17 Things People With Mental Illness Want Their Significant Others to Know


Living with a mental illness — especially a misunderstood one — can make relationships a little tough. But sometimes, the opposite is true: When a person with a mental illness finds a partner he or she can be vulnerable around, it can make for a stronger bond. Like any relationship, there are ups and there are downs.

To highlight this, we asked our Mighty readers living with mental illness what message they would send to their significant other.

If you’re unsure of how to help your loved one with a mental illness, or if sometimes you just don’t know what to say, these might help:

1. “Needing alone time and a quiet zone isn’t rejection — it’s recharging.” — Michelle Skigen

A quote by Michelle Skigen that says, "Needing alone time and a quiet zone isn't rejection — it's recharging."

2. “Thank you for coming to appointments with me, for learning about my illness, my meds and what it would take for me to climb back up out of the abyss… Together, we can slay the beast.” Patti Petz Gray

3. “I just need to know if I have a bad day  if I yell and scream and cry — you will still love me at the end of it.” — Bekah Paskett

4. “Sometimes I just want you to listen to me. No matter how irrational I sound.” — Jessica Bowers

5. “Turn off the television and just breathe with me for a little while.” — Kathleen O’Brien Casey

A quote from Kathleen O'Brien Casey that says, "Turn off the television and just breathe with me for a little while."

6. “When I’m numb or lost in the deepest and darkest hole, it’s not because you’ve done something wrong.”  Maritza Estrada Wedum

7. “Sometimes it is not enough to listen once, not enough to talk once, not enough to believe once. Sometimes it needs to be the same conversation a hundred times.” — Reanne Stayner

8. “You are my motivation to push through.” — Ashley Cardinal

A quote from Ashley Cardinal that says, "You are my motivation to push through."

9. “Don’t forget I’m still me when I’m in a down swing. I’m still me. I still love you. I’ll be back soon.” — Tristian Henderson

10. “I don’t need you to understand exactly what I’m going through, I just need you to accept me the way I am, stick with me and love me through it.” — Kerri Symes

11. “I love you even when I don’t love me.” — Jordann Chitty

A quote from Jordann Chitty that says, "I love you even when I don't love me."

12. “Sometimes you don’t need you to say anything. I just need you to hold me. Actions can be louder than words.”  Allyson White

13. “It’s OK not to understand how I feel. I would rather hear questions than silence.” — Jennifer Thompson

A quote from Jennifer Thompson that says, "It's OK not to understand how I feel. I would rather hear questions than silence."

14. “The days when I don’t have a specific reason for feeling depressed are the days I need you to love me ‘louder.’”  Chelsea Geren

15. “Thank you for being so very kind. Thank you for being so patient. Thank you for telling me I really wasn’t that bad to be around, even when we both know I was.” — Carol Stewart

16. “‘I’m doing the best I can right now’ isn’t a cop out. Sometimes it really takes all I have to do just the minimum.” — Amanda Talma

17. “Please don’t feel like you have to ‘fix’ things. Just be there for me.” — Lindsay-Sarah Czitron

A quote from Lindsay-Sarah Czitron that says, "Please don't feel like you have to 'fix' things. Just be there for me."

*Some answers have been edited for clarity and brevity. 

If you’re living with a mental illness, what is something you want your significant other to know? Tell us in the comments below.

17 Things People With Mental Illness Want Their Significant Others to Know

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Mental Health

Why 'All Kids Do That' Doesn't Apply to My Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma

If you have a child with trauma issues, I’m sure your well-meaning friends and family members have asked you at least a million times: “What’s the big deal? All kids do that!” They’re not wrong. Sure, lots of kids do lie, talk a lot, play too rough, fight with their siblings and talk back. Kids have [...]
Illustration of left and right sides of human brain seen from above with title 18 clever responses for when people say mental illness is all in your head

18 Clever Responses for When People Say Mental Illness is 'All in Your Head'

When people say, “It’s all your head!” to a person with a mental illness, they’re most likely not pointing out where the illness originates from. Instead that phrase implies — and reinforces the misconception — that a person with a mental illness is somehow being dramatic and would feel better if only they could stop thinking about it. [...]
5 seconds of summer

5 Seconds of Summer Member Makes Brave Mental Health Statement to Crowd

Last night at a show in Detroit, 5 Seconds of Summer guitarist Michael Clifford opened up to his fans in a major way. During the show, the musician told the crowd that while the Australian pop-punk band had taken a short hiatus from touring, he’d been seeing a therapist for his mental health. “I was fixing some [...]
Woman crouching over with her head on the bed of her psychiatric hospital hotel room

Laura Hospes Documents Her Stay At a Psychiatric Hospital With Powerful Self-Portraits

Update Oct. 20: You can now find Laura Hospes’ work in a book entitled “UCP.”  When Dutch photographer and student Laura Hospes was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital, she processed the experience one of the only ways she knew how — through her lens. Now her photo series, “UCP-UMCG,” named after the psychiatric hospital in the Netherlands where she [...]