Loving those with mental illness-

This weekend I watched the HBO special, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks featuring Oprah Winfrey. The movie left me filled with a sense of enlightenment, while provoking thoughts around mental illness particularly of those close to me.  So much so, that I called one of them. The called followed the routine format, I told her I loved her, we talked about our day to day lives. I jumped on the topic of treatment for her condition. (maybe jumped too fast) The same response follows, "I'm not taking that medicine or talking to anyone, I don't need anybody trying to get inside of my head" Fortunately /Unfortunately the nurse in me leaped  out. I provided all the supportive reasons why treatment could potentially improve her life, reminding her that  her symptoms prevent her from experiencing a sense of “normalcy”.   Yet she remains resistant, convinced that treatment is deceptive and designed to change her for the worst. I feel helpless when she responds this way, yet strengthened knowing that change is voluntary and evolves from within. I’m hopeful that one day she’ll be ready and when the time is right she’ll seek adequate treatment. In the meantime, we completed a few mindfulness meditation exercises and engaged in a conversation around appreciation and gratitude. She finds the meditation helpful, but what inspires her most is when I tell her how grateful I am that she’s a part of my life, and I mean it!!  Support your loved ones with mental illness.