I'm tired of seeing the posts that tell people to go to therapy or find a psychiatrist and that then very clearly insinuate that if you don't, that you aren't working on your mental illness. It's important to have the RIGHT mental health professionals. The wrong ones are a waste of time at best and actively harmful at worst, esp. when we're talking about psychiatry (remember: these folks have the ability to literally change your brain. Their Rx pad & signature is extreme power over you. When improperly used, it can make you end up in the hospital against your will… and if you're committed, you lose a number of rights forever even once you come out.)
Many folks find traditional treatment options to be ineffective. Many folks have been harmed at the hands of the mental heath profession and it's very traumatic for them to even consider going again. Many folks use alternative treatment options instead. Going to therapy or being on meds is one option, one choice. Others use group therapy, peer counseling/support, alternative medicine (herbs, acupuncture, etc.), yoga, tai chi, exercise… there's as many options as their are people. Support someone towards wellness, even if that means not being in therapy at that time. Support their right to not choose that path. Listen to them when they talk about how they've been hurt by it… take their pain seriously.
And that being said...
2.) your mental illness is like any other illness… yours to treat or ignore as you see fit. (Also, it's not all or nothing. most people sit some where in the middle.)
Many people ignore physical problems they're having… that sore knee, that rash, the twitching in their eye. It's their right to do that. It doesn't make them a bad person or not worthy of doing whatever (dating, owning a house, etc.) just because they're not taking care of it. It's the EXACT SAME WAY with mental illness. If someone's not treating it, that's their prerogative. You should do everything possible to not make that the conditions of your dating or relationship or whatever hinge on them taking care of their mental illness in a specific way… or to the amount that you think they should do. Respect their right to get as much or little treatment as they see fit, just as you'd want them to respect that you don't feel like getting that clicking in your elbow looked at. We have the right to do whatever we want and get treated or not get treated or get treated the amount we want.
Now, when it affects you, you have every right to have boundaries. Communication is essential. Maybe you'd rather have couples therapy for learning how to deal with their illness. And it's ok to lovingly and gently say "you know, this really seems to be affecting you. Have you considered that it might be time to get more help? It's totally ok to get more help… no shame! What kinds of help might you want to get?"
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