Family is as important for those with mental illness as it is for those who are grieving a loss.
A good example is my own family. My mother was nice enough to me hen I was younger, I was the First Born, the Eldest Son, the Future Provider, who would care for her and my step father when they became too old to care for themselves. After my diagnosis at age 20, they went through a similar process as they would if I had died. First they denied it. Then they became angry (at me) about it. Soon it evolved into indifference, and after that into contempt.
My mother blames me for things I have no control over, like my little brother who was caught cheating on his girlfriend, with not one, not two, but three different girls, all of them minors and one of them her own little sister. I was accused by my family of having told her about his ‘excursions’. This of course devastated me enough, that my own mother would make ME into the bad guy in this situation. But her next words nearly put me on the fast, slippery slope to suicide.
“I should have had an abortion.”
Yes, my mother, the woman I love and cherish as the one who gave me life, said those words to my face. There is no love like a mother’s love, so the pain at having your mother, who is supposed to love you no matter what, is unimaginable.
But I could have it worse. Like this poor kid who had his mother compare him to a serial killer, publicly, on her blog. The kid has Bi Polar, and as such was prone to fits of rage because doctors kept misdiagnosing him.
If you have a loved one who has mental illness, please, be there for them, don’t avoid them out of fear, don’t regret your relationship with them, even if it seems like they hate you, because they don’t, they are just angry and scared because of their illness.
If you do have a family member or friend who has a mental illness and you don’t know how to ‘deal with it’, there are many programs around the country, usually at least one in every city, that offer sessions on how to cope with having a mentally ill person in your life.