This post is written for your friends and loved ones who support you. Please feel free to share this with anyone in your life that helps you fight your illness.
Loving Someone With a Mental Illness
Loving someone with a mental illness means boldy staring down their illness with them. Mental Illness ain’t for sissies. You have to be tough to go a round with mental illness. And it will hurt (more than a little) because there is nothing you can do for your partner. Sometimes you will just have to bear witness to their pain and soothe them in whatever way you can. These are not easy things.
I really respect the partners and friends of the mentally ill. It is difficult to always live under that umbrella with your loved one. To have your plans dictated by an unseeable enemy. My husband is my haven. I know he’s always there for me and he’s done a great deal to learn about about my illness.
Something else he’s learning to do is to protect himself because depression will reach right out and grab your heart and depress you too. It is traumatic for him to see me in the depths of illness. Emotionally crippled, weak and fragile. He suddenly finds himself alone. So he is mindful of his own mental health.
What Can I Do To Help My Partner?
Many things go into making a good partnership, but the ten items below will help make you the best partner for your loved one with a mental illness.
- A strong heart, because it will be tested by watching your loved one fight internal demons while you can do nothing but hold them.
- Being quick to forgive. People with mental illnesses often do things that are out of character or can be taken the wrong way. When your loved one does these things, its important that you forgive them.
- Have a short memory. Similar to being quick to forgive, don’t hold on to resentments that come from actions taken when your loved one is symptomatic.
- Have a willingness to learn. Do some research into your loved one’s illness. What are it’s causes and symptoms? How is it treated? What are the long-term effects?
- Be compassionate. It takes a lot of love and commitment to love a person through their illness.
- Be flexible. A change of plans may be necessary if your loved one’s symptoms are too much to go out or be social.
- Be a good listener. This is true of any friend, but especially appreciated when you need someone to help your through tough symptoms.
- Have a good sense of humor. Laughter is one of the best defenses against illnesses like depression and anxiety.
- Take care of your own mental health. If you need help, please seek it out.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
Fighting against mental illness is difficult, to say the least. Just know that your love makes all the difference in the world to your partner.