Relationship Q&A: Loving Someone with a Mental Illness

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Even though I write a lot about relationships here on my blog, I am by no means a relationship expert. I’m constantly learning and growing. Plus, I usually only get to talk about things from my perspective.

By creating this post, I wanted to gain insight into how my boyfriend sees my mental illnesses. I figured it’ll not only help strengthen our relationship, but maybe if others are in his situation, it’ll help them cope as well. I’m so lucky to have a significant other that I can always talk openly about my mental health with.

Without further ado, here are 12 questions I asked my boyfriend about loving someone with a mental illness.

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Q&A: When Partner Has a Mental Illness

Q. When did you start noticing my poor mental health? 

A. There’s multiple times I kinda noticed it, if that makes any sense. I guess kinda from the beginning. You know, I knew something was up with you. I dunno if I’m saying that in a bad or good way. Just not to make it sound stupid, but I knew it was something, but it grew more as the months passed in our relationship when we started dating. So maybe 6, 7 months?

Q. What’s the hardest thing about loving someone with a mental illness?

A. To try and understand what they’re going though. And also mainly trying to grow more on that, grow on the situation. And learning to be more patient. That’s pretty much what it is, I think.

Q. What ways do you think my mental health impacts our relationship negatively?

A. That’s a big mouthful. I would say when it comes to us understanding each other. I guess whenever we’re in a situation with that, I guess it’s kinda hard for both of us to be in sync with each other. So we kinda just battle against each other when it comes to things like that.

Q. What ways do you think my mental health impacts our relationship positively?

A. It helps when you tell me something, and I learn something about it. It kinda shows me an understanding of what’s going on with you with that.

Q. If you had a magic wand, would you get rid of my mental illnesses?

A. Yeah, I actually would. I don’t know how people feel about that, but obviously, if that mental illness is doing you a lot of harm and stuff like that…Yeah, I would like to get rid of depression. I think mainly depression, and probably second would be social anxiety. Third, relationship OCD. Fourth would be separation anxiety. I guess I would put it like that. But number one, depression.

Q. Would you erase my mental illnesses completely from the past, present, and future, or would you just get rid of them from here on out?

A. Keep the past experiences, because you learn something new every day. Or at least you try to. So I’d rather say, keep them because you know, I feel like you have a better understanding of that. And also, mainly people who have their demons or mental disorders, or strengths and weaknesses, you start to understand that a lot more. That’s something a lot of people don’t really know.

Q. What have you learned about life/people since being with me?

A. You kinda start to understand people that have those mental disorders, those demons that they’re trying to fight with. Because some people don’t really know what’s going on till you know. You can’t truly understand that, but at least you get a bit of an understanding. You start to understand things a lot better, because at one time I thought I knew somewhat, but I feel like I have such a different perspective on it now. I’m still learning. I definitely have a broader eye with that.

Q. How have you changed as a person since dealing with my mental illnesses?

A. I feel like I’m more understanding. But I guess when something happens, in those moments, you start to realize yourself. As time goes on when those things happen, you realize growing from those situations. You start to realize about yourself more, and the decisions you make or the actions you do. Because I felt at times, I thought I knew, but really you look back at the situation and think holy crap that was kind of a stupid thing I did. It’s learning experiences. It takes time and learning and understanding and reevaluating the situation to really understand. I feel like sometimes it doesn’t really click in.

Q. What’s the hardest mental illness to see me struggle with?

A. Like I said, depression. It’s something that stays there. Even though sometimes it doesn’t stay like that all the time, but most of the time it feels like that. And people don’t really seem to understand about depression. I thought I knew somewhat of it, but at the same time when it’s an actual mental disorder, a brain chemical imbalance, and there’s scientific fact to that. You really gotta realize that.

Q. What are you most proud of me for accomplishing despite my mental illnesses? 

A. I’m proud mainly the fact that you’re open with it, and you’re doing your blog. That’s a hard thing to really do. And I know people tell you that all the time. I know I see your comments and everything, but honestly not that many people can do that. You gotta keep at it, and keep doing it.

And I know it’s hard for you, because obviously you have all these things against you, but you gotta keep on pushing it. You know for a fact you can relate to people who have the same thing, or have something in their life that is hard. You’re not trying to change the world, but you’re trying to make a dent. Make it a better place than how it was left.

Q. How do you cope and practice self-care so you’re not constantly overwhelmed?

A. Just get back at it. When you have a situation like that, just leave it alone and come back to it. Even though you wanna talk about it and try to figure out and get mad about it, because sometimes you’re throwing more wood into the fire. Go back to it eventually and talk about it.

And sometimes it’s not even good to think about it, because if you think about it way too much, it drives you a little insane. Learn from what you made a mistake on. Because if you reevaluate yourself on that situation, maybe you’ll think maybe I was a little too harsh.

Q. What advice do you have for other people when the person they’re dating has a mental illness?

A. Do research. Listen. And, you know, mainly like, just listen. But sometimes I know it’s kinda hard. But yeah, it’s something you gotta do. You gotta listen and put aside what you’re putting in and try to understand that person and what they’re saying to you.

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Do you have any advice or tips on loving someone with a mental illness? Let us know in the comments below!

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