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How should one deal with a partner's mental illness? This insightful article has thoughtful suggestions on dealing with tricky times.
How should one deal with a partner’s mental illness? This insightful article has thoughtful suggestions on dealing with tricky times.
If 1 in 4 people in the world will suffer from some form of mental illness, it impacts every 4th couple in this world, if not more.
Hopefully, this will be reason enough for society to look at the subject of mental illnesses a lot more seriously. Yes, relationships fail irrespective of illnesses. But they also do fail because of ignorance (deliberate or otherwise) towards the subject of mental illnesses. If only we could look at someone suffering from a mental illness as just another patient.
In no way do any of my posts mean to make myself and others like me sound like victims. A person with diabetes or high blood pressure is not regarded as a victim. Similarly, neither should someone with depression or schizophrenia. All one is trying to do is spread awareness, put forth a different perspective and let the reader ponder over a few facts.
A diabetes patient needs to be careful with their diet, stress levels, medication, and certain other lifestyle choices. Haven’t we seen partners support each other through this? There is empathy from every concerned party. In such cases, abandonment of the patient by his/her partner is frowned upon by the society. The same society insists a man/woman leave her partner in case they are diagnosed with a mental illness. Why?
Be thoughtful: replace the word ‘depression’ in any situation with the word ‘diabetes’ before displaying any strong reaction(s).
Disclosure is tricky business There is, of course, no simple answer to the question. Disclose, and you run the risk of being rejected straight off. Who wants a mentally troubled partner in this already troubled life? Yes, this could happen with disclosure of any kind of illness. When you disclose, you are giving someone ammunition. Do not disclose, and I believe the risk is bigger.
When you disclose, you are giving someone ammunition. Do not disclose, and I believe the risk is bigger.Never miss real stories from India's women.Register Now
When you disclose, you are giving someone ammunition. Do not disclose, and I believe the risk is bigger.
It is important for those with a mental illness to be understood. Not being understood definitely makes things worse. And most importantly, we deserve to be with someone who will love us as a whole. Right?
Statistics say 90 per cent of marriages in which one partner is suffering from Bipolar Disorder end in divorce. That is 5.7 million people on earth. In the earlier ages, those with a mental illness like Bipolar Disorder were termed as ‘difficult partners’, and life still went on. Today with diagnoses and names to every condition, it is easier for us to walk out of a difficult relationship without anyone raising an eyebrow. True? Please think about it.
Pic credt: Melvin_Es (Used under a CC license)
The power of stories to inspire change made me turn into a storyteller. I write on 2 topics that need a very clear shift in attitude – ‘Being single in India’ & ‘Stigma attached to mental read more...
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My house-help asked excitedly, “I am going for wedding. Can you let me wear your red & black saree? To be honest I was stumped for a moment; I didn’t know what to say but I still said yes.
I lent a gorgeous saree to my house-help for a wedding in her family. Soon I stated getting questions if I would wear that saree again or if I was okay to be seen wearing the same saree my house-help was wearing?
We are all so conditioned to give our used clothes to our house-helps but are we okay to wear the clothes they were wearing?
A few days ago she came excitedly to me, “I am going for a family wedding. I want to wear your red & black saree, Ill wash and give it to you after the function. Please can you let me wear it?”
Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum (SISP) is an ode to all of the lost women, who could have been sports stars, singers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, just... happy, if they hadn't been enslaved in matrimony, and then forgotten all about.
One of the cool things about my mother was that she was an ace athlete and a champion sculler as a young woman in the 1950s and 60s. I only found out about this side of her a few years ago. I imagine her in a paavaadai dhaavani, taking on the mighty Kaveri river so many decades ago.
I recently watched a Tamil film anthology on SonyLiv that she would have liked to watch – Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum, (SISP) that has 3 stories of 3 different women – Saraswathi, Devaki, and Shivaranjini.
Like all the heroines in the anthology, my mother’s talents were sacrificed at the altar of matrimony. She pawned her gold medals and silver cups one by one to pay for expensive textbooks for us or a gift for a niece on her wedding, money for which she didn’t dare ask my father, because it was her niece… I remember how she caressed the cups and how her face hardened as she shoved them into her bag to take to the jewellers.
Why do we still shy away from talking about a topic as serious as mental illness? Isn't it time we finally opened up and spoke about it? Dealt with it?
Why do we still shy away from talking about a topic as serious as mental illness? Isn’t it time we finally opened up and spoke about it? Dealt with it?
When it comes to talking about any form of mental illness, in our country, it leads to the raised eyebrows, the ‘shush! shhh!” and the whispers.
Depression may have no face but it is real and it exists. The struggle to do even the most mundane tasks (getting out of bed and showering) becomes cumbersome for the individual.
“I have anxiety disorder” is treated differently from "I have diabetes, so no sugar, please.” Why should there be this mental illness stigma?
“I have anxiety disorder” is treated differently from “I have diabetes, so no sugar, please.” Why should there be this mental illness stigma?
For anyone with a mental illness ‘label’, they know only too well that they are judged with that label forever. Whether they are a functioning individual or not, is not considered. If she is singing one day, she must be manic. If he is quiet some time, oh he must be in depression!
It is as if people are not allowed to have normal moods any more, and worse is how the mental illness stigma affects you outside, at work, in relationships, how society views you.