Difficult Days in Treatment
We wish that treatment and recovery were easy. But it may be the most challenging work that your loved one – and you - have done.
We know how difficult it is when someone you love is suffering. But the only way that your loved one will be able to treat and cope with their condition — and thrive — is to do the work recommended in treatment and dedicate themselves to a full recovery.
Feeling Ambivalent About Treatment
When your loved one begins treatment, you may wonder if this is the right place for them. You may wonder if they are really "sick enough" to need help. Alternatively, you may feel a huge sense of relief.
At times, our patients and their families will ask if a higher level of care is truly necessary. We frequently hear our patients say:
- “I’m not as sick as the other patients are.”
- “I have no friends here.”
- I feel worse since coming here.”
- "They don’t know how to treat my condition(s).”
- “I’m not on the right meds.”
These statements are normal and to be expected; typically, these types of feelings will pass within a few days.
If you or your loved one feel ambivalent or unsure about the course of treatment, know that you have a choice. You can choose to work towards a long-lasting recovery, or you can choose life with a mental health condition and everything that comes with it. If you choose the path to recovery, know that full recovery will not be possible without hard work.
Often, when it comes to young people in treatment, we encounter the following scenario: parents drop their child off at the treatment center and feel an acute sense of relief. Yet the child is suddenly left without their coping behaviors, immediately feeling overwhelmed, and frequently lacking insight into how and why they feel a certain way.
Negative experiences are normal and to be expected at some point in recovery. Tears, anxiety and anger are part of the process. But if you find that your loved one is actively resisting care, consider the following:
- Validate them. Tell them you understand how hard this is.
- Support them. Tell them that this is the right place to be.
- Encourage them. If your child continues to resist treatment, ask your child to share these thoughts and feelings with their therapist — and make sure you talk to the treatment team directly.
The Toughest Days of Treatment
In treatment, your loved one will likely experience physical sensations and emotions that they have not felt for some time. This can be overwhelming and unpleasant. We remind our patients that this discomfort is temporary, and that “it’s okay to have a bad day.” In time, the pain and discomfort will lessen and become manageable.
The first few days and weeks of treatment are inevitably challenging. In these difficult moments, remind yourself of the why: why your loved one considered treatment in the first place. It’s likely they began treatment because they were facing a severe, and possibly life-threatening, health crisis.
Please know that your loved one is safe with us. Our care facilities are designed to keep our patients physically and emotionally safe, with an environment rooted in mindfulness, awareness and connection. Their well-being will always be our top priority.
Making Progress in Recovery
Recovery does not always occur in a straight line; in fact, it is rarely linear. There are often setbacks, in addition to celebrated successes, on the path to recovery. Your love and support will be crucial to help your loved one navigate the rough patches.
If you are the parent of a child who is ill, you may want to do what you can to “fix” your child’s problem — and you may want to fix things quickly. Yet the truth is: you cannot fix it for them. Instead, you can support, validate and encourage them to do the hard work of treatment. Their job is to focus on getting better and your job is to support them.
Supporting Your Loved One in Care
Treatment is often overwhelming and emotional for everyone involved. It takes time and a lot of work to process these hard changes. One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is that you talk openly with the treatment team and trust the clinical guidance. Moreover, our family programming will give you the skills to support your loved one not only during the treatment process, but also when they return home to life outside treatment.