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After the holidays have gone, and the new year dawns bright, it is time to consider, “How might we live better?”  The days are cold yet getting brighter longer.  Seeds are germinating in the frozen earth.  This is a good time to experiment with one small change that we have been wanting to make.  The energy is available.

Consider reviewing, “Tips for having a family member with schizophrenia or Serious Mental Illness,” originally by Rex Dickens (supplemented and edited by MentalIllnessPolicy.org) and can be accessed via website and with a link to download a pdf version here: https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/coping/coping-tips-mentally-ill.html

Some of tips that are especially poignant:
1. You cannot cure a mental disorder for a family member.
3. If you feel much resentment, you are giving too much.
8. Separate the person from the disorder.  Love the person, even if you hate the disorder.
16. It may be necessary to renegotiate your emotional relationship.
27.  Mental illnesses, like other diseases, are a part of the varied fabric of life.
37. You have a right to assure your personal safety.
47. Most modern researchers favor a genetic, biochemical (perhaps interuteral), or viral basis. Each individual case may be one, a combination, or none of the above. Genetic predisposition may result from a varied single gene or a combination.

Read: https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/coping/coping-tips-mentally-ill.html

The Replanting Lives Support Group will meet on Tuesday, January 14 from 10:30-noon at the Bedford Council on Aging, the Fitch Room, (12 Mudge Way in Bedford).

Registration preferred https://growastrongfamily.org/replanting-lives/ bottom of the page.

Other blogs that are also very helpful include:

Dede Ranahan’s “Sooner than tomorrow: A safe place to talk about mental illness in our families.”  As Dede says, “My goal, with Blog 1: Your Stories, is to help bring our stories of serious mental illness — and how it impacts individuals, our loved ones and our families — into mainstream discourse.
My goal, with Blog 2: My Diary, is to tell my story and my son’s story – my struggle, as a mom of an adult son with serious mental illness, to somehow align both joy and sadness in my life; and Pat’s brave efforts to live with bipolar disorder. I didn’t know, as I was writing my diary, that I was capturing the last year of his life.”

An excellent support group on Facebook is, “Families For Care Support Group.”  It is a closed group, like ours on Facebook, Grow a Strong Family, Inc. 

“The Stable Table” on Facebook, is for parents and other family members with loved ones who have bipolar or schizoaffective disorder and it is facilitated by Julie A Fast.

MentalIllnessPolicy.org is an organization that advocates for the individuals and their loved ones who have serious mental illnesses.  It is facilitated by DJ Jaffe, author of Insane Consequences.  A great deal of science and research information available both on the website and Facebook page of the same name.

We are in the process of developing a new game!  It is “Bingo for families uprooted by mental illness.”  Stay tuned!  We hope to have a Bingo night debut at our annual meeting in March.