Loving someone selflessly no matter the circumstance isn’t something that comes easy. Friendships & relationships can become strained when theres a lack of communication & understanding of one another. When it comes to Mental illnesses it can become even harder to navigate relationships, especially if its not you but your friend or partner that has the mental illness.
Today I’ll be sharing my advice on how to love someone with a mental illness & how to understand them a little bit more. Please remember these are my own personal views, and this advice won’t be a one size fits all for all mental illnesses, as they all vary!
LEARN ABOUT THEIR ILLNESS
The first and probably most important thing to do when you have a friend or partner with a mental illness is learning. Do your research and see what you can do to help them. Understand their illness and everything that comes with it. In time you will learn their triggers and symptoms but I think it’s important to put the effort in to learn to understand who they are what their illness involves.
Coming from someone who suffers with anxiety, I really appreciate it when people take the time to learn about what I go through mentally. It shows so much love when you are taking time to learn about the other person. If you are planning to be in their life for a long time, you should always educate yourself on how you can help. Doing this will also help strengthen and grow your bond with the other person.
It can be hard sometimes having a friend or partner who has a mental illness. Plans may change unexpectedly, their might be panic attacks and sleepless nights, but there’s nothing more comforting than having someone there for you who loves and can understand what you’re going through. Sometimes all we want to do is stay home and do nothing.
When I went through a really bad anxiety patch a few years ago, I was always cancelling plans and letting people down because I didn’t really want to leave the house. My friends and loved ones had to have a level of understanding to not get annoyed or angry at me for doing it, because I couldn’t help it. Its really comforting to know that you have a support system around you that understands you and loves you.
LEARN THEIR SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
Once you get to know someone, you usually start to pick up on their mannerisms and their behaviour. You should always learn others triggers. If you don’t or cant pick these up naturally, I know I’d appreciate it if someone asked me what my triggers are. Now if you aren’t familiar with triggers, its basically the thing that can trigger someones mental illness. So maybe its seeing something on tv they don’t like, or hearing a particular noise or even speaking about a particular subject.
Communication is something good to mention here. Always communicate how you are feeling and make sure to ask how they are feeling too. Just by asking that question can stop a downward fall.
Always be mindful to not bring something up or show something to someone, especially if you know that it will trigger their mental illness. Doing this can be hard, especially if their triggers are unknown. But its always good to be mindful.
Patience is a big one here. Similarly to what I have already mentioned, a-lot of the time people with mental illnesses find it hard leaving the house sometimes, or they cancel plans last minute. So having patience is important in order to understand and love the person with the mental illness.
How do people show you love when you are going through a hard time? Do you have anything you can add to this list?
Thanks so much for being here! Mental illness is such an important topic to talk about, especially when it comes to loving one another.