I was just randomly reading someone’s blogpost about how mental illnesses are sometimes used as a fancier way to say ‚crazy‘. So when someone talks about their crazy ex, they would call her bipolar. And in some circles that is socially acceptable. No one objects or explains that bipolar actually is an illness that might drive one crazy, but does not mean that they are, in fact, a lunatic.
It is however not socially acceptable to call someone stupid. Fifty years ago, a kid with learning difficulties or dyslexia would have been called dumb. Teachers would have said this kid was not fit for school or university.
Nowadays, we try to work around these difficulties. There are special exercises for children with various learning difficulties. We know that some kids listening to their ancient biology teacher won’t remember a word he said if they haven’t seen the words. And so teachers incorporate different media in their classes so that everyone has a chance to learn in their own way.
But it’s okay to say that anxiety is just someone exaggerating. Or that someone who has been abused is just being dramatic when they are triggered.
That’s it with the rant part. But how to live with someone who has a mental illness?
Because quite often it is not easy.
1. Know that their illness is not your responsibility, but your love can do wonders to their health.
Both parts of that sentence are of equal value! Be aware of your influence, but also of your boundaries.
2. Don’t always overlook their flaws.
As a friend, you should make them feel safe and loved. So be gentle and loving. That doesn’t mean you have to turn a blind eye to their flaws. When they overstep your boundaries or when they simply need an honest word, then say it. Better it is a friend who tells them with love than someone else. Also, you’re giving them the chance to grow.
3. Most people will experience mental illness in some part of their lives.
Be the friend you want to have in a crisis. If you are awful to the people who are having a mental illness now, who will be left to pick you up, when you catch something? Besides, people who have dealt with an illness themselves, know a lot about how to treat it, so learn from them now.
And thus, my friends, the rant it over.
The blogpost I was reading that inspired this post: https://workhardstayhumble.co/2016/05/22/this-is-what-my-life-with-a-mental-illness-looks-like/