A mother goes off her medication (meds) and takes poor care of her child until relatives come in to pick up the pieces…again! A spouse goes off meds and the other struggles to maintain sanity, house, finances, etc. A teen either stops taking meds or they cease to be effective as their own internal hormone cocktail shifts chemistry, and the parents try to manage the chaos as their child spins out of control and police, schools, and neighbors become affected and involved. I have lived in this situation raising a chemically imbalanced daughter. The situation grows as more people are diagnosed with chemical imbalances and prescribed medications that the patients stop taking when they either crave the highs and lows of their naturally imbalanced state or fear/reject the side effects of the medications. Family members and close friends try to hang on through the hurricanes and wonder how and where to find peace in it all.
I have love and compassion for everyone involved in these situations. I’ve learned there are many natural solutions to temper the imbalances and I love recommending holistic practitioners to help stabilize “imbalances” with proper nutrition, supplements, exercise, plant medicines (essential oils and other forms) and other solutions. I have also learned how to find peace amidst the chaos.
First and foremost, we cannot expect a “normal” emotional response from someone with a chemical imbalance because they don’t experience “reality” the way we do. They no more understand our expectations and point of reference than we do theirs. Furthermore, they can’t care about us any more than they care about themselves from moment to moment!
Just like in situations with addicts, any time one family member requires an extraordinary amount of special care/attention, it is easy for us to become codependent. Over time, codependency renders us every bit as imbalanced and unhealthy as the person suffering the chemical imbalance. When we place responsibility for our own happiness on the behavior and feelings of another, we lose our balance and create an impossible situation.
The most important thing we can do in these situations is to consider our roles. Are we being the calm in the storm and taking good care of ourselves and our own happiness every day? Or have we become laser-focused on the behavior and emotional state of the other? We can only ever control ourselves and when we obsess over the other, we push them away emotionally (they feel like they can never please us, and ultimately stop trying) and abandon ourselves, too. Just like they are not loving and caring for themselves, we aren’t either.
Codependency is a very insidious satobeur of happiness. We owe it to everyone involved to learn to love ourselves first, not to be selfish but for self-care. From a place of wholeness, we can learn to do whatever we need to do to remain centered and peaceful when life erupts, not by running away from situations (though sometimes a bit of temporary distance is helpful) but by engaging in some of the many acts of self-care that restore our calm so that we can be the observer and choose our actions carefully from a balanced place instead of reacting all over the place.
If you are frustrated in a situation like this and want to know how to really shift the energy in a new direction, I would love to help you. I have spent years there and know first-hand the dead-end that awaits us when we hope others will behave a certain way so we can be happy. Furthermore, that codependent behavior carried into any relationship will fail. Only when we change will our happiness change; our unhappiness is never the fault of another but only of neglecting ourselves.
Feel free to comment below and I WILL respond. Let’s start a conversation that can truly shift your situation in a fresh way! I send you much love and Light in your journey.
With much love and gratitude,
Sheryl Sitts, MPA, BA, Holistic Spiritual Coach, Practitioner, & Community Builder
Founder, Journey of Possibilities featuring Exploring Possibilities weekly podcast, and our holistic quarterly digital magazine