A Balanced Life: Nine Strategies for Coping with the Mental Health Problems of a Loved One

A Balanced Life: Nine Strategies for Coping with the Mental Health Problems of a Loved One

by Tom Smith

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A Balanced Life: Nine Strategies for Coping with the Mental Health Problems of a Loved One by Tom Smith

A practical, compassionate guide to building a supportive relationship with someone with a mental illness--while taking care of yourself.

The ultimate goal of those with a mental disorder and the people who love them is balance: emotional, mental, spiritual, and behavioral. Yet, living with and responding to a mentally ill person often leads to the chaos of a relationship where the rules change, the dynamics are volatile, and the expectations are unanchored. In readable, down-to-earth prose, A Balance Life teaches family and friends what they can expect from those they love who have mental health problems. It offers nine clear-cut strategies for implementing a plan to support them, including how to:assist a loved one in developing healthy self-esteemaccept mental illness as a fact of lifeidentify early warning signs that precede a more difficult phase of the illnesscreate a supportive network of family and friendsEach strategy is illustrated by inspiring stories of real people who have put the principles into practice, and is followed by key questions that ask to ponder their own situations. This is the to bringing order to chaos, providing a framework for reactions to the person who has a mental illness. It clarifies expectations and offers advice and encouragement.Tom Smith is the cofounder of the Karla Smith Foundation, which supports parents and loved ones of mentally ill people. He is author of several articles and books, including God on the Job and Alive in the Spirit."A unique blend of inspiration, compassion, and practical advice, every person coming to grips with the mental health problems of a loved one deserves to hear the message of hope, love, and faith infused within this book." Kim T. Mueser, Ph.D., co-author of The Family Intervention Guide to Mental Illness"Effective, practical strategies for families and friends of people who struggle with mental illness. Each chapter is punctuated by real stories of hope, as well as questions for discussion or personal reflection. A handy, useful toolkit." Herbert E Mandell, M.D., National Medical Director of Kids Peace"An invaluable resource. I wish my own loved ones had had it sooner, and I'll be sharing it with them now. Highly recommended." Marya Hornbacher, author of Madness: A Bipolar Life

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592858095
Publisher: Hazelden Publishing
Publication date: 07/30/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 168
File size: 789 KB

About the Author

Tom Smith is the cofounder of the Karla Smith Foundation, which supports parents and loved ones of mentally ill people. The foundation was named after his daughter, Karla, who suffered from bipolar disorder before eventually taking her own life. Visit the foundation's web site at karlasmithfoundation.org. Smith is also the author of The Tattered Tapestry: A Family's Search for Peace with Bipolar Disorder, which he wrote with his wife, Fran Smith, and his son, Kevin. Tom Smith describes how he came to write A Balanced Life: In the second semester of her sophomore year in college, our daughter, Karla, suddenly went into a deep depression. We didn't know what to do. Two years later, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and for the next five years, we struggled with the roller-coaster emotions of her depressions and her mania and psychosis. What could we do to help her? We tried everything we knew. We loved her. We consoled her. We challenged her. Throughout it all, we witnessed her pain, and suffered our own. She shot herself when she was 26, and our grief continues. This frightening and tragic experience led to the creation of the Karla Smith Foundation as a means to help other people who love a person with mental illness. My book, A Balanced Life, describes the nine strategies we wish we knew and practiced when Karla was alive. They would have helped us cope with her illness. My interest in writing A Balanced Life grew out of my experience with our support group for the family and friends of anyone with a mental illness. Through listening to the problems and solutions of members of this group, and through recalling my own life with Karla and her bipolar disorder, I developed the nine strategies as a summary of the effective actions that these people used and that I wish I had used. We needed a simple, effective program that could guide our reactions to a loved one with mental illness. These nine strategies are similar to the 12 steps of AA, Al-Anon, etc. in that the strategies provide direction specifically geared toward the unique, complex, frustrating, and fearful lives of people who love someone with serious mental health problems. Each of the strategies confronts an aspect of the life of a person with a mental disorder. Each strategy offers a plan to counteract that challenging aspect.

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