The aftermath and recovery from a mental breakdown, I believe, is a less understood process for family members and there is a lower awareness for the public in general. It is hugely accepted that when a person undergoes a physical trauma of some sort, the recovery time and the need for assistance also may be part of the healing process. However, less understanding and compassion is given to the one that is in need of an emotional or mental recovery. Why is that?
Physical ailments to the body and mental ailments as well need to be treated with respect in regard to the difficulties and assistance that one may require after the damage. A physical recovery can be seen by the eye as to how to help the one in need, whereas a mental recovery is a more hidden wound. There are physical therapists, nursing assistants, other healthcare providers, and family that are seen with the difficulty of a physical rehabilitation or recovery. However, less empathy and physical help is given when there is a psychological insult and hospitalization is required. The road to recovery is achieved with much effort, no matter what the condition may be.
To be in a place of recovery for a mental illness is decreasing the stimuli and focusing on the “milieu” of the treatment facility. There is a need for emotional help and therapeutic skills to help with anxiety, as well as coping skills. Education is available for medication management. Treating the chaos and recovering the mind is the goal. And if someone is depressed, has anxiety, has been treated for a psychotic experience, or any other multiple conditions, they need a great deal of understanding and an ability to maintain some of that stability when leaving the hospital. To jump right back into a stressful daily lifestyle with children and work and family or relationship demands without a plan of obtaining some form of help is setting someone up to fail. There may also be outpatient care that can help with that aspect of care as well. Sometimes getting someone to help with parenting duties, laundry, or help with reorganizing every day lifestyle needs (including medication management) is a supportive way to be of help. Maintaining a decreased stress environment and gradually readjusting is so necessary.
Helping to guide someone or just being a friend and being close by when able is useful as well. A supportive ear and helping with day to day chores and organization is helpful also. Being isolated immediately after hospitalization without someone to check in and talk with is not ideal. Also coming over to someone’s house who is recovering, and being someone who is loud, fast-paced, or has the idea of being a house guest without the assistance of being supportive should reconsider. Recovery is what is most important.
If someone just had their appendix out, and was trying to do laundry and run after the kids while having their brother and spouse arguing and mocking each other loudly over a game in the kitchen, this would obviously be too much for their first day home. This concept is the same for a psychological recovery. Healing always needs compassion.