Social Isolation in People With Mental Illness

Before my Complex PTSD and Trauma was triggered watching Leigh Sales interview Cardinal George Pell on the 7.30 Report on the Royal Commission in 2012 where he said “the Catholic Church wasn’t the only cab off the rank with child abuse !”, I had a fulfilled life, was happy working in our own business with four happy children, two at University, one doing the HSC,¬†one in the first year of high school and in a very happy marriage. Life was good and with those words, my world came crumbling down and I descended into oblivion. My life as I knew it was snatched from me and it is only the love and strength of my marriage that has remained. Friends bar one have not coped. They have gradually fallen by the wayside one by one. It’s tragic, sad and a sad indictment on the understanding of mental illness in our society. The SANE Organisation conducted a surveyed which concluded “Having a mental illness can make it harder to maintain relationships for a variety of reasons. Stigma and misunderstanding in the community about mental illness can mean people are reluctant to engage with those affected. The minute someone knows you have a mental illness, you are treated differently”. SANE

It hurts really badly that friends you have supported through thick and thin cannot support you. Cannot visit you in the clinic, visit you at home. Accept that yes, you have tried to commit suicide but it does not mean you do not love your family any less. Why can they not educate themselves about your illness like you did about their breast cancer ? Why can they not drive you to a psychiatrist appointment like you drove them to a chemotherapy appointment? Can not do coffee this week? Suddenly it has been five weeks. Then you realise you have not seen them for five months. Dinner party invitations reduce and are then not non-existent. The phone stops ringing. Has stopped. Except for one loyal beautiful friend who has not given us up and stays in touch all the time and we have wonderful normal time with her and is invaluable to our family. We need the support but we also need the normalcy of her life and want to know what is happening for her, her husband and children. We cherish that. So if you have a friend going through mental illness involve her/him in your life. It is the best support you can give. Do not be afraid of their illness. It is not contagious !!!

7 comments

  1. Ever notice how many of the people who claim they ‘recovered’ from mental illness didn’t do it alone? I’ve seen many instances where someone has said “I couldn’t have done this without my friends, SO or family”. It’s true….

    • Yes it is true. I couldn’t have done it without my family and my good friends but I was shocked at how many people couldn’t handle mental illness. There is a still a huge stigma around it all. Thanks for commenting. Appreciate it. All the best. Erin

      • Those of us who don’t have those things should not be called selfish when we give up I wish people could understand it’s usually not a fight you can win alone. Even with support, it’s an uphill battle that many people succumb to. Without support from people who aren’t just “professionals” paid to listen and fill you with psych meds, it’s as good as impossible unless you have some sort of strong reason to carry on living

  2. If they aren’t there for you, fuck em. Harsh words, I know. Though, I do know from my own experience, I’m bad at checking in with friends in any situation because of my own mental health issues. I do try to check in on them when something bad is going on. But it varies from person to person & if they can’t support you… fuck em.

  3. I think it is the fact most people cannot take the intensity of our process. The toll of living with a broken self and waging a war everyday just to survive the day psychologically and physically – even many sensitive and well meaning people are unable to fathom that experience… it hurts but the truth is even the most well meaning and sensitive people are in most cases unable to understand the damage done by CSA…

    • I think you are absolutely right. People just can’t hang in there for the intensity required. It’s so disappointing when you need support the most. CSA is very difficult topic as you say. Good luck for the future. All the best Erin

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin