Grief and losing someone you love.

My grandpa recently passed away. That’s the short story. Gramps died and I’m completely broken-hearted and I don’t know what to do with myself. I guess that’s why I’m writing.

I received that dreaded phone call whilst working. Understatement of the century … he’d passed away. Early hours, alone in his hospital bed, the nurse asked if he wanted a cuppa tea he replied ” Yes please, Thank you” she came back and he had passed away.

I am heartbroken. as a family we are truly and utterly heartbroken. He was my Grandpa, Gramps. My Big G. Grumpypants. The only man in my life that told me off and I fully listened too. He is the first person I have lost… And I am so, so heartbroken. I feel completely overwhelmed with grief. Is that a thing? I feel it, like I’m drowning in it. My heart actually hurts from it. Not in a metaphorical sense, in a real, genuine, my heart is literally painfully smashing into pieces way. 

I can’t picture a life without him in it. That’s a cliche and a half I know, but they’re cliches for a reason, right? I genuinely can’t see my life without him in it, I’m never going to hear his voice again.

And that’s the part I can’t wrap my head around: I’m never going to talk to him ever again. We’re never going to bicker again. Or, rather, he’s never going to always be right again. He’s never going to joke around with me about the welsh rugby or tell me off for silly things. He is never going to make the most yummiest pies again 😦

Grief is weird, huh? I’m so desperately sad at the thought of never talking to him again, more so than I can explain to you, but just remembering all those old times puts a teeny smile on my face. Because he really was an incredible man. A formidable man. He terrified me when I was a kid, especially when he put on his loud booming voice.

He had the most loveliest send off. He was such a talented caring man. He would make models out of polystyrene and wood for carnival floats. He even made a staircase out of a tree and ripped the bark off. He was so so talented. All the grandchildren had a teddy bear made out of his clothes and the red carnations, family members wore on the day of the funeral are being pressed.

I don’t know what to do, or how to deal with how I’m feeling. I can’t cope with it. I I don’t know what this feeling is. It’s too much. I’ve made endless cups of tea, tried to do some work and failed, tapped out a blog post, did a spot of yoga … nothing is working. The last conversation I had with him was to enjoy my life and do not regret anything.

Check in with your parents or grandparents tonight, peeps.

You‘re gonna kick the absolute shit outta yourself if you don’t and something goes wrong. 

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My Definition Of Toxic

Hey me again… ever since lockdown I feel like we are all trying to get our shit together … I have been so quiet , literally hibernating to meet deadlines and focus on studying for my first exam! Scary I know… not prepared at all. But anyway here I am.. everyone seems to throw the word toxic round like it doesn’t mean anything. I am going to be writing about what it means to me and how I define the word “toxic”.

Urban dictionary definition of “toxic” Adjective used to describe usually very negative person, that bitch about everything, spread unnecessary hate or just talk shit about others. Googles definition of “toxic” very harmful or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way. But toxic is a lot more than those definitions, do you agree?

My definition of toxic is when someone has hurt you so much to the point where you are just tired of it, but you do not want to pay any attention to it as to you they are a “good person” and in some ways you love them relationship or not. You are willing to keep getting hurt by the same person hoping that some day they will change… but they don’t. You start thinking about bad things about yourself, thinking you are not worth it and you start losing your worth.. that is toxic.

Toxic is when they start abusing you physically,mentally and emotionally but you don’t care because you want to keep loving them, you want to make them a better person. Toxic is when they stop putting effort into you, they stop talking to you, they don’t want to see you, they don’t care about you. You need effort, time and to feel appreciated by the ones surrounded by you. You got to love yourself before loving anyone else, caring about yourself before anyone else is not toxic. But letting someone control you and who you are is.. don’t let nobody tell you what you can and cannot do.

YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON. You are not them and you will never be like them you are yourself and if someone does not like it well they do not deserve you. It is crazy how a person can hurt you and you make feel so little like your feelings are not appreciated. It is crazy how they can affect you and your future.. but it does not always have to be like that. It is also crazy how a person can hurt you and not give a damn, no matter what nobody’s lives are perfect.

We get knocked down lower then we have ever been before just so we can climb higher than we have ever have. Do not lose faith in yourself entirely, there are so many people in the world out there, sometimes it is okay to take a break from the world and focus on yourself so you can come back better than ever. If this pandemic has taught me anything.. everything works both ways, stop putting effort in if you do not get anything back in relationships, families, friendships.

Do not let toxic people stop you from being happy, living your life and getting what you want. Chase your dreams.

