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Family Member Interview

What mental health condition(s) does your loved one have? ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) ODD (Oppositional defiant disorder) Bi-Polar Disorder Are they in your immediate family? Yes Did they feel like they receive the proper medical treatment and/or therapy? I couldn’t tell because of their ODD. To me it seemed as though they hated their treatment. The person’s trigger was authority I believe, and not getting their way. The person never had an episode around me, even when they were not taking medication, which led me to believe that the medication and therapy wasn’t the “cure” (or the only type of treatment that could serve as a cure) for their mental illness. But I am not a doctor so I cannot say for sure. Are they motivated to receive treatment? Why? I couldn’t tell if they weren’t motivated based on their diagnosis, or based on their personality, but they did not like it at all, and most times they were unresponsive to doctors. It has been relayed to me that this person lied a lot to try to get their way. Do you feel like the treatment they have received has benefited them in any way? Part of the treatment was isolation in a group home type situation or boarding school for at-risk kids. I think that sending her up there was a misstep because it opened the doors for her to adapt to behaviors that were worse than her condition, and in fact had nothing to do with it. This person was a completely different person after spending time there, and it was not to her betterment. While there she met with many negative influences, adapted behaviors that they wouldn’t otherwise adapt, and continued on the problematic path they were already on. This place did not seem to help, but rather, hinder their development and betterment. How has their condition affected your life? It made me upset that they sent this person away, and I felt cheated of time they could have spent with me. This person is normal around my brother, my sister, and me. I have never seen them lash out; I have only heard about it from authority figures in this person’s life, which as I said are this person’s triggers because they hate not getting their way. Did your loved one ever become aggressive towards you? Never. Has anyone asked if they we're sick after they met them? Never around me; their condition is not obvious. What has helped you deal with your loved one and their condition? Quiet and gentle pushes and leading by example. I choose logical words, and loving tones. Laughter helps. And since this person is very, very smart, I need to be very, very clear about what I am going to say to the when I am trying to explain things or sway them one way or another. They are usually calm, and if they are upset, they do not disrespect me as they have with others. What do you want people to know about mental illness that they may not already know? Not all mental illnesses are visible. But I also feel like the system does not adequately find ways to rehabilitate patients with mental illnesses. It seems as though keeping them medicated is more profitable to the medical industry; and a “problem child” is just that. I wish people had more of an awareness of the system in place. And I wish there was a much better system for lower income households, and families of color. What piece or pieces of advice would you give to people who are having a hard time dealing with the same condition and person with the same condition? I can only speak from my experience, but I have found that loving tones, gentle pushes, and clear, logical words are more helpful than tones of anger, frustration, and demands; which I have never used with my family member. What phrase, motto, or piece of advice would you tell your younger self to help your transition through the your loved one's condition? It is their journey. You are not responsible for their journey. Keep loving them, even if that means keeping your distance when they need it sometimes.

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