If you don’t understand that I have a mental illness, and respect that aspect of me, then we can’t be friends. Or family.

My spiritual belief is to practice love and tolerance, though I sometimes fall woefully short. Nevertheless, I keep striving. But a corollary to that tenet is to detach with love. Detaching with love is distancing oneself from a person who is detrimental to one’s spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being.

Such people certainly have no place in my life. And while it’s still my job to love them, and ultimately help them if they get into dire straits, I can and will do so from a healthy distance.

I have had friends and family members from whom I have had to detach with love because they didn’t acknowledge or respect my Bipolar Disorder and the things I need to do consistently to remain stable.

Imagine if you had cancer and a friend or loved one denied that cancer was real. Or quipped that it was all in your head. Or tried to persuade you to stop your treatment. How much room would you make for them in your life? How close would you remain with them?

Emotional support is critical for those of us with a mental illness. If a “friend” or “family member” isn’t willing to give it, it’s time to bid them adieu.

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