To My Loved Ones Constantly Trying to 'Cure' My Mental Illness
I know you mean well. I know you want the best for me. I appreciate more than you know that you are standing by, wanting to help and to give advice. The fact that you have stuck with me this far speaks volumes to me, and I am not about to discount that.
However, there is one thing I’d like to get straight. These illnesses I have — bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD) — are often lifelong battles. I’m not trying to be dismal, just honest. There is nothing that I can take that will guarantee the symptoms will forever disappear. I am on medication and it is good, but it isn’t always 100 percent effective at keeping the bad feelings, the downward spirals, the depression and anxiety at bay.
Sometimes I will go downhill. Sometimes I will get depressed. Sometimes I will rage against the things that make me scared and sad.
When this happens, I know it makes you sad, too. I understand it makes you desperate to help.
However, when it seems like you’re frantically casting about for an instant “cure” it only makes me feel worse. If you suggest that I call my psychiatrist so that she can put me on yet another medication, it makes me feel like you just want me “fixed.” Like who I am right now is unacceptable.
Instead, maybe just listen. Maybe just sit with me. Maybe just hold my hand. Maybe just love me through it and don’t frantically look for a cure. The spirals and rages do pass, eventually. If you sit beside me and help me to “ride them out,” if you help me to remember that hope lies just on the other side of the storm, then it will be very good medicine indeed.
I want to feel safe with you, to let you see the darkness in me, bare all my flaws and foibles, and know that this illness is not going to scare you away. This is what I need, most of all.
Thank you for your steadfast love,
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Thinkstock photo via Archv