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Hang on Tight - No Matter What

One of the things about mental health, alcohol and other drug problems is that they have the power to drive families apart (if we let them). Families are used to hanging in there together 'through thick and thin'. But when we live with the worry and stress of hearing someone we love yell at a voice not in the room, see things that aren't there, become violent, forget to shower or waste away to a shadow of themselves..., then hanging on tight to each other becomes hard. Disagreements about how to deal with these problems can divide families as they try to work out what's going on and how best to help. And then there are the 'suggestions' from others about how to deal with the family member 'causing problems'. These suggestions, although intended to be helpful are often full of blame and judgement and further divide families. Some of the things I have learned across time is the importance of being patient, to learn as much as I can about mental health, alcohol and other drug problems, to seek support, to get help to learn how to manage the situation and to hang on tight to each other, no matter what. This means, taking time out from talking and thinking about problems. Making sure that I hug my partner, walk my dog, spend time with other children in the family, go to a movie, talk to a counsellor, tell family members to have a rest from talking about 'it', puddle in my garden...I have learned that it's important to mix up the serious side of dealing with these problems with having a rest, having some fun and hanging on tight to self care, family and support.

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