I have a friend going through a rather difficult time right now.
There is a very real chance her boyfriend is developing a mental disorder.
After a few weeks where she was deemed the bad guy by her boyfriend, my friend feels guilty for wanting to bail on the nine year relationship - and wondering if she is in the wrong. And I don't know what to say. In this instance, the man is becoming sick. It's not right to leave based on a sickness. On the other hand, if she stays and takes this emotional beating, then she is enabling him. If she leaves in his time of need, then she is in the wrong. So what do you do when you know someone is developing mental illness but does not want to get help? He has a girlfriend and best friend willing to take him - and probably front money - to get treatment. He doesn't take the offer out of pride.
How are you supposed to handle this? Mental illness is a real issue. If left unchecked mental illness can lead to homelessness or violence. After a violent act, everyone preaches "you should check in on your friend if you think they are having problems" or "you should get help for those you love". What do you do when the friend lucidly describes the episodes they are having and doesn't think they have a problem? Where are the memes and perfectly designed IG quotes for these situations? Because the fact of the matter is you can't make them go to the doctor. You cannot call up their doctor to verify they actually made an appointment. You cannot call a clinic to make sure someone visited. You cannot visit and ask for results. Unless the friend committed an act that hurt others, you cannot grab and physically force them to check in anywhere.
You can't do anything. You talk on the phone until you're blue in the face - or until they shut their phone off. Then what? Is it on you if you did everything you are legally allowed to do but they still shit on your offer to help? Is it on you if they end up hurting others while your hands are tied?
Where is the line where you're allowed to go back to your own life?
The truths are: the victim has to want your help and the victim has to be strong enough to accept help.
There are so many tips of living your best life.
You want to eat that ice cream? "Treat yo'self, boo!"
You are too tired to work out? "Be confident in the skin you're in, babe!"
You want to spend your last $5 on Starbucks instead of gas to go to school? "YOLO!"
We're so focused on "living in the present" but forget the past. There are steps prior to developing mental illness. I don't know his past trauma, but I do know that everyone has - at least - one. I have one. You have one. Your best friend has one. Your boss has one. Your boss's boss has one. We all have at least one. The difference is that some of us want to get past it - instead of hiding it behind perfectly staged Instagram photos, well phrased Facebook statuses, and carefully chosen spoken words.
The problem with mental disorder is the stigma. This guy is afraid of the label 'disorder' because it signals weakness. We need more emphasis on the normalcy of being affected by childhood trauma. Moms are fighting each other on raising children the best way, presumably because they were raised the 'wrong' way and gave them enough of a complex to find the 'right' way. How about we sit and look at what went wrong. What prompted the thought that there is a wrong and right?
And, how about we all seek help? I don't want to know your problems, just like I don't want to share my problems. But we owe it to the world - since our actions affect others - to seek help. As grown adults, it's time.