It can be challenging to know when to walk away from someone with mental illness. On the one hand, you may feel obligated to help and support them, but on the other hand, you can’t be expected to put your own mental health at risk.
The struggle of having a relationship with someone with a mental illness can be very tough. It’s important to remember that our mental health is just as important as that of the person with mental illness. You need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, too.
When it’s time to walk away from someone, it can be a difficult decision to make. It’s likely one that’s been wrestled with for some time. But when looking after someone else risks your own mental and physical health, it might be time to make the tough decision to leave. It can also be beneficial for the person to take care of their own support and recovery.
The Struggle of Being in a Relationship With Someone With a Mental Illness
Mental illnesses are a common issue for adults in the United States. In 2020, it was found that nearly one in five U.S. adults was living with a mental health issue (around 52.9 million people). Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental illnesses.
Mental illness can make everyday activities and relationships very difficult. It can be hard to maintain a relationship when one or both partners are dealing with a mental illness. Partners may need help with routine tasks such as cooking, cleaning and paying bills. In some cases, your partner may take their frustrations out on you or become verbally abusive.
Natural instinct will be to help your partner when they’re going through a tough time. You may believe you’re responsible for their behavior or that you can “fix” them, but this isn’t the case. Only one person is ultimately accountable for their actions and recovery, and that’s the person with the mental illness. There may come a time when it feels impossible to continue, and you may need to consider ending things.
Importance of Valuing Your Mental Health
When trying to support someone with mental health issues, it’s easy to disregard your own. This may be manageable in the very short term, but over time it can become increasingly difficult and even lead to severe problems such as burnout, stress and depression. It’s important to take care of your own mental health first.
Walking away from a mentally ill parent, spouse or friend to save your own mental health isn’t selfish. It’s understandable and even necessary in some cases. No one can be expected to put their life on hold indefinitely to support someone else. The decision to leave could be the healthiest option for you, even if it doesn’t feel like it at first.
Have You Exhausted All Reasonable Avenues?
Giving up on someone with mental illness is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you’re struggling with the right thing to do, ask yourself if you’ve exhausted all reasonable avenues. If you have, remember that you can’t force someone to get help, and they may not be ready or willing to accept it.
You may have tried multiple times to get them professional help, but if they aren’t following through with treatment, there’s not much else you can do. It’s possible they’re in denial about their illness or don’t believe they need help. In this case, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself and focus on your own well-being.
Provide Them With Options to Seek Help
A useful thing to do, even before you consider leaving, is to collect information on the help options available. This could include giving the person with mental health issues the number for a crisis line, helping them find a support group, finding details on treatments available or providing information on therapists in the area.
Leaving them with this information can help reassure you in times of doubt. It can also be a valuable resource for the person if they do want to seek help at some point in the future.
Making the Decision to Leave
Making the decision to walk away from someone with mental illness can be one of the hardest decisions you make. You may feel like you’re giving up on them, but it’s important to remember that you aren’t giving up on the person; you’re protecting yourself. If you have exhausted all avenues and aren’t in a position to support them, walking away might be the best thing for both of you.
Once you remove yourself as a support system, it may become easier for the person to accept help. They may realize they need to seek professional help when they’re no longer able to lean on you.
Committing to Your Decision
Once you’ve decided that letting go of someone with mental illness is the best thing for both of you, don’t falter; follow through with it. This might mean distancing yourself from them or cutting off contact altogether. Your mental well-being is a priority too, and you need to do what’s best for you.
There will likely be times when you doubt or regret your decision, but it’s essential to remember why you made it in the first place. You’re not responsible for their well-being and can’t force them to recover. It may be a good idea for you to speak to a professional about your decision to walk away if you’re struggling with it.
Mental Health Treat Options Available
Mental health issues like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and PTSD can be effectively treated with medication, therapy or a combination of both. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health issues, speak to a professional today about the treatment options available. Contact Restore at (877) 594-3566 to find out how we can help.