What Do You Do With Someone With Mental Health Problems?

Usually, when I title a blog with a question you would expect for me to find some kind of answer to said question in the blog below, but, spoiler alert, this week that ain’t gonna happen because today I genuinely am asking all you guys out there what on earth you do with a person with mental health problems.

I suppose to be more exact I should specify that there is a particular person with mental health problems in mind when I ask this question, perhaps obviously, me.

You see, as far as questions go, this is quite a big one that is perplexing and confusing the many therapists and family members in my life, and considering that none of them can find the answer, today I figured I would ask you lovely lot, aka the wonderful readers of my blog, for your opinion, because if you can’t go to the internet to solve all your problems and big questions in life then quite frankly where can you go? (don’t say a therapist, trust me they are stumped on this one too). 

You see me and my family are sort of stuck playing a game of Where’s Wally right now, although slightly different as we are well aware of where Wally is and just need a place to put him. Wally in this situation is me (I even have the glasses for it…just missing the stripy sweater and hat…actually thinking about it the glasses I am wearing are the only things that make this remotely like a game of Where’s Wally…Wally was never stuck as to where to go because of mental health problems and if he was then that gives those activity books a whole new spin to them), and lately there has been a big question as to what to do with me. 

You may remember that after coming out of hospital, the plan was for me to stay home and follow some ground rules set by my parents, but shortly after my departure from the loony bin it was clear that I was unable to follow those ground rules and consequently we came up with the plan of me moving into my own flat…However now…yeah…it doesn’t look like that will be possible as although the purchase of the flat is still going swimmingly (I think…I have never been one to understand the purchase of properties), it doesn’t look like I will be able to cope living there by myself as planned. On one hand I am fully convinced that I could do it, but considering the week I just had when my parents were away in Cyprus, perhaps that is naive of me to assume blindly that I could cope all by myself as when trying to live by myself for just one week in my own home, things did not go to plan. Indeed, a mere hour in my own company and I was on the brink of suicide, hence why my dear best friend had to step in and save the day and come to stay with me, so maybe independent living isn’t the thing for me at the moment, and that is why I am posing you this question today as to what to do. I cannot stay at home living with my parents as I am still unable to follow the ground rules required and am in short, driving them around the bend with my mental health problems (it is a lot to ask of people to live with a complete lunatic and one of these days I am going to give one or both of my parents a mental breakdown themselves at this rate), but it seems I cannot live alone elsewhere either, hence the question of where to put me. 

At the moment, the option my parents are pushing for is for me to go into this sort of long term hospital like place which is less like a hospital setting and more like a communal living area for people with mental health problems. I however am not keen on this idea and really I want to stay as far away from communal living spaces as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one who is completely set against mental health hospitals, after-all I have been in many myself on previous occasions, but they are not places that I particularly like being and in my eyes, as bad as things are at the moment, I really want to do all I can to be treated and to get better somehow in the community as an outpatient. To be fair this hospital place isn’t like most other hospitals, there is no long corridor and like I said it is more of a communal house with a big family living space and a huge garden (a garden so big in fact that it is basically one giant vegetable patch…they even grow cabbages there and are looking into getting cows and chickens which has caused me to name the place “The Literal Funny Farm” to my mum’s annoyance…she really likes the place…can you tell I am not keen…). Still, despite the fact it isn’t like a  regular hospital I am still not convinced. Part of this I will admit is an OCD issue as the idea of communal living gives me all kinds of heebie jeebies what with sharing bathrooms and other areas, but also the problem is that I do not want to live surrounded by people with mental health problems. Obviously I do not mean this in an offensive way nor do I have any judgement against people with mental health problems, how could I, I am one, but there is something about living with other people with mental health struggles that I have always found difficult and potentially triggering. When you are insane yourself but live with sane people I always find it sort of gives you an idea of normality for you to try and follow however hard that may be, but when you are insane and living with other like minded people, as nice as it is to have people to relate to, crazy is in a sense a version of what is normal, and I have always found long periods of time in situations like that problematic which is what this would be. This hospital is not a place where people go for a few weeks to recuperate but a place people go for six months to a year to do serious long term pieces of work and I just do not feel ready for that, especially having just come out of a five month admission to a hospital only recently. To be honest I still feel like and want to feel like I am settling in at home but it doesn’t seem that that will be possible much longer for the sake of my parents physical and mental health…

Which is why I am asking you all this question today. What do you do or what would you do with a  person with mental health problems aka me, a person who is currently very much entrenched in their own lunacy but very much lost as to where to go? Seriously, I am asking you lot because of all the people in my life you are perhaps the people who, alongside my therapists and family members, know me best. After all you read my ramblings on a weekly basis (at least if you are a regular reader you do and if you are please know that I think of you as very special), therefore who would be better to answer this question? So, people of the internet, dear blog readers and lovely people who have just stumbled upon this blog today, tell me honestly, what do you think and where do you think I should go?