Do you feel the same, is this what toxic means to you? Do you have someone in your life that is giving off bad energy and coming across toxic? remember you are your own person!!

Peace, Love and Gin xoxo

I am A Difficult Woman – But I love Being A Difficult Woman

Females are secretly celebrated in society for being kind, gentle and delicate, any sign of weakness and a woman is usually taken advantage of. Though I haven’t mastered the art of saying no and standing up for every belief, I am developing the strength of a difficult woman. I’m beginning to stop letting others voice their opinions, I’m growing weary of one-sided friendships. A difficult woman is inspirational. History celebrates women like Marilyn Monroe who fought her studio bosses and Elizabeth I who refused to marry and give away her power. Women who go for want they want and defy anyone who tells them they can’t. It’s the ultimate female empowerment description. Why is it still negative for women to possess such levels of ambition?

Being a difficult woman doesn’t mean I’m not nice or thoughtful. It doesn’t mean I don’t take pleasure in cooking for a man or taking care of them. Growing up quiet and unable to handle confrontation, I felt taken for granted by my closest friends. Going out of my way to visit them, attending their activities when they found excuses for not agreeing to mine.

A couple of years ago, I cancelled out relationships and started putting my thoughts first. I spent my early Teens always worrying about men and whether I’d find a husband and someone willing to love me. Now I realise the shortness of my time and the need to put my dreams first. I am a difficult woman. I’m not 100% there and have a way to go before I master business. Yet I continue to voice my opinions, follow the path I want and not let my natural kindness stand in my way.

I have gone through shit and come out smelling of roses, I have kept my head held high when situations have been tough, I have confronted people who I didn’t think I would ever cross. Being a strong woman does not define who you are!

Difficult women answer back. Difficult women make themselves heard. They don’t back down. They’re loud. They challenge the status quo. They’re not all that easily pleased. They hustle. They’re the ones who get called headstrong (ugh). In men, similar traits are called, variously: ambition, drive, discernment. Think about it. When, pray tell, was the last time you heard a man get called difficult? Being difficult is really “another way of saying female and ‘brave enough to express the full range of one’s humanity.’ ”

Once upon a time, I used to think it was purely a compliment to be called “nice.” “But you’re so nice,” someone might say: “I can’t ever imagine you getting into an argument.” Or, “I can’t ever imagine you having a dark side,” or, “I can’t imagine you writing a book with a murder in it.” I’m sure the people who said it always meant well. But actually what they were doing was putting me into a box. Because society loves its boxes. Women, in particular, are often categorized as one thing or the other. You’re a nice woman. Or you’re . . . difficult.

Difficult women are “ambitious and bold, adventurous and emotional, brainy and defiant, incorrigible and outlandish, determined and badass.” They are about pleasing themselves as much as those around them. They don’t say yes simply because it is expected of them. As a result, they might put a few backs up, but they end up getting what they really want. (As a side note: You can guarantee that difficult women have better sex.)

Really, we should be allowed to be both “nice” and “difficult.” We’re not necessarily one thing or the other—we are all made up of many different and often contradictory, conflicting parts. And it’s definitely true that the world could do with people being a bit nicer to each other. So this isn’t to bash “niceness,” per se—but it is to say don’t be nice at the expense of your sense of self-worth. Difficult women never do that—and that’s why I love them. Because being difficult is also, crucially, about loving yourself.

What Makes Me Feel Like A Proper “Grown Up”

Recently I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a grown up.… I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a grown up. Do you know how I know this? Because I do all of these things:

Using the outdoor washing line so I don’t have crunchy towels. I hate crunchy towels. It doesn’t matter how much fabric softener I use, my towels are never soft. My towels hate me.

Owning a bag for life. Even though I never use it unless I need somewhere to store my clothes when I clear my wardrobes out. Or when I’m moving house. That’s it though. I never use the bag for life in quite the way they have been intended. I have a drawer filled with bags for life. Those fuckers are gonna outlive me, that’s for sure. They don’t ever get used. That’s why they are a bag for life. It’s a con.

Not eating the entire bar of chocolate. I can actually open a bar, eat like five squares, wrap it up and put it back in the cupboard now. When I wasn’t a grown up, I would have eaten the entire bar. Chocolate in resealable bags were wasted on me. Now I use the resealable bags. I’m a grown up now. I can say no when enough is enough. Well, sometimes anyway.

