To see life slowly slip through the fingers of someone you love, to see joy and laughter be replaced by worry or indifference is painful and trying for both your heart and your patience. When your next of kin suffer from mental illness and you stand helplessly by their side… Few things are as painful. Your lives probably don’t differ that much on the surface. Yet somehow they are so fundamentally different. If they could only see what you see.
….but no words will ever be enough. It doesn’t matter how many times you say that they are loved, that they matter, that they are worth it. It won’t cure them. The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing you can do. Monsters no one else can see can only be defeated by those who see them. If or how they fight and cope with their disease will always be up to them. The sooner you can accept that the sooner your support will be true comfort.
As a parent, sibling, friend or partner you tend to feel inadequate. I can guarantee you that you are not. However there are a few things to know and accept that will make it easier for both of you.
Let go of your guilt
It is not your fault and there is nothing you could have done. Feeling guilty is only going to complicate your relationship.
Accept that it is not about you
How and if they can hang out or be there for you is not a reflection of how much you matter. It is much easier to just shut someone out than to keep having to say no and to disappoint someone over and over.
Don’t try to push or stress a process it will only create guilt and most likely fail anyway. It is up to them when they are ready. Just be there and support them when they are.
I know it’s not a lot and that it is extremely difficult to just be patient and stand by and watch someone suffer. You feel like you should be doing so much more. You want to share the burden. Carry some of that pain. But you can’t. As a parent, sibling, friend or partner your job is to simply be there. To be the support that never wavers, that never gives up. The fight against mental illness can be a long and sometimes never ending. What you need then is someone who will always be there. Who stand by you and trust that you’re doing whatever is in you power to do to get better. Someone who doesn’t ask you for more than you can give or question your motivation. Just be there.
Thank you, to all of you who stand by with patience, love and support. You are the reason the fight goes on.