Today I say goodbye to you as the author of Partners in Wellness. To discontinue authorship of this blog was a difficult decision, and I hope that someone will decide supporting the partners of those with mental illness is a topic worth writing about in the future.
When I began this blog in March of 2011, it was because there were very few resources that spoke specifically to the partners of those who have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, PTSD, eating disorders, schizophrenia, etc. In my work as a therapist, I witnessed the demise of several relationships because partners did not learn how to manage their feelings about my clients’ illnesses, nor were partners educated about what to expect, or how to navigate the sometimes choppy relationship waters that come along with mental illnesses. My hope was that this blog would be a solid source of information for those seeking answers.
During the past few months, I have gone through significant personal and professional changes. My father died in March, nine days after post-surgical complications revealed he had metastatic cancer. Two weeks later, I accepted a new position at Duke University Hospital, and my days are now filled by listening to and resolving patient and visitor concerns instead of sitting in a quiet therapy office with clients.
I also recently completed writing the book Loving Someone With Anxiety, which will be published in the spring of 2013. Such profound shifts have caused me to re-evaluate everything in my life, and I decided that this blog would be best served by someone who could give it the time and attention it deserves.
I would like to thank my readers for their thoughtful responses and questions to my blog postings. I encourage each of you to keep asking questions and discussing these topics. The only way stigma around mental illness will disappear is if we keep talking.
As I say goodbye, I would like to reinforce the messages I tried to repeat in most blog entries, as I am still passionate that partners of people with mental illness take to heart the importance of their roles in their partners’ wellness:
- Educate yourself about your partner’s illness
- Surround yourself with support from others, including family, friends, and others who are going though similar circumstances
- Get your own therapy and attend support groups
- Practice self-care
- Learn to validate and empathize with your partner
- Empower, don’t enable, your partner
If you can remember and practice the steps above, your relationship still may not always be smooth, but it will have a much greater chance of survival. You and your partner deserve that chance.
Goodbye napkin photo available from Shutterstock.