I own an umbrella. When I wasn’t a grown up, I danced in the rain. I love the rain. I find the rain weirdly romantic in a wet kinda way. One of my ultimate fantasies is to recreate the scene in Nine and a Half Weeks where they fuck in the rain, on the stairs, down a deserted alley. So hot. Too hot. But now I’m an adult, the rain worries me. My makeup might run… I straightened my hair this morning, and it’ll go frizzy if it’s wet. I’ll be wet… Back then I didn’t care.

I don’t like drinking anymore and I suffer with three day hangovers. Actual three day hangovers. Not exaggerated ones. You know that thing they tell you when you’re young – you’ll grow outta partying every night and one day your hangovers will kill you? Yep, that truly does happen.

Eating Ceasar salad. What an adult dinner dish. As I sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and top it all off with a few croutons, I admire my handiwork and think to myself, what an adult dinner! It even looks like a grown up dinner, all healthy and nutritious and colourful. Apparently all of us grow up in the end…

Walking past 18 year old versions of myself. Or even younger these days. I see them – the little blonde girls with the big blue eyes and the badass streak and I think, what happened to me? I used to be one of those girls. Now I worry about paying my mobile phone bill on time and whether or not my sun cream is strong enough for me to avoid getting cancer.. will my hair fall out if I go blonder.

So there you have it. I’m a grown up. I get excited by things and I worry about whether or not I’ve had the time to bleach the toilet this week.. I would rather have an easy life and long for a relationships without too many dramas.

Reaching 10K Readers

Yes that is right Huns!!! 10K READERS!!

I couldn’t be anymore proud of myself, thank you all for your continued support and taking your time to read my content. LOVE TO YOU ALL

Thank you for listening to my rants, my unusual advice and just my life in general. I know I am such a bad blogger now, my posts are not quite as frequent and I do not share as much anymore. I STILL do write as discussed in one of my blog posts – I just do not share as often 😉 https://thesocialblonde.blog/2021/04/20/why-i-write/

I am going to keep this short and sweet but here are a list of the countries my blog has reached!

Your support has been incredible, I never thought it would have taken off to 10K, I only started this blog as something to keep me busy and occupied as I love writing. To have this much support behind me is unreal. 10,000 People reading my content, that is such an achievement.

I’ve been documenting my life for just over a year in this brutally honest blog, covering painful breakups, delicious make-ups, awkward first dates, sex tips, tough mental health battles, and some very #NSFW sex tales. (Even a few embarrassing ones, too.)

I’m telling the tales of all the boys + girls I’ve loved before, all the boys + girls I’ve f*cked before, and all the VERY bad decisions I’ve made.

And I’m pretty unapologetic about the lot. But you know what? I am not going to stop! My goal is to turn 10,000 into 20,000 readers by January 2022!

The Social Blonde, can and will do this!

Much love to all my readers, Xoxo

I Am The Ultimate Judge Of Myself No One Else Is! Self Love Is The Goal

I AM THE ULTIMATE JUDGE OF MYSELF – NO ONE ELSE IS! I can only control my behavior and actions. I need to LOVE ME!

Self love is so important. Because when you’re all alone and it’s 3 am and you’re crying, who’s going to be there for you?obviously yourself. You have to pick yourself up and find the strength to carry on, at the end of the day, you’re all you’ve got.

The whole self love thing is good and all but some people can’t fathom being loved. They can’t imagine there being anything good about them. So they can’t simply just stop doing unhealthy things, there’s a process. 

Before self love you have to have self tolerance and self neutrality. 
If you can’t say “I love my body!” say “my body gets me from place to place.”
If you can’t say “I’m beautiful,” begin by shutting down the “I’m ugly” thoughts and saying “I’m a person.”
If you can’t say “I’m valuable” begun by shutting down the “I’m worthless” thoughts and say “all people deserve basic respect, and I’m a person.”

If you can’t say “I’m important,” or “I’m kind” say “I am the one who waters my plant every week” or “I am the one who tips the kind bartender down the street” or “I am the one who makes sure my dog does not eat plastic” or “I am the one who leaves long comments on people’s posts.”

You can be kind, be gentle, be loving, be inspiring, but refuse to let anyone walk over you. Find your worth, and after you do, you’ll start holding yourself up to a higher standard.

This will cause you to start holding people up to a higher standard than you’ve ever done because you know you deserve more than what has been given to you in the past.

You can be kind but be nasty against anything that will bring you down. You can be loving but detest hate. You can be inspiring but be uninspired by anything that does that match to your level.

