My mental health issues are never your responsibility. I don’t want the people I love and care about to feel like it’s their job to make me feel better. I never want you to move outside of your own capacity to help me. This is just a list of things that make me feel seen, loved and cared for when I’m in a crisis. Your ability or inability to show up for me is not going to change my feelings toward you as long as you’re honest with me about where you’re at so I don’t feel like a burden or like I’m being abandoned (hey abandonment issues!) Relationships are not transactional, they’re interdependent and I want you to feel cared for too. So I’ve ordered these based on capacity starting with things that are very small and moving into things that are a little bit more of an ask.

  • Sending me a quick text that says “I’m thinking about you.”
  • Tell me about your day. Loving you makes me feel loved.
  • Small helpful things to say: “You are safe.” “I care about you.” “You matter to me.” “I’m with you through this.” “You are not too much.” “I’m not leaving.” (These last two especially help with my crippling abandonment issues).
  • Have a conversation with me about something unrelated to my mental health. This makes me feel like you want me around and most often, what I really need is just for people to be there. 9 times out of 10 I don’t actually want to get into the thick of it.
  • Spend time with me! Phone calls, zoom calls, walks in the park etc.
  • Check in with me about how I’m feeling and listen.
  • Come lay under a blanket with me.
  • Share a meal with me.
  • Drive with me to a secluded area and practice scream therapy with me.

Specific acute episodes:

PTSD flashbacks:

  • Affirm to me that I’m safe. (Make sure that I’m actually safe first).
  • Ask me about my present reality i.e “describe the space around you” kind of thing
  • If we’re in a physical space together, don’t touch me without asking
  • Tell me about your present moment
  • Don’t ask me about my trauma. I don’t share these details with anyone.


  • Don’t call the cops
  • Don’t pressure me to go to the hospital
  • Don’t tell me to call the crisis line
  • Share space with me in whatever capacity you can.
  • Helpful things to say: “your pain is real and I see you.” “I love you.” “You are important to me.” “I’m here with you.”
  • Come over and sit with me or phone me and talk.

Symptoms to watch for and what to do:

  • Dissociative episodes: limited motor function, inability to communicate coherently, excessive shaking, impaired judgement. What to do: limit stimulus, talk softly, probably leave me alone unless I don’t want that, refer back to PTSD flashbacks.
  • Hypomanic episodes: increased production of art, excessive online posting, not sleeping, fast-paced talking, suicidal ideation, hallucinations, paranoia, self harm behaviour, substance use issues. What to do: honestly, I’ve got this one at this point. Just don’t call me crazy.
  • Abandonment issues: acting really clingy and/or scared you hate me, asking for a lot of reassurance. What to do: Remember this isn’t about you and just tell me you love me or that you’re not going anywhere or whatever.
  • Suicidality: distanced communication, isolation, lack of sleep, apathy. What to do: Check in and refer back to the suicidality section.

None of these issues hang around forever. My illness is chronic but it’s also episodic. Be patient with me and know that I have a pretty firm grasp on how to take care of myself. The number one thing anyone can do for me is to just understand that I contain multitudes and one of the aspects of my person is this illness. Love me anyways.

%d bloggers like this: