One of the most important things a person with a mental illness needs is support. Many times it’s one of the keys to recovery. It was for me.
Do you have all the support you need in your life? Do you wish that at least one person in your life would show interest in you and offer support?
I went for part of my life without anyone on my side. It wasn’t until later that I met Flora and we married in 2011. When we met, I worried that because she was younger, she wouldn’t be able to deal with all the issues that surround my illness. She is 18 years younger than me, and we only met in person a month before we married. We had been dating long distance for eight months before that, but there are things you cannot judge about someone if you don’t meet them in person.
Thankfully, after a rocky start to our marriage and a suicide attempt (me), we are on the right track. Flora had a tough time adapting to me in the beginning. Like anyone, she has her own issues that she needed to tend to. She has problems with anxiety and panic, and anger issues. Her moods clashed with mine, and it took us a long time to gel. It was almost a fatal situation for me.
But, we made it, and I am happy to say that now she is my biggest source of support. I love that Flora doesn’t coddle me. She is tough when she needs to be, and a lot of the time, when I can’t pull myself out of a hole, she is there to offer a firm hand.
Everyone needs someone like Flora in their lives.
The need for support
In the beginning, when a person first starts realizing that they have a problem, they don’t often ask for support. It may be that they think their problem isn’t serious enough to concern anyone, or they may feel shame that they could be so weak (at least, that’s what we tell ourselves).
It usually isn’t until the problem gets much worse that they start seeking help and support.
Sometimes, it’s their parents who fill that role. When I got my diagnosis, my parents were there for me. After a lifetime of trust, parents can be understanding and willing to help however they can.
Sometimes it’s a spouse or significant other. Depending on the relationship, mental illness can be something that brings two people together or tears them apart. Many marriages or relationships end for less.
After my first marriage fell apart due to my illness, I spent many years alone with no one to turn to. I still had my parents, but they were getting older. My illness had gotten so bad that I didn’t want to burden them anymore. They had their own issues, and they would have continued to help me no matter what. But, I didn’t want to hurt them anymore. That’s what people do when they love someone with all their heart.
I found Flora, though at first, she didn’t know how to help me. Our marriage was volatile, and there were times we almost went our separate ways. But, we stuck together, even after I tried to kill myself.
Strangely, it was that event that finally brought us together. It was also that catalyst that caused me to want to make changes in my life. The last six years have been a series of gradual deviations for me, and Flora has been with me all the way.
I knew when we got married that she had her issues, but it wasn’t until later that her anxiety became a problem that we needed to address. I know the fact that I now had someone who needed my support was one reason why I recovered so fast. When you are thinking more about other people, you have less time to complain about all your problems.
Together, we have weathered the storms. Flora is always there when I have a bad episode. She is the one who convinces me to get out of bed and get back into the world. She makes sure I have healthy food to keep me stable. She makes sure I take care of my personal needs. There have been times I doubt I would have survived if she hadn’t been here.
When she has bad anxiety or a panic attack, we work through it together. She’s been much better since she got pregnant. For some reason, being pregnant changed her attitude and made her a more positive person. She is not as quick to anger, and she doesn’t let herself get so stressed out.
Don’t get me wrong; our life isn’t perfect. We have issues that need constant work and challenges that test us to our limits. We fight. We complain. We worry about money and work too much. We make the mistakes that everyone else makes, but we have the added problem of both suffering from a mental illness.
Above all, we love each other. You can see it in our eyes when we look at each other. We spend every hour of every day together, and I am happy to say she only gets tired of my dumb ass once in a while.
I’m glad I have the support I need, and I’m glad I can be a support for her. We are two peas in a pod, and I’m glad we found each other.
I hope that you have someone in your life like Flora. If you don’t, keep looking. The right person will come along. It may not even be a spouse for you. It could be a family member or friend. Your greatest support could be another person who is looking for support themselves.
Keep your eyes open; it may be the person you least expect.
Good luck to you!
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Jason Weiland is a writer, blogger, vlogger, and mental health advocate living a dream life in far-away destinations he only dreamed of as a kid. He talks about difficult issues but has never lost his sense of humor or willingness to understand others and help when he can.
He would love to connect with you on social media.