But most importantly, be kind to yourself. Be gentle to yourself. Be loving to yourself. Inspire yourself. You’ve been through alot. You’ve learned alot of valuable lessons and you’ll learn even more. You’re strong and capable of anything you put yourself up to. You’re everything you need.

Your life speaks louder than your voice ever can. How we live and how we treat people is who we really are – not the things we claim to do or be. Let how you live your life be a testament to who you really are.

I will tell you again and again:

Choose the life you want and run in that direction.

Don’t settle for anything else.

Trust the next chapter because you are the author.

Why I Write….

I feel the need to apologise for being a bad blogger again, but I’m trying to do less apologising in 2021. It’s one of those New Year’s Resolutions that I’ve already broken, but hey, there’s still plenty of time to turn things around. 

2020 was a weird year. 2021 has been so kind to me so far. I’m hoping it will stay this way..

FINGERS CROSSED, FOLKS. 

I definitely should blog more, though. I got the domain and hosting renewal email a while back and actually wondered whether I should bother. It’s not like I blog these days. What’s the point in having a blog when you don’t blog? So, I cancelled the renewal and figured I’d let it run out. 

Exactly 25 minutes later, I renewed everything I just cancelled. I *am* still a blogger. I have 70+ blog posts here, some not quite finished, never published. I still write. I write a lot. I just don’t share my words with the world anymore because I’m a wimp. [Translation: anxiety.] But I want to start sharing again. I miss it. I always miss it.

BEFORE I START SHARING, I WANT TO SHARE A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN MY LIFE … 

I’m still with that guy.. We’re still very happy, looking at travelling the world together as of next year!

I am half way through my Business Mangement degree! Amazing I know.

My anxiety and depression are still winning every day. However I have been fully signed off my Therapy! I have lost more weight, enough to get skinny-shamed by people I haven’t seen in a while.. I have weird eating habits that aren’t specific enough to be classed as an eating disorder, but definitely involve a lot of control. And that’s the first time I’ve ever admitted that. 

I wanted to settle down, get a mortgage and have kids, but now I just want to travel and feel free with the love of my life.

Found out I am allergic to latex – wish I had a funny story to tell about this but I do not.

I have learnt I am a massive shopaholic and could probably open up my own clothes store at this rate..

Lockdown made me realise there is more to my hometown and making memories with the ones you love is so important.

My mum and I have gotten so close, I love the relationship we have now!

I have cut all toxic people out of my life, had a massive social media blitz and I am so frigging happy!!!

Avoided medical appointments. Chipped a front tooth opening a wine bottle. Cried more tears than I could ever tell you about and had bigger meltdowns than 2007 Britney. I didn’t shave my head, although I came close once or twice. (I’m not even kidding.) 

I binge-watched everything — literally everything — there is to watch on Netflix, whilst working 9 hour days (from home). I like to pretend that I work that much for the money, and a big part of it is that, but it’s also because working is easier than thinking. There were a few points in 2019 and 2020 that were so low and bleak I didn’t know if I’d make it through. I’m fine and I didn’t do anything stupid, but I thought about it almost every day. I got myself a new tattoo instead. It’s like an acceptable form of self-harm. I probably shouldn’t say that, but it totally is. Most of my tattoos came about during periods of darkness in my life. 

And that’s pretty much where I’m at. Trying to get my shit together, love myself and LIVE! Things can change with the flip of a coin. But I am not kidding my life is pretty fucking dandy right now and I have so much going for me! Thailand, Asia and Italy are on the cards next year for sure!!

Anyway, I hope you’re all doing well.

WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN YOUR LIVES? 

How People Try To Break You

One minute you’re a child with a best friend forever, the next you walk into a room full of people and assume only a handful are nice.

You truly grow up when you realise not everyone has your best interests. We are taught to always compete. We are labelled from a young age. The “clever one”, the “pretty one”, and the “funny one”.

It’s not about competing with the person opposite. You have to compete with yourself. Aim to be your best and you cannot do any more. Infact, if you compete against a person, you might win and then there will always be another.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands this concept; some people take their envy and twist it into negative malice. These are a few ways i have found that people try to break you, and how to react with each one.

1. The belittling

You have just opened up about your dream job or some exciting news; this person doesn’t want you to feel too good. They decide to mock or talk down to you in an attempt to lower your esteem. I am all for sarcasm, but sometimes a false humour is used to cover how awful they are being.

Honestly, being such a dreamer, I am beyond used to this. I have experienced family and friends criticise my decisions and do so in a way that makes me feel stupid. Sometimes no one cares until they see you doing well, and then they want to throw in their comments.

