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A recent letter, a former lover and a history of covering up for my mother triggered me to sit down at the computer and write this.

In the past I’ve written about my personal brushes with mental illness within my family, my mother to be exact. She is Paranoia Schizophrenic. I’ve candidly described the shame and frustration of not understanding how a chemical imbalance could cause such an upheaval in my family and even to this day have a tough time wrapping my fingers around it. I also pleaded for others to educate themselves more before making assumptions and throwing judgements when somebody goes over the edge and commits a heinous crime, due to a lack of medication or simply going undiagnosed.

As passionate as my online advocacy may be there is still a large percentage of the population who remain ignorant, in denial, and in the dark about mental disorders & illness. “If I don’t see it, it does not exist”

I’ll never forget the evening that he opened up to me about his anxiety disorder. Everything began to make sense, the intense scheduling, and the acute sense to detail, the hard time keeping and making plans, the spontaneity. If I hadn’t been dealt the schizophrenic card earlier in life, I would’ve assumed he was a cheating mess. I became engulfed in Google as I searched through forums for an answer…Was this worth staying in?

I’d never had to sacrifice in this way before and it came naturally to me. I generally wanted to be a support and that’s all I could be.

It was not the severity of schizophrenia or depression, and you will never know that he lives with the disorder, but it affected him nonetheless. In relationships with friends, family and lovers one of our responsibilities is to ensure that the other person feels supported by us.

When you are no longer willing to sacrifice or be supportive, perhaps due to the other person’s willingness to reciprocate on some level, that’s when you know a relationship has probably come to the end of its rope.

If you are feeling someone with a mental illness or disorder, do your research and talk to your mate about it. Find out how they take care of themselves and function daily, and most importantly be honest with yourself and your limitations.

What happens when s&%t gets real and the person you have come to know as your significant other reveals to you that they have a mental disorder or illness? They have managed to function daily with the aid of medication or therapy. Their episodes are not as frequent and they are simply ready for love, your love.

Do you run? Stay? Stick it out?

What happens when things get even more real and you find out before your partner does that they need help?

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