12 Things My Husband Does that Help When I’m Struggling

My husband has taught me a lot about what it means to support someone.

Posted Jul 03, 2019

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Supporting a loved one with mental illness can be trying. I’ve witnessed the toll it takes on my husband. I’ve experienced it as a daughter of a mother and father who both had psychiatric conditions. A chronic mental health condition is like addiction. Even when well managed, its presence is still felt in the relationship.  

My husband has taught me a lot about what it means to support someone. With practice, I do it more and more for myself. Some I already knew, some I only discovered by being with him at my most vulnerable, my most messy. 

Think psychosis. Think oozing self-loathing. Think unrelenting anxiety. I know. Yuck.

What Works

Someone who…

1. Walks beside me on the journey

2. Watches a movie with me

3. Can stand my company even when I can’t

4. Listens without fixing

5. Listens and helps me problem solve

6. Sets boundaries and let’s me know when he’s reached his limit

7. Reminds me it’s ok to take my beta-blockers; that I DON’T always have to tough it out

8. Talks with me about ‘trivial’ things that have nothing to do with how I feel

9. Requires honesty

10. Tells me to un-pretzel myself when I’m in my most challenging yoga pose. You know that one of navel gazing and head up my butt. It’s surprising how long I can hold that posture.

11. Helps me name things I’m ashamed of – like when he asks ‘peeled grape’ day? Yes – that’s how I feel, frequently, more frequently than I’d like to admit.

12. Explains naps are good medicine and gives him a break too!

What does your partner do that helps you when you’re in struggle mode?

What do you do as a partner to help your loved one?

© Victoria Maxwell