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Woman With Anxiety Makes A List For Her Boyfriend Of How To Deal With Her, And Everyone Needs To Read It

Sometimes being neurotic has it's advantages. One reason people with mental health problems have such a poor time with relationships is that they don't have the wherewithal or the language necessary to communicate the symptoms of their illness. This inevitably results in an inability of the other party (be it a family member, a co-worker, a lover, etc) to understand and alienation ensues between the two. Clearly, this woman has figured out that self-awareness is key to over-coming the strain of mental illness on relationships and I think everyone should take a cure from her playbook.

For those with mental health problems - don't get stuck in the question 'what am I doing wrong' but, rather, take note of your past failings, analyze what happened and work out how things could go differently in the future should a particular situation arise again. Keep a journal. Subscribe to reputable medical digests for the results of new studies that may be relevant to your condition. Read biographies of other people who have had mental health problems over the years and try to discover if their experiences are relevant to yours. This is where you will build self-awareness and develop the skills and language necessary to communicate successfully your condition to others. You are under no obligation to 'think positively' and 'just get over it', as the ignorant are fond of saying, but you do have an obligation to think constructively if your goal is to get better.

For those without mental health problems - If you can take the strain of living with a person so afflicted, then know that your self-awareness will help in their struggle. Study up on the condition of the person you are trying to help, listen to their attempts to communicate and see if the knowledge you're acquiring can lead to solutions for them. If they already have solutions, then take them to heart and do what you can to implement them should the need arise. Try not to be authoritative (given that it's not your brain that's malfunctioning and you definitely don't know how the other person feels) or dismissive/condescending (as in 'are you too scared to try this' or 'you just need to think positively') but rather make suggestions and try to intellectualize about the new solution should one arise. People with mental health problems already have a degree of deficiency in regard to self-esteem and it can only drive a wedge between you and the person you are trying to comfort if you take a confrontational tone. I know it can be frustrating but if you really care then you'll make the effort...
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Submitted on
May 24
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