If you’re in a relationship with someone who is dealing with mental illness, figuring out how to support them can feel daunting.
Do your own research on the topic and ask them personal questions about how they want to be treated. Every person’s experiences and preferences are different, even if they have the same diagnosis.
In order to protect your own emotional and mental health, it’s important to remind yourself that you aren’t a martyr for your partner or their condition.
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My partner was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and they are still figuring out how to process and handle the diagnosis. We’ve been together for about four years now and I love them very much, but I’m unsure of how I can support them through this since I don’t have any experiences with mental illness myself.
How can I be supportive without being condescending, or letting myself get sucked into some of the low-lows I’ve experienced with them in the past?
– New York City
You’re right: the line between supportive and pushy is a fine one that can be easily crossed, especially when it comes to someone you care about deeply.
As someone with a loved one who was also recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I can say that asking lots of questions and never assuming anything about their experience has helped us remain close.
If I’m ever curious about what it’s like to live with bipolar, I always preface my question with something along the lines of, “If you don’t mind answering this…” to take the pressure off. After all, it’s no one’s responsibility to educate another person on their diagnosis or experiences.
Matt Lundquist, a relationship therapist and founder of Tribeca Therapy, told me that he refers to this approach as “being curious …read more
Source:: Business Insider