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4 Things I Want the People Who Support Me Through My Mental Illness to Know

You know who you are. The people in my life I call at 11 o’clock at night when I’m about to go into a panic attack. The people I spend hours talking to about everything. The people I know I can always depend on, even if we haven’t talked in a while. Because I love you and I care about our relationship, there are some things I want to let you know.

1. Tell me when it’s too much. I tell you a lot, and sometimes I dump all of my crap on you. It’s a lot, I know. It can be overwhelming. But I would rather you tell me you can’t handle my emotions than allow me to pull you into the abyss with me. If you ever need space, let me know, and I will do my best to respect that. I care about you, and I want you to take care of yourself before taking care of me.

2. Give me boundaries. If you tell me when you can’t talk, I know when you say you can talk, you really want to. Boundaries are important for your own well-being, but they’re also important for me. When I need to talk, I need someone’s attention. If you can’t give that to me at a certain time, don’t be afraid to let me know you can’t talk. We can always talk later.

3. Hold to your boundaries. Once you set up boundaries, I will probably push against them. But I need you to hold firm. If that means letting me know when I’m pushing too much, please be honest with me. I really do care about you, and I would never want to do anything that infringes on your personal boundaries and needs.

4. Finally, but most importantly, thank you, thank you, thank you. I know I can be a lot sometimes. I know my feelings are overwhelming because I’m feeling them too. I so appreciate every moment you spend with me or talk to me on the phone. I don’t know how I would get through life without you and your support.

Please remember that as much as you care about me, I care about you too. I want our relationship to be something that benefits the both of us, and I think keeping these things in mind will do that. Thank you for all you do for me, and I look forward to all of our conversations that we are yet to have.

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Thinkstock photo by lovelyday12