If You Don't Understand Your Significant Other's Mental Illness, Here's What You Should Know

If You Don't Understand Your Significant Other's Mental Illness, Here's What You Should Know

You may be trying to help and you care about the situation, but because you're not living through it, you won't be able to completely understand.

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Content warning: mental health, depression, suicide

To the significant other who has not struggled with mental illness,

Every relationship has its difficulties, but there is definitely an added stress when mental illness is involved. I want to start off by saying that you are very lucky and very blessed—you should be very grateful that you have not had to deal with a mental illness of your own. Secondly, it's important to acknowledge that you will never be able to fully understand what it is like to live with a mental illness if you have not personally experienced it.

While navigating my experience with mental illness and attempting to create meaningful relationships amidst my inner struggles, there have been times where I have felt completely misunderstood because... well, I was. After talking with others who struggle with their mental health, I realized that a lot of these thoughts that I was having and the ways that I was feeling was a fairly common thing.

Because you're not living through it, you won't be able to completely understand—but here's what you can do to try to get a better idea of what your partner is going through:

The first thing that anyone with mental illness wants from their partner is acceptance. The best thing that you can do when someone opens up to you is to accept them. Don't see mental illness as extra baggage that you have to carry, it's a part of them just like an arm or a leg is.

After accepting your partner for who they are, it is necessary that you recognize that everyone deals with their mental illness in different ways and everyone is affected uniquely by their illness. Even though you may have seen someone else be affected by their mental illness in a different way, that does not mean that the way either person reacts isn't legitimate.

Some people seek therapy for their mental illnesses and others take medicine, among a lot of other options. Support your significant other by encouraging them to get the help that they need. This could be taking them to their appointments or just letting them know that you will help them to do whatever is best for their mental health. Many people don't believe that medicine can assist with mental health, but think of it this way: you take medicine for a headache or for allergies, so how is that any different than taking it for a mental illness? If it's healthy and it helps, then that's what's important.

There are countless times where we who struggle with mental illness will sit here and say that we're okay, but sometimes we want you to remind us that we're OK too. We know that this doesn't seem like much, but on bad days, your love and reminder that things are okay and that we are okay can mean everything.

Also, if your partner breaks out into tears and they insist that they don't know what's wrong, there's a chance that they genuinely don't know what is upsetting them. So many times in life I have just completely lost it, tears streaming down my face uncontrollably and no real idea of what exactly is bothering me. Don't get angry at your partner for not knowing what's wrong, instead tell them that whatever it is will get better and that you want to try to help them get to the root of the problem if they want to talk about anything.

Whenever your partner tells you, "I'm doing the best I can," it isn't them making an excuse—it's honesty. Some days are a complete struggle, and it takes everything that they have in them to do the bare minimum. This can even include eating, showering, and basic everyday tasks that you don't even think twice about doing.

Similarly, it's not laziness when they are putting off their work and refusing to get out of bed. Sometimes it is completely mentally draining just thinking of getting out of bed, and when you say that they are being lazy or irresponsible, it does the opposite of help.

Always remember that wanting to be alone is not rejection. It's trying to collect ourselves and understand ourselves before we make you try to understand us. Mental illness can be a very complex and exhausting thing, and needing a few minutes or hours to recharge is not anything against you. (However, know your partner's warning signs and triggers and if they are distancing themselves to an unhealthy degree, seek help).

Everyone has downward spirals every once in a while. Know that even on their worst days, they are still themselves deep down. They still love you, even when they struggle to love themselves, so love them a little bit extra on those days. And I'm sure that they are sorry that they are not the same person they normally are, but they'll be back soon.

Sometimes your partner just needs someone to listen to them. Even if what they are saying is irrational and nonsense, just listen. Also, don't be annoyed when they want to talk about the same thoughts, fears, feelings, etc. multiple times. If talking about it helps, then you should be willing to listen.

Other times, they don't need someone to talk to—they just want you to hold them, be there for them, and know that you are here though even the worst down-spirals. You don't have to try to "fix" them, just simply love them.

Importantly, you need to always remember that what your partner is feeling is not your fault. Even if they may seem more emotionally "fragile" or "unstable" (which they by no means are), you are not to blame. You did not plant these little demons in their head, but sometimes you may help to awake them. However, do not think that his/her depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. is your fault. No one is to blame.

Lastly, don't feel obligated to stay with them just because they have a mental illness. Yes, this can be a very very tricky and delicate situation that takes a lot of consideration, but you should not stay in a relationship because you feel responsible for an obligated to them. Breaking up is difficult in any relationship, and breaking up with someone who suffers from a mental illness is not necessarily much different from breaking up with someone else, aside from the fact that the way their disorder impacts them may be more strong after a breakup. While it is a very precarious situation, there are a lot of resources you can utilize to help you in finding the best way to end your relationship. This can include seeking out a counselor of your own, talking to their friends or family members, looking up tips and advice online, and many many more. It may seem like a very challenging feat, but I promise you that your partner wants what is best for you as well.

