Loving Someone through Mental Illness

Loving someone who has a serious mental health condition can be a challenging and confusing relationship to navigate. It's important to know a few things in order to support and love them through it.

  1. 1. Their mood is not because of you. Just because you may feel like have to be careful of what you say, just because you don't say the perfect thing, doesn't mean their whole mood is because of you. 

    2. Somedays are better than others. Each day can feel different and it's important to know that the good days may not always last all week, but either will the hard days.

    3. It's okay to ask them how they are feeling specifically. If you have a close relationship with them, it's important to ask the loving but hard questions sometimes.

    4. Use the language they are using to describe their illness or state of being. Don't use words they aren't comfortable using to describe what is going on in their life.

    5. They can't just "snap out of it" so don't expect them too.

    6. They care about you also, it's just hard to show it right now. 


Check back to read about boundaries that can be important to put in place when loving someone with a mental health condition.


Loving Yourself

In the relationship conversation, the Five Love Languages is a hot topic, rightfully so. It is important to understand how one speaks/understands love in order to actually feel and receive that love. Why then, do we not consider this in terms of loving ourselves?


When the focus is on a duo, the tendency is to ask how each person is meeting the other’s needs. Often times when the responsibility is given to another person, our attention turns elsewhere. We’ve forgotten how to love ourselves. Similar to the concept of self-care, self-love should be another priority of yours, whether part of a duo or not. 


So, what is your love language, and how have you shown yourself love today? If you have not, consider reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. And, explore the ways in which you can meet your own needs first. It is widely quoted, “You cannot pour from an empty cup,” so let’s fill yours up first.


A Reminder About Love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the topic of love is in the air. Heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate and cards with “Love” scrolled across the front are everywhere. We’re reminded to tell that special someone in our life just how we feel about them and to spread Valentine’s to all our loved ones.


I love the idea of taking time to be intentional with letting those around know exactly how we feel and to take time to verbalize our gratitudes and appreciations of them. However; at times, I think we forget that self-love is just as important as the love we show to those around us. Sometimes, it’s easier to focus on saying and doing for others. When is the last time you told yourself that you loved you? Or that you are grateful for and appreciate something in yourself? It can be difficult to both give and receive love from others when we aren’t loving our own self well. 


This Valentine’s Day season, make sure you set aside some time to think about and take action towards loving yourself well. Start with just one committed action. What is one thing you could do today to love yourself? It may be a bubble bath, allowing yourself some time to read, or going to bed early for the first time in days. Whatever it is, include in that time some loving self-talk. Let yourself know some things you’re grateful for, and remind yourself that you deserve to be loved!


What’s your act of self-love going to be? What are you grateful of in yourself right this moment?