Accountability: How to Support Your Loved One Without Expectation.

Okay, you guys.  This last week has made me grateful for the people I have in my life.  Like, I almost always am, but this week I was especially grateful because they helped me me out in the best of ways: they held me accountable for what I want to do while still loving me no matter what.

This is hard for me to recognize.  Usually, when someone tries to push me in the right direction or keep me on track, I get annoyed.  I start talking about “free will” and “loving me for my imperfections” and I say things like “You don’t know my life!” and “I’m not your responsibility!”

Basically, I become thirteen again.

This week I decided to ignore the inner thirteen year old, and I was appreciative even if I felt annoyed in the moment.  I listened.

I tried to get out of going to the gym last Monday; my father said “Commit.

I tried to use my anxiety as an excuse to not paint; my friend said “Commit.

I tried to get out of the gym again on Wednesday; my coworker said “Commit.

And finally, thanks to these loved ones, I was able to repeat this to myself and set boundaries I would have otherwise been too anxious to set; I said “Commit.

Here’s the complicated thing about all this: my depression and anxiety don’t like it when people remind me of what I truly want to do.  My brain actively roots against me.  So there’s a fine line between holding someone accountable for their choices and nagging.  My brain likes to hear even the kindest things as nagging. Just ask my mother.

To my followers who are loved ones of those with a mental illness: Be patient and consistently supportive.

To my followers who are living with mental illnesses like me: Be patient and consistently listen.

And my god, do anything you can to NOT listen to the inner angst-ridden thirteen year old.  That’s just going to end in you listening to Blink-182 and eating Cheetos alone in your room.

 

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