A lot of our articles are centered around the experiences of people living with mental illness and going through recovery. As people with experience in it, we feel that it is detrimental that we share our stories and experiences to help others who are struggling with similar conditions. Of course, the crux of mental illness is the battle that is waged inside of the person diagnosed with the illness and undergoing the recovery process. But the truth is that these issues and struggles are not a one-way street; the effects of mental illness reach out beyond just the person afflicted. The people and things around them can be affected drastically as well. Jobs left undone, chores left unfinished, and people left in the dark. We understand the importance of speaking to the person who is dealing with the issue but we also don’t want to leave those on the outside feeling powerless in the situation. While we have all experienced a mental illness in ourselves to some degree, many of us have experienced what it’s like to see someone you love go through mental illness and recovery.

Just as it is painful to physically feel the effects of mental illness on your own, it can be incredibly painful to watch your loved one going through something. You feel powerless against it, like you can’t do anything. It’s hard because there is a certain truth to that thought. In a lot of ways, there isn’t anything you can do. You can’t change the chemical composition in their brain to start working properly again, you can’t take that rock in their stomach and throw it away. Unfortunately, all you can do, really, is stand by them through it and refuse to leave their side. 

A Look Into the Other Side of These Experiences

An episode of anxiety, depression, or whatever ailment may afflict them, is a waiting game of sorts. In many ways, you have to wait out the storm to get to the other side. What a lot of us are seeking in those moments is the feeling that we are not alone. We want to have a hand to hold as our bodies rage against us. We want a shoulder to cry on as we try to purge ourselves of the battle inside us. We have the tools and the skills necessary to get through it. We can practice the ideas we learned in recovery to help get through the episode; all we need from you is to just be there. The feeling of loneliness and isolation is something that permeates- we feel like our battle is ours, alone, to fight; we feel like we are the only ones that can take on the load and the burden. Often, we can’t see that we need help in those moments. We are so clouded by our pain and the range of emotions flying around in us, that we can’t reach out and ask someone else to be there for us. This doesn’t mean that we need you to step up and take care of everything. We just need you to recognize that companionship is needed and we ask that you stay.  If you are with a loved one during a spell or episode, just stay there with them. Tell them that you’re there, with them, in the storm, and that you aren’t going to go anywhere until they are okay. That act alone can be enough to give us the courage and motivation to fight our way out of it. Just stand by our side and refuse to let us fall. Put your arm around us, hold our hand, breathe with us, and let us know that you are there. We all need to feel like we aren’t fighting it alone. We don’t need you to be our hero or our savior; just be our friend. 

We know that it is terrifying to watch someone go through something like an attack. Just as we feel powerless in the attack, we know that you feel powerless in watching it happen. It’s common and okay to be afraid. All we ask of you is to stand with us as we fight. Be the coach in our corner; we know that we will have to be the ones to throw the punches but we need someone else to be there with us. Navigating mental illness and recovery is complicated, confusing, and scary, and we don’t always realize how much help we need in the moment. We ask that you know that you, as you are, are enough to help us get through it. We are not putting the responsibility on you, but we are putting our trust in you. We believe that you can help us be okay. We love you and we know you love us. Stand by our side and the storm will pass. You are enough by just being here. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]