After a long day’s work, one dreams of going home to find shelter and peace from the noise and the hot rays of the unforgiving world. Home is indeed a place where one should find comfort. and open arms to receive them regardless of how they come in. Is this the case in your home? Is your home the safest place for you and your family members?
A lot needs to be done to make our houses a home, which is an important and basic need of human beings. When there is no peace in a home, the mental wellness of the family members becomes challenged. Mental wellness needs to start at home.
Statistics show that people who carry major childhood scars from dysfunctional families may end up with mental health issues in adulthood. Some may have experienced insensitive actions from family members, ranging from impulsive actions against each other, physical abuse of children by parents, hurting words said in anger, parental favouritism, whether real or imagines, and more.
A home should be a place where family members find comfort and security. We should be deliberate in our actions to ensure avoidable mental health issues do not begin in the family. The following tips from the word of God can help us improve our family’s mental health?
Listen to understand
There is a difference between listening and waiting to speak. Regardless of your age, let every family member feel heard and considered. Let everyone feel like they matter; like they can be trusted and that their opinion counts. Take time to listen and listen to understand; not to answer. The good book says, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
Understand that every family is different
There are many people today teaching about parenting and family life. Many are doing it with a lot of pre-supposition and prejudices. Remember there is a way that seems right, but leads to destruction. Learn your family and understand each of them. You will realise that when you learn to understand your people, you will have no time to judge them. There can never be a substitute for understanding; it is the backbone of every homely family.
Learn that every family member is different
Though we come from the same family, we all see things differently and it’s not a bad thing. It is because Gods wisdom calls variety beautiful. We were all meant to take different paths. Our paths being different means that our make-up is different. Our interpretation of things is different. We need to learn to appreciate this and embrace each other.
Recognise that people have reasons why they do what they do
Just the mere fact that you wouldn’t do something the way another one does it does not mean that they are wrong. Find a way of looking at it from their perspective. Just because you do not understand doesn’t mean that they are wrong.
Differentiate opinion and fact
Most of us impose our opinions on others. Whenever you see other people’s decisions and realise that you would have decided otherwise, learn to respect their opinions and distinguish objective facts from what is your own subjective path. Let us each make an effort and see what our families can become.
Find strength in each other
Start at home. Proverbs 17:17 says, “Friends love all the time, and kinsfolk are born for times of trouble.” Be sure to care and help when one is not able to do it for themselves. Look out for each other.
Look out for the following symptoms in any of your family members and seek professional advice as soon as possible, as they could escalate to serious mental health conditions:
• Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
•Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable ‘highs or feelings of euphoria Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
•Avoiding friends and social activities
•Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
•Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and having low energy
•Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
• Changes in sex drive
•Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
• Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality.
• Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
• Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches,vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
•Thinking about suicide
• Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
•An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
If you need to talk, you can reach out to a toll free line for a psychologist on call through 1190 (at LVCT) or feel free to reach out to me through 0727209170 for advice and support
This issue was first published in our September 2022 issue From the Pulpit column.