Staggering…it’s just staggering to know that we’re living in a country where modern conveniences, education, employment, healthcare is at our disposal easily yet the figures for people suffering with mental health is increasing, why is this, and what is the impact on those who love and care for loved ones in this sad predicament? Mental illness is not personal failure there are many reasons for it, I come from a family where mental illness is prevalent. Observing a loved one as they go through episodes of mental illness combined with their rejection of you is very difficult. You ask yourself if you can cope with their behaviour or, is it easier to just walk away.
According to MHFA England¹ “Mental illness is the second-largest source of burden of disease in England. Mental illnesses are more common, long-lasting and impactful than other health conditions”…”The percentage of young people aged 5-15 with depression or anxiety increased from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017”…”Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK” .
With this illness still on the increase, what’s the impact on those who love them? The Mental Health Foundation reported that “The mental health needs of carers is often neglected…[and] that 71% of carers have poor physical or mental health”³ who is looking after these carers? It appears they have to fend for themselves.
Recently I was faced with a situation which was painful to watch concerning a beautiful couple I know, (names are changed to protect their identity). Sylvia’s boyfriend Benjamin suffers with mental illness and other health issues, and often rejects her when he’s having an episode. He’s unaware of the pain he causes her and is upset upon this realisation. Frantically Sylvia called me and shared what had recently transpired with Benjamin, I gave her the space to talk, and she’s decided to stand by Benjamin for life, to me that is beautiful, sacrificial love. Regardless of Sylvia’s choice I’m there to support her, she’s my friend who needs me, I keep them both in my prayers.
But seriously, how does the rejected person love the person suffering mental illness? One thing they should not do is judge them and take it personally, as it’s an illness being dealt with here not the person. NHS England gives some very good guidelines which include being patient with the person and taking care of yourself².
- Are you in a relationship with a person suffering from mental illness, how do you know that you love them, or are you with them to make yourself feel valuable?
- Are you looking after yourself and not taking their rejection personally?
- Are you learning about your loved one’s illness in order to have a greater understanding of them?
- Do you have any personal support for your own well being?
Until next time, remember you are beautiful and wonderfully made -With love Amanda x