The terrible shooting in DC last week was shocking on many levels. One that really struck me as a parent of a child who suffers with a mental illness is that the shooter was known to have a mental illness, but was untreated at the time. This is tragic. I feel for his family and friends. I don’t believe he was an evil man. I do believe he was a tormented man.
Mental Illness impacts families every day. This is an extreme example. It’s a well-known fact that the mentally ill often refuse to cooperate with treatment. Some can even become violent, but most never do. Parents and families agonize over their powerlessness to help their loved one. They know their family member isn’t well, but can’t get them to accept help. It’s a losing battle unless you have them hospitalized, but they can’t keep them forever.
Maybe your loved one accepted help in the past but it didn’t go well. Side effects, poor follow-up and inconsistency with taking medications are a few reasons. It’s pretty common for the individual to begin feeling better, then convince themselves they no longer need the medication. Against their psychiatrist’s advice, they stop taking it. In time their family members, friends and colleagues begin to see the warning signs return and feelings of great frustration and anger abound. It’s a crazy cycle.
What can you do? There is a great book written just for you by someone who’s been there. The author’s brother suffered with schizophrenia for decades and this method developed out of his personal experiences. It really works and can make a huge difference.
I’ve mentioned this great book before in previous blogs: I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help by Dr. Xavier Amador. He explains the LEAP method that helps change lives. Go to their website at leapinstitute.org to learn more and watch videos.
Here are a few comments from their website:
“Are you at odds with someone or simply trying to improve trust and your ability to work together? Originally LEAP was developed to teach families, health professionals and responders how to better help people with mental illness. Today LEAP is also used by couples, families and businesses to heal strained relationships and build strong partnerships. LEAP Institute has training programs, videos, books and online resources proven to strengthen relationships and help turn ‘adversaries’ into allies.”
The Leap website goes on to say:
Think of the goals you have for the person you’re trying to help and ask yourself: Are you winning on the strength of your argument? Has reason prevailed? How many months, years or decades have you tried?
“I never won on the strength of my argument, I won on the strength of my relationship.”
~Dr. Xavier Amador
Using LEAP®, a respectful, trusting relationship, is much closer than you might think possible. From there, your opinions and help matter; change and recovery become possible.
There motto is: Build Trust – Heal Relationships – Become Partners
If your family is affected by someone’s mental illness, check it out! This resource could even save the life of your loved one while improving your own.
**Dr. Amador is being interviewed tonight on CNN by Piers Morgan at 9pm. It will be worth watching. Touted as one of the national experts in the mental health field, he is often interviewed after mass shootings.
If you watch or are familiar with the Leap method, please post a comment here for the rest of us!
There is help. There is hope. You are not alone. God is there and will be with you in all the pain. I pray He will guide you, give you courage and perseverance today for the next steps of your journey.