Living with a mental illness is anything but easy. Living with someone who suffers from one can be even trickier. Of course, this may not apply to everyone who suffers as each individual is unique. The way to live with me may be entirely different from someone else's needs.
I live in a house of 4 people plus my little doggo and no that photo isn't my house. I'd be lying to say things always run smoothly, especially during these times. We clash, we bicker and truthfully that will never change. Even if I didn't suffer from anxiety depression etc. That's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm strictly focusing on home life with someone who suffers.
It can't seem difficult when what you think is so harmless results in an outburst from us. A simple conversation turns sideways and before you know it there's a fight.
Here are 5 tips to living with someone who struggles with any Mental Illness
First and foremost, I'd say respect our space and our wishes. This isn't a magic formula that you will just know how to do. It will require you to learn from mistakes and to have a nice chat about what it may mean. For me, I love my alone time or simply coexisting (being in the same room not talking). Also when I want to be alone, it means I want to be alone. I recently told my family that when my door is closed, it means don't come in. It doesn't mean knock and let yourself in. For our situation, it took someone coming in for me to tell them I didn't like that. To simply put it, we want to feel respected and equal.
Probably the most important thing is to be educated. Whether that be reading a book or watching a video, educate yourself. A lot of the time it's hard for us to put into words how we are feeling. Especially difficult when it involves family. Regardless if we feel ashamed or simply don't have the words we didn't ask for this. We know you didn't wish it upon us either but the least everyone could do is be informed. You can even seek professional help on how best to deal with the unique situation you are in. I know my mom did because trust me living with me isn't easy. I can go from a ticking time bomb to laughing in a matter of minutes.
Thirdly, try and help in a respectful manner in any way you can. If there's an elephant in a room and you suspect someone is suffering but don't actually know. In a respectful kind way maybe suggest seeking help, maybe offer to go with them. Be there every step of the way. If they refuse don't push, maybe ask why or just let it go for that day. You don't know what's going on inside of them. Maybe its a sibling and simply offering a fun distraction can be your fun way of helping. Bike ride? Basketball? Coloring? They may not be motivated and that's okay. I promise they'll appreciate the gesture whether they let that to be known or not.
Not overstepping!!! Basically a continuation of the previous point is to not overstep. We know you don't enjoy seeing us suffer. It can't be easy to see someone you love in so much pain. It isn't easy for us either. We see the pain we cause in others and it only makes the pain hurt more. Don't hide your emotions because that is not healthy but please try your best to not overstep. Don't burn bridges trying to help. If we say not to do something don't continuously push. We may have our reasons and we are not forced to share. We know you want to help and we respect that but, there is a right and wrong way of doing so. Other points mentioned such as educating yourself or having a calm chat can go a long way in understanding you're specific loved ones need.
Finally, another simple but vital one is just to be there for them. This basically combines everything together but simply being there for someone goes a long way. Trust me. Reaching out, coexisting, having fun, distractions are all things previously mentioned but they work. Sometimes I just want to cuddle with my mom or watch jeopardy. Play outside with my brother or go on a walk with my dog. Knowing there is a support system around you is comforting in and of itself.
I know this article is primarily based on living but this goes out to everyone. If you know or even suspect someone is suffering just let them know you are there for them. It takes very little time and effort and can make someone's day. I have a friend who recently simply said hello and for that brief moment it meant the world.
As for Me,
As previously mentioned a bunch every one is different, I like to not be pushed. I appreciate my space and to be able to figure things out on my own (for the most part) and to create my own path. That may not be the case for all. Follow the tips above to at least garner a starting point. It's taking years for me to be in a place where I feel somewhat understood in my house and that is still constantly evolving.
What really matters are good intentions by both parties and for everyone to understand that we are all trying our best. Everyone's best may look different but this has been a point drilled into my head by my best friend. "You are trying your best", "You are doing your best". It's important to keep that in mind when approaching any situation your best and my best may be entirely different.
If you live with someone that has depression, the truth of it - it's not that dramatic, it's just a bit, kind of, 'Here we go, this is what we're doing today. This is sad. But we're gonna get through it.' - Josh Thomas
The worst thing for everyone is if no one is getting along. Suffering from anything isn't easy so we hope our home can be our sort of safe haven. We don't want that taken from us. We're all in this together so let's emphasize the 'together'.
Be sure to check out my previous posts if you haven't already.
- Thinking Mans Thoughts
I've created a Patreon for anyone who wants to help and support this journey I'm on. This isn’t about money nor will it ever be. I plan to blog as long as I have thoughts running through my head and stories to tell, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t help me in my situation. All support is appreciated but not mandatory. It's very awkward 'asking' for money especially when I don’t want it to come across like that is my intention.
If you've read all of that and still choose to support me, I will forever appreciate it