What to do

Simply keep going. Don’t argue. Don’t defend yourself. You know what you are doing and what you want. In a world full of people with dreams on the back-burner, it speaks volume about your character that you aim high. The best way to revenge these comments is to do you. Even if your plans do not all work out, you will live knowing you lived to the full and believed in your heart. That’s a great life to have!

2. The copier

Not just a highschool phase, copying can stem from a sinister route. I’m not talking about a person being inspired by your work or wanting to buy jeans they have seen you worn. That’s rather complimenting.

I’m talking about that person who copies purely to compete. Everything you do, they do as well to try to beat you at it. I have recently had someone who would do this and even to this day, I’m sure she still does. If she is reading this, PLEASE STOP!

What to do

Firstly, if you have someone that competitive, question whether they are actually your friend. Copying can be down to insecurity, so it’s important to know the difference. Truly, keep things to yourself. Don’t share information with a person not embracing your happiness. And don’t keep noticing. Just move on and focus on what you are doing. Worrying about others who do not care about you, is wasted energy. Besides, anyone copying and you are doing something right! Just block them!

3. The bragger

In today’s world, do we all kind of brag? Again there is a difference with people who love sharing their life and people who love rubbing it towards you.

Not always related to boosting self-esteem, bragging can occur due to the need to make you feel bad. They may ask you a question first and make your answer appear inadequate, or they make a point of comparing lives, persuading yours to look insignificant.

What to do

Keep your tone the same. Why let them affect you and if they have, Why show them? Don’t fake happiness or pretend you are uninterested, just stick your usual reactions. Nothing gets to a bragger more than knowing their bragging is not effective.

4. Negative Nancy

Apologies if you are called Nancy and you are positive!

Negatives like putting a big minus next to all your goals. However big or small, a negative wants you to know how unrealistic your desires are.

Mainly down to envy, they fear you achieving and setting out to do what they are afraid of.

What to do

Well, avoid sharing your positivity. It’s tempting to counteract and stand up for yourself when someone doubts your capabilities; often this does not deter them. Don’t give them the option of deciding whether to crush your thoughts, share your passions with people who inspire them.

5. The judgemental/down talkers

The biggest, I have resentment towards you and want you to fail, in my opinion.

Judgement is one of the worst. Beyond hypocritical, people who make themselves feel better by making others feel ashamed.

Alongside this category is the down talkers. Not only do they criticise, react negatively and belittle, they make you feel wrong. They take on an superior role. They target your intelligence. Down talkers can be conceited, they can attack you whilst pretending they are innocent. You can end up questioning your confidence, then questioning why you are questioning it. Any questions?

What to do

This is the one where I believe you should stand up for yourself. There is no such thing as a perfect human. Whoever decides to criticise you, are already in the wrong.

Be stronger than their weak opinions. Down talk especially, why entertain it? Cut the conversation. Your ears deserve more!

How many of these have you experienced? Please comment below and thank you for reading.

Peace, Love and Gin Xoxo

How To Make The Most Of Your Twenties…

Some would argue that your twenties are the best years of your life. And then those of us in our twenties would disagree… Why is that? Well, your twenties are confusing and expensive. Mostly expensive. Many of us are still working tirelessly at jobs that pay us nothing, all while trying to pay back thousands upon thousands in student loan debts.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m about to be 24 this year and I feel very blessed for the life I have today. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always been a walk in the park; at least not the way it’s portrayed in movies. All the romantic comedies star a woman in her late twenties who’s working as a senior editor for a high-end magazine and living in a lush apartment in the city. How the f*** did she land that gig? Basically, we’re searching for answers on how to make sense of this messy life we’re leading. And in today’s post, I’m going to share with you some ways to make the most of your twenties.

Be Willing To Embarrass Yourself

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve learned to accept the fact that sometimes I’m super awkward. And sometimes I embarrass myself with what I say, do, or the questions I ask. And you know what? That’s OK. You’re never going to become a better person if you let the fear of failure or embarrassment take over your life. If you have something to say, say it.

Don’t Waste Your Time In A Job You Hate

Sometimes you need to work a job you hate because you need to make ends meet, I get it. However, you’re far too young to allow yourself to become complacent in a job that isn’t fulfilling. There’s nothing worse than waking up every morning and dreading the drive to work. Find a job that excites you! We have this amazing thing called the internet. There are endless opportunities out there, you just have to be willing to go out and find them.

