Two Magic Questions

I have a really smart, upbeat and motivated friend who isn’t crazy. I mean, she’s crazy, but more of a “likes to have fun and make you laugh” crazy and less of a “diagnosed with a mental illness” crazy. Don’t get me wrong, she’s human and has struggles, but she and I struggle with different things and don’t expect each other to fix the other person, so it works out well. Recently she was telling me she has another mentally ill friend (we’re all over the place!) and she asked a wise and godly nurse how she can help this person. The nurse gave two questions to ask consistently. Two questions that anyone with any mental illness should be asked.

If you’re a person with a mental illness, or you’re the loved one of a person with a mental illness, you need to ask these questions regularly:

1. Is it time to re-evaluate my/your medication?

2. Am I/Are you seeing a counselor regularly?

Whether you take medication or not, your body is changing. You’re getting older, you may be gaining or losing weight, your hormones (even you men) are changing, your body could be tolerating your medications differently. Your body will not be the same every month or year. Your medication may need to be changed and you should be evaluating that regularly. But check with your doctor before doing ANY medication changes on your own!

Whatever your mental illness is it’s always going to be easier to go through if you’re able to sort things out with a counselor. Some of us will need more counsel more often than others, but all people with mental illness need to be seeing a counselor. If you don’t like yours, find it too inconvenient to get to, they cost too much, etc then change counselors. I live in a small town and there aren’t a lot of options for counseling, but that won’t stop me from finding a good fit. Be sure you’re not just shopping around or avoiding them because you don’t want to dig into your messed up insides. That’s not helpful. Go see a counselor.

That’s it. Two magic questions. Medication and Counseling. Go ask yourself if you need to add more or less of those. If you don’t know the answer, go ask your “likes to have fun and make you laugh” crazy friend and see what they say.

5 thoughts on “Two Magic Questions”

  1. Nailed it! (Again)

    Counseling is vital, especially for us stupid men who wouldn’t dare talk to our buds about our struggles.

    After 7 straight years on strong medication, I had a major meds change- just 3 weeks ago(!). Fortunately I see a counselor on a regular basis. He tracks my progress(or lack of) and sees my walk of faith. As a Christian guy with serious medical issues and struggling with spousal abandonment, I was still unprepared for the meds change that plunged me into deep, dark waters. For the first time ever, I felt abandoned by God. The experience is beyond description.

    Before I was able to visit my pastor, it was the wisdom of my non-Believer counselor that assured me that God had NOT abandoned me. He reminded me of all the testimony of a loving, ever faithful, never changing God in 3 parts that I professed to him that lived in me. He told me he sees the evidence of something different (a living faith) and admires me. I saw in his eyes he’s been moved through these years of counseling sessions.
    He said the only thing that changed was my medication, my body’s reaction, and how I was feeling. *BOOM

    If you’re reading this and struggling, really struggling…
    If the battle inside seems relentless (it is), clouded…
    Get help! Speak up! Say something!

    Don’t be the one who causes “Friendly Fire” casualties in the fog of war.

    1. Thank you for sharing! It’s good to hear from other’s experiences and I’m glad to hear from men too!

      1. Seeing my counselor tomorrow. The timing is spot on.

        He’s a great listener, and will be able to recap if necessary, the last appointment which is perfect for my damaged short-term memory.
        I experience a memory dump every night, which adds to my daily struggle.

        The right counselor is critical.

  2. I might word it a little differently, depending on our relationship. If I am close, and can get their doctor’s name, I might say, “How about next Tuesday I take you out to lunch and then, you know, I really want to double check on all your meds … maybe there’s a new one out ! I’ll go with you to the doctors and we’ll talk to him/her. OK?” My sister and I had a appt to go with my dad to do this. He killed himself the day before the appt. He was on drugs completely contra-indicated. This was before the interne, so we did not know. If you are not the relative a doctor will speak with, entreat a relative who is.

    1. Thank you for sharing!!! I hope that your deeply-personal story will be heard by others who have dragged their feet about taking their loved one to an appointment!

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