Good day, all! I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a series or tag about mental health – so here it is! Every Monday I’m going to be talking about a different aspect of mental health and its representation.
This will include:
- Book reviews
- Movie reviews
- Discussion posts
- Personal thoughts
- Basic information about mental health, such as medication, therapy, stigma, and peer support
I know that I’ve touched on a couple of these previously, but I like the idea that they’ll all be collected in one series. And besides, I always want to talk about mental health, especially on (dreaded, awful, disgusting) Mondays.
For today, I’m just going to talk a little bit about relationships and mental health. In loads of YA books in particular, it is sometimes implied that once the mentally ill character gets into a relationship, that somehow ‘cures’ them. Now. Hold onto your butts.
Being in a relationship can help people deal with their mental illnesses. Being emotionally or physically close to someone, and having partners to talk to in times of stress, can be extremely useful. Living with someone can help motivate you to get out of bed, get a shower, or remember to eat. However, you can also get support like this from friends, family, or flatmates. If you are single and mentally unwell, that does not mean you can’t get better, or that your recovery is somehow less meaningful because you didn’t gain a partner. That’s utter crap, and also pretty insensitive to aromantic and asexual people.
Being in a relationship can also make mental health a thousand times worse. I was very mentally unwell when I went through my breakup last summer. I’m not going to go into details, but losing the person I was so dependent on for my mental stability was earth-shattering. However, this also meant that I had to really look at how I was (or more accurately, was not) dealing with my mental wellbeing whilst I was in that relationship. I think that since then, I’ve really taken a look at my independence, and really learned a lot about myself. I know now when I need to turn to other people, including my partner, and when I can handle things pretty well on my own.
This is a really difficult balance to get right. I’m not there yet – I don’t think many people are. How and when to share the sometimes scary thoughts in your head with your partner is not the easiest thing, especially when you don’t know how they’re going to react. My advice I suppose is to do what feels right, and that age-old advice, COMMUNICATION, is key. Being in a relationship can be a minefield, even without throwing mental illness into the mix. However. It can be done. There are always people to support you – and whether they’re your partner, in my opinion, means very little. As long as they love you, and are there for you – that’s what matters.
If you’ve got any questions about mental health – broad or specific – please leave a comment! I’m definitely looking for questions to answer. Also, this is a series that is open to everyone! Someone else using this tag would actually be incredible.