One of the issues that I think is important, is the support for the people who live with the person who is ill. This goes further then mental health issues, and I think there is a moral issue here. If the person who is being treated wants to keep their privacy for whatever reason, then how much should the person who is left living with them be entitled to know. Do they need to know, to give the appropriate support? I guess the answer is not black and white but depends on the context and the situation at the time. The answer should be assessed separately as each case is an individual one, and unique to the context it is in.
I can honestly say, that I as a patient felt enormous pressure to keep things hidden away from my husband, as I felt that he already had so much to deal with bringing up my children, looking after the animals and running the business. I didn’t want him to know when things got bad, as I wanted to protect him. Yet with hindsight I am not sure this was the right option for either of us. This isn’t just about rights and wrongs as the patient can feel worse if they think that people are discussing how bad they feel, or how ill they are. It does nothing for the self esteem, in one way it can make them feel a little better as they can say to themselves that their actions are justified because they are ill. But to me, I felt ashamed that I was ill, and for it to be broadcast would make me feel a lot worse.
Yet, for people to receive the correct support, it is also important for the people who live with them, and in some cases care for them, to understand the situation and to be able to manage it appropriately. This issue or blog could open up doors in so many directions as there are so many options available. Looking at it from the perspective of my husband, he was kept in the dark to some extent, as I didn’t want him to know at the time how bad I was. This was also not helped, as his outside support was limited. He was left feeling bewildered, very upset and frustrated.It would have helped him and the whole family if there had been much better communication between the care team and himself. This again could be debated, as I personally told him I didn’t want him at any of the weekly care reviews as I am a very private person and only wanted him to know as little as he needed to but, even this was more then he did get told. In my case, I wish that there had been more support and communication for my husband from the medics, this did not necessarily have to threaten my privacy, even without disclosing my personal health issues my husband could have been given a lot more support then he did receive which to be honest was nothing. I guess with the present situation and resources at an all time low, that these resources will be addressed for the patient and not for those caring or living with them. I personally think this is an area that needs to be addressed, as the people who are living or caring with a person who are ill, are often exhausted, frustrated and find themselves to be in a demanding situation where a little support could go a long way.