In my dreams I would ideally like to stay at home as I may have mentioned a million times but if that is not possible which do you think is the best alternative? Living all by myself in my own flat even when a mere hour of doing so in my own home went terribly wrong or living in a communal farm like area for people with mental health problems with a passion for growing cabbages? Or maybe you have a third option, who knows, all I do know is that I don’t have the answers and if any of you out there could help a mental out with a few words of wisdom, I really would appreciate it. I realise it is asking quite a lot for you to make a decision as to what happens at this next stage in my life but I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t seriously in need of some good old fashioned friend (for I consider you all to be my friends of the highest quality) to blogger advice. 

Either way, whatever you lovely bunch decide or think, I am curious to hear your thoughts as right now being landed with this question all by my lonesome is quite the burden and is one I cannot carry much longer. So what do you do with and where do you put a person with mental health problems? I really don’t know, but I sincerely hope that someone out there has the answers as lord knows I need some. 

Take care everyone x 

Cabbage

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28 thoughts on “What Do You Do With Someone With Mental Health Problems?

    • Unfortunately not because they have the same problems with living with me as my parents do long term (it only worked before because it was on a short term basis), but I definitely like the way you think and think that would have been a great idea if it were possible! Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it! xxx

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  1. Just some thinking…

    I think first, you should sit down with both of your parents and look at those rules/guidelines that were set up for when you got out of the hospital. Go over each one, and maybe try to come up with an agreement that would be more realistic for you to try. You keep saying you can’t/won’t abide by their guidelines, but why? Are they too extreme? Is it because it’s their rules, not yours? Then negotiate. Make it a 50/50 thing. And then slide in some consequences of not following the rules that you then agree to (that are partially your rules). I think you should put that mental health/communal living place on the table. I think it needs to be seriously considered if you can’t make it work with your parents. I don’t want to say it’d be punishment, and I know it would be difficult, but I think it could be a good challenge for you. Also, I don’t think the people living in these places are comparable to hospital patients. They are people that also want to get their lives together, but know they can’t do it on their own (yet). You might actually find some good and healthy support in that environment.

    I kinda think you don’t want to consider it and are making it up to be triggering/too scary because you don’t want to change/challenge your mental health. But nothing ever changes when you don’t try to change, you know? Sorry to be blunt, but that’s what I think. You have to force yourself out of your comfort zone, outside of rituals and behaviors. You just have to if you ever want to make any progress.

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    • I really appreciate you being so honest with me in this comment because that is what I need so thank you for that as well as the advice! I think when it comes to the rules thing the ones that my parents have set up are not unreasonable at all it is just that I am too ill to follow them…in which case I think you might be right about the communal living option. It isn’t that I don’t want to change that makes it so scary though, it is that it challenges so many things all at once which I find overwhelming but like you said that might be the option I have to go for. Since posting this I want to let you know that I have at least agreed to go to this communal living place as a day patient initially to see how I find it so there is that…now it is just a case of waiting for the funding to come through which could take lord knows how long! Thank you for your advice today though, I really appreciate a friend who is able to be blunt with me. Have a fabulous day pal xxx

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  2. Appleslover has expressed similar thoughts to what I have been thinking since reading your post earlier so I won’t repeat them and will instead refer to the wisdomical words above.

    The other thing I have wondered for many months now is what do YOU want? Do you want to be free from anorexia/OCD/etc? Honestly and truly, do you actually want this? I don’t mean this critically but from a place of knowing what the fear of letting go of something that, as hideous as it is, is known, familiar and safe. You may feel ambivalent. Or maybe that you just want to keep bits of each but get rid of the rest (news flash: you can’t). No amount of inpatient/daypatient/outpatient/residential treatment is going to help if you don’t want it. Like Appleslover said, you say you “can’t do X” but why? What is stopping you? And if it’s the illness that’s stopping you, do you want help to make it stop stopping you? Just as an aside, you will never be free from the ed and ocd thoughts whilst underweight. Brains and bodies need to be fully nourished for that to even start. Sent with care and curiosity x

