A few months ago, just after the death of Robin Williams, I read this intriguing tweet by Luke Harms:
Hey friends. Let’s start a conversation about the intersection of faith and mental illness. It’s obviously needed. How about #faithinthefog?
I then read the hundreds of follow up here is one of my favourites) of people sharing their experiences of mental health and faith. Some people were incredibly hurt by the church and many felt silenced by the stigma of mental illness. A few offered hope in the help and love they received. As I continued to read I did what I often do, I thought about my own story.
My story is that I live with someone else’s mental illness.
It’s mainly an untold story because it feels like it’s not mine to tell. But those of us who live with someone else’s mental illness have our own stories of the experience that need to be told.
It’s easy to minimize our experience because, after all, we’re not the one with the diagnosis! We’re not the one on medication! We’re not the one who regularly battles getting out of bed etc. And for these things we’re grateful.
However, without minimizing the others’ struggles, we still live with our own story of how the mental illness affects us. We’ve been affected by it, we’ve struggled in our own way and we often keep it to ourselves. As hard as it is, I think it’s time we share some of our own stories.
By sharing our stories we offer support and hope for those who finds themselves in a similar way. We also help to de-stigmatize mental health by courageously sharing our experience of living with, loving and supporting those who are struggling.
After stewing over my own story and avoiding the deep down nudging to write about it, I took a deep breath, asked my husband if it was ok with him for me to share my experience of his mental illness. Even though it’s my experience, I knew I needed to ask him. He agreed and I began to find other people who have journeyed down a similar road.
Thus this series was born: Living with Someone Else’s Mental Illness.
For the next several Mondays, my blog will be a place for people living with someone else’s mental illness to share their stories. Some posts will be anonymous, others will share current or past realities. We won’t be speaking for those with whom we live (or lived) but we will be sharing our own experiences.
I hope you will join us here each week and support the writers who are bravely telling this part of their life. Trust me, we need it.
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