🎥 Navigating Relationships with Mental Illness
A friend of mine who I hadn’t seen or heard from in twenty years—we’ll call him Eric—texted me and asked if we could talk. Another friend—we’ll call her Katie—was in a state-run mental health facility on a locked ward. Katie can no longer dress herself. When asked, she can’t draw two intersecting circles.
Eric told me about the years that had led up to this. It turns out that over the past six years, she’s been paranoid, violent, and suicidal. She was hospitalized several times and put on various psychiatric medications. She was evicted. She couch surfed. She slept in her car. Her condition continued to deteriorate. And deteriorate more. And more.
After he finished, there was a breath of silence. “So I’m calling to ask you for the cure.”
We laughed. I don’t have it, of course. But part of it is understanding that we have failed Katie and millions of others.
It’s time for a change. Much of that change comes with educating ourselves about the complexities of mental illness and the ways our society isn’t set up to help friends and loved ones find proper care for those who are suffering.
For the next two weeks, I bring you “Unfixed Mind: Living with Mental Health Challenges,” an incredible four-part documentary by my friend and colleagueKimberly Warner. The series is stunning, a must-see.
In this segment, Jacob, Ava, Dior, Cissy, Kyle, and Ricky talk about relationships and navigating them while living with a mental health condition. They touch on topics such as disclosing a diagnosis to a new friend or partner, and about learning who is truly there for us and who isn’t. They reflect on fear, vulnerability, trust, boundaries, loving and being loved.
Enjoy and subscribe to Kimberly’s Substack Unfixed:
Read my story of the twenty-five years I spent in the mental health system with serious mental illness in my first memoir Pathological.