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    • Gah you make such good but hard hitting points because I think you are right about many things with regard to my situation. I can be honest and say I do want to change but I am admittedly very much in that place of wanting to keep bits of each and get rid of the rest which is perhaps what makes this all so scary. Since writing this I have agreed to go day patient at that communal living place though so I guess that is a step in the right direction as I am willing to try it out and see how I get on rather than rejecting it outright. It is now just a case of waiting for funding if I can get any! Thank you for being so honest with me though, I really appreciate it as well as your advice. Hope you are having a fabulous day xx

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  3. This might be super expensive, but could you have a professional carer live with you in your parents’ house or the apartment until you feel a bit better?

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    • That is a very good idea and one I would like very much! In actual fact we are currently looking into whether or not that would be possible as a thing too so great minds think alike! Thank you for your advice, seriously I really appreciate you taking the time to send me this idea! Have a fabulous day xxx

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  4. I think you would be entitled to an assessment by social services under the Care Act which might open up some new options including supported living and/or possibility of a personal budget so you can choose what your care looks like – hiring support workers who could visit/live-in if you moved out of your parents. I think ED services generally forget about what social services can / should offer and social services probably don’t deal with many people with EDs so may be a battle to get your foot in the door but possibly worth a go? Sorry butting in as a stranger, I know following your blog for a while doesn’t mean I really know you but as a social worker (albeit in a different field) and someone whose had a few friends in positions not dissimilar to you I thought I’d add my tuppence-worth given you’re asking. Sorry if I’m not making any sense! Best of luck with whatever you go for xxx

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    • Wow thank you so much! Since you have typed out this comment looking into getting a social worker is actually something I have pursued to see what would be available to me at this time so thank you very much for taking the time to make this suggestion! You are awesome and I really appreciate your support here, have a fabulous day xxx

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  5. I agree with what others have said that it could help to identify the problems with living at home. What is it specifically that means you can’t stay at home? If you and your parents could take turns suggesting solutions to those issues and then decide together which solution would be acceptable to you both for each issue, that could help. Perhaps you’ve already done this so apologies for redundant advice if so! Another idea would be perhaps either you or your parents could stay somewhere else at the weekends? Then you would both be getting what you want to a degree. Those are my thoughts for what they’re worth. This is a really tough situation and I do hope you find a way through it that works for you all. I so admire you and your parents for all the bravery and care for each other you show! Very very best 😀 xx

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    • Thank you so much for this advice! At the moment the reason I cannot stay at home is because all of my rituals and moods are taking too much of a toll on my parents and they simply do not have the energy or strength to deal with it any longer. I do however like your idea of staying somewhere else on weekends and am starting to wonder whether I would be able to live part time in the flat and part time at home. For me I think that would be the ideal solution in terms of what I actually want right now so good on you for suggesting it! Seriously really appreciate you taking the time to offer your support and I will keep you updated with what ends up happening. Have a fabulous day my dear xxx

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  6. I agree with the wise comments you have received so far. I do hear how painful this is for you and I hope you receive this with the care and concern with which it is written as it is in no way meant to hurt you. It may well be that giving up what you know and what is safe is consciously or unconsciously very scary. It is also very common and understandable. But, not making a choice is, in fact, a choice. A decision as to where you live will be made one way or the other. You were able to abide by the rules for OCD and eating disorder behaviors on the inpatient unit. It is easier to say that it was the fact that you had no choice, but again, you did have a choice. You won’t move forward unless you challenge those OCD behaviors and you have demonstrated that you can because you did it in the hospital. Now is the perfect time to sit with your parents and hammer out those rules because there isn’t anything to lose. I remember telling my son that things would not return to the way they were before inpatient and I meant it. I have other children and we couldn’t live that way again. I also did it because I love him. His choice was to challenge the OCD and abide by the rules or decisions would be made for him and residential treatment or back to inpatient would be decided by his dad and I. It sounds harsh, but he needed the push! Nothing stays the same, Katie. It sounds like there is going to be change and the question is whether or not you decide what that will look like. I do know its hard because it was hard for me to challenge those OCD symptoms and still is some days. It takes learning and practicing distress tolerance and then some, but people do it and you can too.

