may is mental health awareness month, which i actually didn’t know until gracie asked me to write a post about it. i’m supposed to ask two other bloggers to write a post, and i’d like to ask den mother and eva. and i’m supposed to include some helplines. you can search “helplines (name of your country)” if you need help immediately.
so. here’s my post. :)
“my partner has a mental illness,” you sigh, massaging the bridge of your nose.
there’s pity in the other person’s eyes. they place their hand on top of yours. “i’m so sorry. that must exhausting for you,” they murmur.
you nod. “it’s tough. but i love them anyway.”
applause fills the room. confetti is cascading from the ceiling. two women in heels and glitzy dresses prance toward you, carrying a glittering sign: i love someone with a mental illness! it reads. i’m a great person! the women pose with you as cameras flash all around.
hey. guys. you’re not a hero for loving someone with a mental illness.
they’re crying in their room because they don’t know why they’re alive? they can’t go to the store because being around people makes them incredibly nervous? they refuse to eat the dinner you made for them because there’s a voice in their head telling them they don’t deserve it? i guarantee that constantly fighting their mental illness is harder to do than it is for you to love them.
people are not badges. you can’t say that you’ve loved someone of color, someone with a disability, with a mental illness, etc. and get special treatment. you didn’t choose to fall in love with that person, right? it just happened. and your partner didn’t choose to have their mental illness.
if you truly love that person, it shouldn’t matter that they have a mental illness.
some of my friends have mental illnesses, and it hurts to know that i can’t love their problems away. saying “i love you” will not fix everything. i can’t make their mental illnesses go away. i know that. but i can do my best to help them and i can give them hugs and listen to them and stick with them when things are bad.
if they have depression, they might look sad and lost a lot of the time. but when they smile, it feels like you just got the greatest gift in the whole freaking world. if they have anxiety, they might ask often if you hate them, or if you actually love them. you can assure them that you love them no matter what. if they have an eating disorder, it might be hard for them to eat anything at all. but when they do eat something, no matter how small it is, you’ll get an incredible rush of pride that they managed to shut off the voice in their head long enough to eat.
the person you love is fighting and they are a hero for staying alive.