Written by Chrys Minter
We were together almost a year when I vividly remember my girlfriend having angry outbursts. At the time, I wasn’t sure of what to do. I had never been in a relationship with someone who I truly loved who had periods of angry outbursts.
Honestly, I was very concerned and somewhat fearful of her hurting herself and walking out on me. But I never thought about leaving her.
That was eight years ago. Today she is my wife. Looking back, we had more calm days that outweighed the rough, but she was still lashing out in anger and starting heated arguments. Neither of us could pinpoint what the problem was exactly.
My heart was telling me that she needed help, but neither of us knew she had a mental illness. She ended up calling her dad and asking for help. They went to the doctor together and she was officially diagnosed with depression.
Mental Health is a Real Problem
Even though 61 million Americans live with mental illness each year, it is a silent issue that many view as taboo. In the LGBTQ community we are three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or anxiety. It is a topic we don’t discuss, especially in the black community.
After my girlfriend was diagnosed, I wasn’t sure what my next steps should be. The only logical thing I could think to do was to pray.
I prayed and asked God what should I do. The answer I got was, “Love her through it.”
I ran with that answer and loved her unconditionally. I loved her beyond what was just surface level; I loved her to the depths of her hurts. When she had break downs, I held her and cried with her. I constantly reminded her that I was there for her every step of the way.
She Asked If I was Going to Leave Her
During one of her breakdowns, she asked if I was going to leave her because of her depression. I told her the thought never entered my mind. It was a new relationship, but I refused to allow her to go through depression alone. I took on her issue as if it were my own.
Before leaving for work every morning, I woke her up for her medication and also before I went to sleep at night I made sure she had taken her medication. I went with her to as many doctor’s appointments as I was able. We researched different levels and types of depression together as a couple.
I didn’t look down on her when she lashed out. I stepped back and refused to return fire with fire. The key was silence until the dust settled. No matter how frustrating her behavior was, I never used it against her in later conversations. I made sure I was positive and supportive. I prayed her through, talked her through, and loved her through to the point where she realized she wanted to come off of her medications.
She Stopped Taking Her Meds
This decision to stop taking her medications was not made by her doctor, it was her own choice. She felt like the medication was just sedating her. She couldn’t feel her emotions, including the ones she wanted to feel. I was supportive of her decision and let her know that if she ever felt the need for medication again, I would be just as loving and supportive as before.
It was a rough start to a new relationship, but I’m glad I hung in there. Today we address her depression by praying as a couple and distancing ourselves from anything toxic; that includes people and environments. She is doing great now, and to this day, I am still loving her unconditionally.
Tips for Loving Someone With a Mental Illness
- Pay attention to their triggers and be there to loving talk her down as much as possible.
- Love, Love and more love!
- Pray for her.
- Be supportive.
- Take care of yourself!