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    • Wow, thank you for being so honest with me…I almost don’t know quite what to say in reply because you pretty much hit the nail on the head in every respect and I have no comeback! All I will say then is thank you for taking the time to offer these words of support and help and for being blunt with me about things that I may not want to admit or think about. Honestly it means a lot. Thinking of you and the family xxx

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  7. heya. sorry to hear you had a bad time of staying in your parents house by yourself Marbles.
    to me it sounds like the biggest problem with home is that it is exhausting for your parents and you feel anyone else who could stay with you.
    i don’t know very much about this, and i’m not sure it’s actually available in the uk, but it sounds like some kind of adult mental health fostering service is what you want…i.e community based, not community based but not living alone either, not exhausting your parents and yourself, someone normal to compare to, etc etc.

    there is a big gap in care services for mental health, especially when we treat anyone who has problems as if it is individual and not a societally affected thing….you are correct I feel when you say living in the community is better than lumping everyone with problems together…we are very affected by who we live with.
    it is cheaper to group people together even if it creates a weird out-of-the-norm community, which is why adult fostering or hiring a live-in support network is not the norm.

    sorry that your options are a bit shitty. for now probably the best thing is to support yourself to find better ways to stay as stable as you ever are, and i think also for your parents to be making sure they get the support they need to know how to help you best e.g what kind of ground rules will be realistic. ultimately i’m sure they want you to feel more well, have they had enough help to be able to find ways for everyone to be well together? social workers are meant to make sure that carers are supported as well so hopefully that should be happening too.

    sorry if this is too much as well, i’m interested in your (as always beautifully and amusingly written, i loved the bit about wally lol) story and hope you find a good way forward together. ❤

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      • Thank you for the info! This is so interesting! I wish this was available where I live but in the meantime I will have to look into the social worker idea in the UK which I think is the next best thing…thank you for this though!

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    • Wow, thank you so much! I think you are one of the first people ever to actually get where my parents are coming from on all this! In the UK things are a bit complicated (aren’t they always!) but I am actually trying to look into whether or not I could have some kind of social worker help me to live in the flat by myself so that is a very good idea you have suggested when it comes to the fostering idea! For now though I think it is just a waiting game as to see what will come of our enquiries into what is available…I will have to keep you updated on that one but in the meantime thank you so much for taking the time to offer your support and advice! Seriously I really appreciate it especially what you said about my blog and your kindness has really made me smile today. I hope you are having a fabulous afternoon/evening whenever you read this and I generally just want to send you a massive thank you for this comment! Much love and hugs xxxx Marbles

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      • Thanks 🙂 I also had another thought before, maybe slightly more realistic idk, is part time “communal living” and part time at home? It might be tricky to arrange but if you lived in an open mental health residential placement you could still stay with your parents like over weekends and stuff.
        Also, I know you hate the idea of communal living and you raised a) not having a normal atmosphere and b) OCD sharing / hygiene fears; it might not help but in my opinion staying regularly with your parents and staying involved in the “community” would help counteract issues of living with others who struggle with stability, and in a mental health rehab place where I previously worked the bathrooms were all ensuites and this seems to be the norm (I,e it is the same with hospitals and at a different residential place I worked, not a big pool I know but still). Perhaps it would be worth looking at what is in your area and seeing how much of an option it actually is?
        Obvs this is more of a bodge on the existing system than the thing that would most help you, but thought I’d suggest it as possibly a realistic compromise that you might not have considered yet. Best wishes ^_^ xoxoxo !

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  8. This is likely a completely unrealistic, outlandish possibility — but have you ever considered trying an ED treatment facility in the USA? I’ve read several blogs by individuals under NHS care, and ED treatment in the U.K. sounds so different from treatment in the US. I mean the facilities and programs themselves sound very different. There are some similarities, and there probably are places that still operate quite like the hospitals in U.K; but overall the programs and facilities here have become much less “hospital-like” and have had good success. I think higher success rates. In the places I’ve been there have been a few times I’ve come across patients from other countries seeking treatment in the US. Again, I know this sounds probably unrealistic. I am just wondering if trying a different form of treatment might actually make all the difference.

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    • This is such an interesting suggestion and I must say is one I have never considered before! I am not sure how possible it is for financial reasons but after this suggestion I am certainly going to look into the possibility! Thank you! xx

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      • I would suggest Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado. It might be worth a call to them to talk about the financial options. Of all the places I’ve been, they have been the most lenient with payment and reducing costs. I’m sure they have something worked out with international patients. And they’re arguably the premier treatment system in the US.

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