A Loved One’s Perspective on Living with Tardive Dyskinesia
The emotional impact that a movement disorder, like tardive dyskinesia (TD) can have on mental health can be very heavy. Mary Bartlett, Mental Health Advocate and President of the Board of Directors at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – New York State, describes how seeing her loved one suffer from tardive dyskinesia (TD) was incredibly hard to witness.
As the family member of someone diagnosed with TD, Mary shares her perspective on how patients can advocate for themselves as their disease progresses and how loved ones can support someone living with the condition.
Having watched a family member struggle with tardive dyskinesia, it was clear that having this visible condition can be frustrating, disheartening and embarrassing. Tardive dyskinesia, more commonly referred to as TD, is typically caused by a mental health medication. Watching my loved one’s experience with the condition, I know how important it is to speak up and advocate for yourself if you're struggling with TD. The condition causes involuntary body movements which impacted my loved one’s ability to perform daily tasks like talking normally or feeling comfortable going out in public due to their uncontrollable facial twitching. During the early days, because they couldn't see or feel the movements, they asked me and other family members
to film their facial twitching. The shock of seeing the movements only added to their growing insecurity and caused them to retreat into themselves, which has been painful to watch. For those who might be feeling the same way, please know that it may feel easier to isolate or avoid addressing your condition, but know that your family and friends are here to support you. Being open and honest with those around you about your TD symptoms, how you're feeling and how they can best support you can make all the difference. Mary’s story is just one of the many stories we hear when it comes to TD. On behalf of Teva, I'd like to thank Mary for sharing her story. If you or a loved one are struggling with TD, we encourage you to have open conversations about your experience and know that you're not alone.