Living with someone suffering mental health issues
I don't know about you, but having a loved one with mental health issues is exhausting. Watching someone you care about going through terrible pain and torment, all while knowing you have no control is one of the hardest things to face day in, day out. The frustration and stress can really take it's toll on you and those closely connected to the person suffering. You can suggest things, take them to appointments (if they agree to go) and tell them how much you love them, but none of it seems to matter. You are heartbroken again, and again. Seeing your efforts fall on deaf ears. Knowing they are often telling you what they think you want to hear, and not truly understanding their perspective on life. Mental illness does not discriminate and seems to be effecting many more people in our community.
You are always attempting a balancing act. Trying to have them acknowledge their issues, and work on them while not letting stigma or labels define them.
Its very easy to fall into the trap of using the mental health diagnosis as an excuse for poor behaviour or bad situations. You may even cover for them as you fear shame from others. You want your loved one to feel heard and comfortable discussing their feelings, but that too can be confronting and make you feel completely out of your depth. Even when you think they have turned a corner, things are on the up and they seem to be in a stable place, there is a part of you walking on egg shells and waiting for the next issue, drama, situation to arise. This is not because you doubt there commitment to change, but because you know how insidious mental illness can be. You are always weary of when it will raise its ugly head and derail your loved one, yet again.
You can often relate to Dory from Nemo, and take on the mantra of "just keep swimming." Feeling like you are doing and saying the same things over again.
Time is not kind and it does wear you down, your patience becomes less, your positivity is harder to find, and you are less connected to yourself.
It is important that you have strategies in place. You need support too!
Having support of other friends and family and a counsellor, along with taking time to do things to sooth your mind, body and soul are paramount.
You need to know just how lucky they are to have you in their corner. You may not hear it from them, but I am telling you just how important you are.
If you can relate to this post then please take care of yourself
Sending healing love and light