If you know about mental health battles, you know.
However, if you don’t, understanding what your partner or someone close to you is going through can be tricky. Knowing what they need can sometimes be a bit of a battle. And if you are someone that faces mental health difficulties, feeling misunderstood can be isolating.
Lesley Kelly, of the Do More Ag Foundation, says that from her own personal experience of watching her husband and family members struggle through anxiety and PTSD, it was a matter of her understanding that the situation didn’t always need to be “fixed.”
“It wasn’t until late one night when my husband Matt was going through a really hard time — his anxiety peaked, and he wasn’t sleeping — and I remember in the middle of the night, me walking up to him and thinking ‘hey, just come to bed. Just go to sleep.’ He showed me a journal of all the thoughts that were racing through his mind, and I couldn’t find one white piece of space on that paper,” Kelly recalls. “That was an ‘aha’ moment for me — I realized I don’t understand, and I don’t know what you are going through, but what I can do is help support you and know that this is a safe place for you to come to and talk. And I will listen.”
Those were the kind of conversations that Kelly says really helped her and her husband get closer, as it helped him open up about something he had been going through for over a decade.
“I didn’t know. I knew he had his moments, and I always attributed it to a hard day or a bad day, and I really didn’t know the extent of the extremes he was facing,” she says.
Letting someone know that you are available to listen, and that you are there for them, may seem small to someone that hasn’t battled with their own mind, but it really can be a game changer. As well, understanding that it’s a process, and our struggles can come up in many different forms at different times.
Patience is key to understanding, and from someone who battles with mental struggles myself, just know, to my friends, family, and close ones, our hearts really go out to you. Being there is a huge step.