22 Ways People With Mental Illness Know They Are Loved

For someone living with a mental illness — or any type of illness — having a loving support system can be crucial. Love has the power to bring light in dark moments, help someone up when they fall and prove no matter how alone someone with a mental illness may feel, they still have people who have their back.

So — in the name of love — we asked people in our Mighty community who live with a mental illness to share how others can show them love. You, too, are loved, and we hope this list reminds you to tell someone in your community you love them, too.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Show me you love me without feeling bad for me. I want to feel loved, not felt sorry for.” — Rachel Kathleen Bourg

LOVE1 copy

2. “When my depression gets out of hand and loved ones help me with light chores, cooking or even making sure I’ve eaten that day, it’s an incredible help.” — Rachel Morton

3. “An unexpected and loving text might do it for me, especially at a time when I’m feeling really low. When that happens, it means the texter had been thinking about me and decided to take the time to write me something nice.” — Julianne Leow

4. “Understand that when I’m absent (in whichever of the many ways I’m now often absent) that it has nothing to do with them or the way I feel about you. I’m not choosing to disappear.” — Kerstin Kirby

5. “Embrace me for me. Mental illness and all. Do not ask me how I’m feeling if you aren’t willing to listen and support me on the ‘dark issues’ as well as the ‘light’ issues.” — Lindsay Washington

LOVE2 copy

6. “Treat me exactly how you always have. I’m not broken. I’m not something to be handled with kid gloves. I’m the same person I always have been. The only difference is a label I never asked to have attached to me.” — Michelle Balck

7. “Let me cry without telling me to stop and without judgment. Let me experience what I’m experiencing without trying to fix me or invalidate me!” — Marlena Davis

8. “Acknowledge the progress I make and to tell me you’re proud of me. I know the things I achieve are not big or applause-worthy in comparison to what I used to do, but I do still want to make my family proud.” — Erica Enos

9.For me, I just want to hear someone say, ‘It’s all right, I’m here for you.’ Those simple words makes a world of difference.” — Mary Hannah Cleve

LOVE3 copy

10. “Smile, sit with me and listen to me. Love me for me. And at the end of the day, kiss me and tell me I’m not broken.” — Staci Legacy

11. “Let me know I’m loved in when I feel unloveable.” — Amy Griffin

12. “Tell me you love me without a ‘but.’ Sometimes I just need to hear, ‘I love you.’ Not, ‘I love you but you’re being irrational’ or ‘but you need to stop worrying.'” — Nikki DeMeyers

13.Offer to listen, unbiasedly.” — Myisha Hill 

LOVE4 copy

14. “Love me, not despite my illness, but love me illness and all. My symptoms are not a reflection of the real me, but my anxiety is still a part of my life that can’t be ignored. My boyfriend hugs me when I have a panic attack instead of just telling me to ‘get over it,’ and it’s really comforting.” — Nicole Campbell

15. “Be patient with me. I know it’s irrational sometimes — I hear the things that come out of my mouth — but I can’t make myself think rationally sometimes. So just realize that I’m trying. I have good days and bad days. Be patient when I need to be alone. Be patient when I need a hug. I’ll tell you what I need.” — Megan Turillo

16. “When someone says, ‘I have no idea what you’re going through,’ I feel loved. When they buy me a blank book to fill with my dark and light thoughts, I feel loved. When they bring me a new plant that isn’t too hard to keep alive, I feel loved. When they tell me they’re glad I exist, I feel loved.” — Karina Ray

17. “Accept that nothing will ‘fix’ this. Accept me for who I am.” — Martha Shay Vogler 

LOVE5 copy

18. “Sometimes I just need someone to say, ‘I can see you’re struggling, I can see you’re hurting and I recognize it’s not my job to be sorry. Please understand I love you even as you go through this difficult period.'” — Leigh Elizabeth

19. “Validation. Validate that everything I feel and everything I fear is real to me, even if not to the outside world. Validate my reality.” — Moneique Moralez

20. “I was feeling especially awful one day recently. I sent my husband a text (for me, writing is easier than speaking words). I was apologizing for my anxiety. It makes me act irrationally and detach and it’s not fair to my family. His simple response: ‘I accepted the way you are years ago, just as you accepted me for who I am. I love you. All of you. We’ll get through this just like we do with everything else.’ I know he doesn’t fully understand what it’s like but he doesn’t question it — he just accepts me for me. It’s better than any therapy or medication I’ve ever tried.” — Alicia Maley-Westforth

21. “Please, just act normal! It gives me a sense of normality when I’m far from it! It also helps me feel less guilty about my illness inconveniencing others.” — Carol Zimmerman

22. “Honestly, sometimes I don’t need you to say a word — simply give me a hug.” — Brittany Isabella

HUG$$$ copy

*Answers have been edited and shortened. 


Follow:
Next Story
TOPICS
, Listicle
JOIN THE CONVERSATION