Determine Your Non-Negotiables

This goes for your personal life and your professional life. What are the things that you’re just not willing to settle for? Determining those things will improve your happiness tenfold. I never did this until recently and believe me, it’s well worth it.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Having genuinely good friends who will be there for you no matter what is so important. Surround yourself with good people, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a toxic friendship.

Be Honest

Be honest with yourself and your relationships. Accept when you’re wrong, listen to other’s advice and just be a good person. Period.

Travel

Visit as many places as you can, experience life before it is too late! Fall in love with nature, you will not be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by, friends! I hope you found this helpful.

Peace,Love and Gin xoxo

Mental Illness and Relationships – How to Make It Work?

I’m creative, funny, conversational. With the number of podcasts and documentaries I watch, you couldn’t say I have nothing to talk about. But I’m also someone who struggles with anxiety, PTSD and sporadic depression. From my experiences, I know making a relationship with mental illness work isn’t always easy.

They’re the ‘bad days’ – when symptoms affect your behaviour and plans. The days when you cope with negative thoughts. Not to mention, the taboo impacting how some perceive mental illnesses. It can also feel stressful for people who have partners living with mental health problems.

How metal illness affects relationships

“intimacy problems”, “codependency” and “shame” can impact a relationship with mental illness. “low self-esteem” and feelings of inadequacy could affect a couple’s bonding time. Certainly, feeling sexual isn’t a straight-forward task when you don’t consider yourself attractive.

Many many years ago, I was in an unhealthy situation where I expected my wonderfully confident and self-secure partner to help uplift my insecurity. When he didn’t say the right words (he often didn’t) I’d end up in a mood which led to us arguing. Besides showing signs of codependency, I struggled to communicate my thoughts. It felt better to be angry than vulnerable. I know of people who have ended a relationship when her partner’s mental health became too taxing. You feel drained and helpless – at a loss on how to support them.

When your partner’s mental health problems impact your own well-being

It’s really important to have good boundaries in these situations. What that means is taking time to make sure your own emotional needs are being met. If your partner is having mental health problems, they may be less emotionally available for a period. So practically this means getting support from friends, taking time to nurture yourself and using physical space to take a break. In some cases, it will be necessary to encourage your partner to seek medical help. You don’t have to fix them. In fact, you almost certainly cannot be the answer for them.

Despite a lack of training and education, I feel there is a pressure, not only in romantic relationships, to take on the role of therapist and offer advice. This advice tends to be based on personal experiences…. “You should exercise/read/take a bath… this is what helps me”. We want to reach out and assist loved ones, but certain suggestions may potentially make a person feel worse. I would consider therapy when:

  • “The offloading is becoming a heavy burden
  • Things are no better despite all your care, all your advice and all your love
  • You feel out of your depth
  • When you see the same cycle of thinking and behaviour happening over and over again.”

Making a relationship work

While mental health problems can come with some unappealing traits, there are also great positives. Friends say their mental illnesses have made them more understanding, more appreciative of life’s happy moments; more mentally strong and aware of themselves. For me, I feel my darker days have cultivated more creativity. I wouldn’t write the same if I hadn’t felt particular emotions.

It’s entirely possible to enjoy a healthy and satisfying relationship regardless of whether one partner or two lives with a mental illness. Making this work involves good communication and care. This can include:

  • Asking open ended questions; letting a person talk at their own pace.
  • Not dismissing a partner’s feelings; avoid telling them they have nothing to worry or feel sad about.
  • Trying to encourage your partner to create small goals that are achievable
  • Not attempting to shield your partner and act as therapist. (A partner is one person in a network of family and friends).
  • Not assuming all experiences are the same.
  • Putting in place healthy boundaries – not accepting damaging behaviour as an excuse for mental health problems.

On occasion, making a relationship with mental illness work can mean knowing when to step away. No one can be responsible for the mental wellbeing of another person.

Subsequently, if you have a mental illness, consider whether a partner’s behaviour or perception of mental health could be harmful to your wellbeing. A partner doesn’t have to understand what it feels like, but they should be able to respect your feelings.

The impact of Covid on mental health

For couples struggling with their mental health during the pandemic, please see below some tips I have created

  • “Reduce expectations and accept that sometimes just watching Netflix together is enough.
  • We are in a time when physical touch and tenderness is more important than ever. Physical affection can decrease stress. Also, it doesn’t necessarily have to lead to sex.
  • Keeping communication open is crucial but also, time limit sharing and make sure you both get equal airtime. You don’t need to solve the problem; just show you are listening and present.”