And remember, your partner knows that you will never be able to fully understand and that you can't do all of these things all of the time, but know that they appreciate every ounce of effort that you put into the relationship and into loving them despite their mental illness.

Much love,

A girl who has felt all of these things.


Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

12 Things To Know Before Dating A Girl Who Loves Country Singers More Than She Loves You

They’re just as important as you, babe.

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If you're about to fall for a girl who falls for country singers, prepare yourself by knowing the following:

1. The playlist 

My playlist will go from Luke Combs to Blake Shelton and you'll have to deal with it. Your playlists are not an option. I will go on and on about how beautiful their voice is, but don't get jealous.

2. Releases

I will set alarms for new releases like Luke Combs "The Prequel" and you HAVE to be as excited as I am. I will be more excited about these releases than I am about anything else in life, but suck it up buttercup.

3. Concerts

I will give up time with you to go see my favorite singers and you’ll just have to understand. You can either join or not, but the plans aren’t changing.

4. Lyrics

You will hear me quote their lyrics more than I’ll say I love you, but just know I still love you.

5. Car rides

Every car ride will include country music, while it will most likely be Luke Combs or Adam Doleac blaring on the radio, you better enjoy every bit of it.

6. I will talk about how beautiful they are.

You’ll hear about their looks often, wether it be Luke Combs eyes or Luke Bryan’s voice, the looks will be brought up. Don’t get jealous, you’re just as handsome.

7. Their voices

Their voices are BEAUTIFUL. While I personally favor Luke Combs, just know I love yours too.

8. Phone backgrounds 

My phone background is most likely some country singer and not a picture of us, but you’re important, I promise.

9. Home Decor 

I will have pictures of Faren Rachels and I up before I have some of us, but realize I have plenty of pictures of us and one with her.

10. Awards

Whenever any awards are on, they’re number one priority compared to your Braves games. You can always watch recaps.

11. Singing 

I will randomly start singing any song by them and probably interrupt any story you're telling, sorry they're on my mind.

12. Dates

I will make sure any release dates for new songs, albums, or concerts are on my calendar; however, I will probably forget our anniversaries.

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11 Things The Man You Love Should Do For You, No Questions Asked

Sometimes it's just the simple things in life that mean a lot.

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Every girl feels special when the guy she's dating does simple things for her that not everyone thinks about. Here's a list of 10 things that every girl genuinely appreciates.

1. Open/Hold the door

I feel like this one is really simple because everyone has to walk through doors. Chivalry isn't dead, let him open the door for you. He's not trying to prove that you can't do it for yourself, but he's trying to be polite and show you that he cares for you.

2. Give you really big hugs

Everyone has bad days, and sometimes you just need a really big hug. Whether it be a bear hug or the hug where he picks you up and spins you around, it will make you feel better in the long run.

3. Buy you really small gifts

One of the best things my boyfriend has ever done for me is simply bringing me a Dr. Pepper when he knows I'm tired from a long hard day full of exams or work. Sonic slushes will also make my day in a heartbeat.

4. Text/Call you just to tell you he loves you

This is pretty simple. It takes less than 10 seconds to text, and only a few minutes to call. Sometimes you get these texts right at the perfect moment, and it makes you feel so much better.

5. Come see you when you're sick

Everyone hates being sick. But seeing your friends and family while you're sick can make you feel so much better. Having your boyfriend come to see you and possibly even take care of you just makes being sick that much easier.

6. Respect your decisions

You're not married yet, so your decisions are up to you! He should respect the decisions you make and support you, even if it's not what he thinks is the best decision. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else!

7. Give you a shoulder to cry on

We all have bad days, and sometimes you just can't stop the tears from coming. Even if he's not good with crying, he should give you hugs and love to help you get through it.

8. Compliment you

Even if you look horrible and know so, hopefully, he'll still tell you that you look good. Even if the clothes you're wearing aren't his style, he should still tell you that they look good on you and that you are beautiful each and every day.

9. Call you when you're away or he's away

If you're like me, I miss my boyfriend after being away for about three hours, so when we're apart for more than a couple days, I love getting random calls from him when he knows I'm not busy. It's definitely better than a text.

10. Deal with all your annoying quirks

So if you're anything like me, you enjoy screaming music as loudly and horribly as you can in the car and making a complete fool of yourself, but he should love you for that anyway. I also love to take really stupid pictures, and he should put up with that too. He shouldn't be annoyed by your quirks, he should love them and laugh along with you.

11. Love you no matter what

I honestly feel like this goes without saying, but I put it on here so that the girls who don't feel like they're being loved no matter what can realize. He should want to work out problems with you instead of calling it quits and holding a grudge. He should want you to be happy and support you in every decision you make in life. When he loves you unconditionally, he will do all of the above things and more.

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