An Apology to My Ex for Ignoring His Mental Health
By: Tyi Flood
PHOTO BY LIGHTFIELD STUDIO
I recently apologized to my ex the other day for not taking his mental health seriously. He was grieving his mother ten years after her death, and I felt that he made her death an excuse for some of his behavior. Although I supported him through his many breakdowns, and encouraged him daily, I still didn’t trust that his emotions were real.
During this time, I was in denial about my own mental health. I felt that displaying mental illness was a weakness, and that no one could ever understand or care about how I was struggling mentally. I worked extremely hard to hide my depression, and I guess I figured that as a man, he should work even harder. As I’ve grown into my own self-awareness and the courage to finally stand up for the rights of those living with mental health conditions, I felt ashamed and angry for being so cruel to this man that I once loved.
How could I be so insensitive? How could I not be strong enough to handle his depressive behavior and mentality? How could I have been so judgmental? Funny enough, those who have once looked down on others with mental illness, are living with some form of mental illness or condition today. It’s interesting to hear the stories from women who have dealt with men that displayed signs of depression, personality disorders, or anxiety—yet—they didn’t understand, or they simply judged that man by calling him “weak” or “crazy.”
Many men today are finding the strength to speak up about their mental health conditions. They are encouraging each other, and many families are seeking therapy together. Fact is—no one can face a mental illness on their own, and no one is immune to the conditions that may arise. You need support, therapy, and faith. Support from family and friends, cognitive therapy with a licensed (trusted) therapist, and faith to believe that you will get through the hard times.
If you know someone who is dealing with grief, PTSD, depression, or any form of emotional or mental health conditions, make the time to let them know that it’s okay to not be okay. Let them know that you care for them by seeking resources together, or by simply being a listening ear. You never know what story could be yours.
I apologized to my ex for my ignorance and betrayal, and I commend all men who are constantly trying to live up to the expectations of being a “strong man.” Be open, be honest, and most importantly BE YOURSELF. We love you!
Men's Edition, Winter Issue 2020
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