We were created for relationship—with God and with one another. But when we face the challenge of mental illness, our relationships undergo a lot of strain. There are misunderstandings for everyone involved. The emotions of the person suffering with mental illness and their loved ones are complicated. So how do we have strong relationships in the light of mental health struggles?
Today we’re going to talk about mental illness and healthy relationships: where do we start?
I’m Angela Howard, my passion is to break the stigma of mental illness among fellow Christians. I’m here to help you live a more purposeful life with God, and with one another. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can get the first updates of new content.
When relationships are blindsided by mental health issues there are a lot of emotions….
Frustration, doubt, confusion, anger at God, at your loved one, or even at other people for not understanding what you’re going through. It’s messy and it’s heartbreaking.
At the same time, you might also experience a sense of determination. That’s how I felt. I wasn’t going to give up on my husband, even when people told me I should.
It’s difficult to experience so many conflicting emotions. When your world is upside down, where do you start building healthy relationships?
#1 Focus on allowing yourself to grieve.
NOT doing this, was probably the biggest mistake that I ever made when facing my husband’s bipolar diagnosis. Grief is natural when you are facing something that will change your life and life of those you love.
Grief isn’t a straight line. You need to grieve…
- What you thought your relationships would be.
- What you dreamed for yourself and that other person.
- The reality of your life today.
- The obstacles that mental illness represents.
It’s okay to grieve. You are grieving a loss, as well as starting the process of remaking of your new life.
#2 Focus on the power of grace.
We need to receive the power of God’s grace, especially when we’re overwhelmed, wondering how we will face another day. His grace is sufficient for us in our weakness. We don’t have to be strong. We can rest in His grace.
We also need to offer grace to our loved ones. There are no perfect circumstances. No perfect people. No perfect way to handle this complex issue of mental illness in our relationships. The worst thing we can do is jump to judgment, narrowmindedness, and fear.
We need God’s grace to cover our sin when we mess up.
We need grace to begin to write a new story for your lives.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
You are not alone in your grief, God’s grace will sustain and comfort you.
We’re going to be taking a whole month to address mental illness and our relationships, so what are your biggest struggles? Comment below, I’d love to hear for you!
Please subscribe for videos on our Youtube Channel for our amazing resources. I’ll be sharing great tips and encouragement for whatever your facing—whether you’re fighting mental illness or have a loved one who is.
Connect to a counselor: https://hisheartfoundation.org/request-a-counselor-referral/