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When someone confides in you that they have a mental disorder, whatever you do, do not criticize them. Instead, try to be there for them in the best way you know how, and if you don’t know how, just keep reading.

I have suffered from mental illness since I was at least thirteen but probably longer. For as long as I can remember I have been dysfunctional, depressed, alone and moody. However, despite that, I have had more people tell me that I was making it up, or that it was all in my head. I’ve been told that I was just crazy and that I just have bad behavior. And while I would be rich if I had a penny for all of the times that people have offered shitty advice, I would be broke if I had a dollar for all of the times someone actually offered support.

1. Listen

Don’t interrupt, don’t try to offer advice. Just listen. If the person wants advice, they will ask for it.

2. Validate My Concerns And Be Firm When Need Be

If I come to you with a question regarding our standing, because I need validation, don’t treat me like a psych patient. Let me know everything is okay, and I will be on my way. However, if I am acting crazy, be firm, not aggressive.

3. Let Me Have a Moment

When I freak out and start yelling, crying, etc., just let me be. I only need a moment to process.

4. Tell Me You Won’t Leave Me

While to you, it may seem obvious, I need to know that I will not be abandoned.

5. Take An Interest in My Mental Health

If you love someone with BPD, and they are discussing their mental health, try to ask questions if you don’t understand. Taking an interest in their mental health is of the utmost importance.

6. Know Their Triggers

Anyone with a mental illness can potentially be triggered into an episode under certain circumstances. If you care for someone who has a mental illness, try to learn their triggers.

7. Get Involved With Coping

Dialectical behavioral therapy teaches BPD patients to learn better coping skills. If you are with someone who is working through therapy, learn about their coping skills and help them.

8. Be Honest, Direct and Respectful

While being harsh will get you nowhere, being honest, blunt and respectful will. Talk to me like a human, but be firm when you have to. And show some compassion when they need it.