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Loving Your Partner Through Their Mental Illness.

Love, they say conquers all. How do you feel when the people you care the most about are there for you at the moment you need them? What do you feel when the one you love is there to support you in the hard times you face? You feel important, I guess.

Mental illnesses are known to worsen in the absence of love, care and attention. The absence of love during a crisis could break a person because love hastens recovery.

In Nigeria, being associated with a mentally ill person usually leads to being avoided by a vast majority, not to mention how the mentally ill patient faces the stigma of being 'mad'. Most people will neglect a person who is not mentally stable because they do not want to be mocked by society but they do not consider how their actions worsen the mental condition of a patient.

I believe that there's no relationship more affected by mental illness than the relationship between lovers. Yes, I know that you should not be burdened with your partner's mental illness but loving a person through their mental illness may be a difficult task but, it's a good decision to make.

The first step to loving a partner through their mental illness is to learn as much as you can about their condition so you know exactly what their illness means, their needs as a result of the condition and how to encourage and support them.

Another way to love your partner through their mental illness is to listen. Listen to them talk about their pain, frustrations, struggles and what also makes them happy. This action makes them feel that their words and anything else that concerns them are important to you.

Show that you support your partner. This support should be behavioural and verbal. Your partner who is suffering from a mental illness should be aware that you'd always be there for them regardless of whatever challenges they face. This makes them feel wholesome despite their diagnosis, and it contributes to their overall prognosis and quality of life. Do not say any word that makes your partner feel they are mad and hopeless.

Taking care of yourself is another good way of being there for your partner. The happiness that comes from a person living with a mental illness and seeing their partner living well and staying healthy can not be compared to any other kind of happiness. Your wellness makes your partner feel optimistic and hopeful knowing that the one person who loves and supports them is thriving and able to build the family even when they're unavailable due to illness episodes.

Do not let your partner's mental state reduce how much you value them. The best time to show your partner how much they're worth in your eyes is when they begin to doubt themselves. You should not even let them doubt themselves, always tell them the good things you like about them.

The truth is, it is a difficult task to take on when you choose to be with someone living with a mental health condition and also have to deal with the stigma of being associated with a mentally ill person, however, you should choose to support your partner and live your lives the best way possible for both parties. It is equally in your best interest to build a support system for yourself as you navigate this path, as we all understand that it's difficult to not break down when your significant other may struggle from time to time from illness relapse. To not break down mentally and physically, you need to create a support system for yourself. Reach out to friends and family members, create time to go out with the girls/guys, do things that liven your mood. Do not forget God in all that you do.

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