Featured Image: That Kind of Woman
Article By: Lexi Williams
Let’s face it dating is tough! Mixing both partner’s habits, likes and dislikes, personality traits, and love languages into one well-balanced relationship is a complex science. For some, such as an individual suffering from anxiety and depression loving can be even harder. It is so very important that there be an open and safe place for mental illness to be discussed within the relationship. If you find yourself in a relationship where you feel uncomfortable or scared to share your mental illness with your partner, you may need to reconsider your relationship. Making the relationship work with a partner who has a mental illness will take effort on both parts. Below are four crucial keys points to keep in mind when your partner suffers from anxiety or depression.
Be Open and Understanding
Sharing that you have a mental illness with a new partner can be very scary for a person. So, first and foremost take it as a sign that they trust and care about you enough to feel ready to share. Secondly, it is essential to be open about whatever concerns their mental illness brings up. Voice them and make a mutual plan for not letting it control your relationship.
Be willing to be reassuring; your partner may feel that sharing their mental illness with you suddenly places a burden on your shoulders. This revelation may cause them to push you away, your ability to reassure them will be a factor in preventing that.
Push Them, But Not to Hard
Depression and anxiety can present them self in different ways. Two of the most common forms are fatigue/ lack of interest and obsessing over things. As their partner, it is vital that you don’t let him/her stay in bed all day and lose touch with the things they love. Instead get them out and doing the things they love! It is recommended that exercising and being around people are some of the best ways to help a person suffering from depression.
Maybe for your relationship, this means taking a hike at a local trial or getting a gym membership together. When your partner with anxiety finds themselves obsessing over things, try to find ways to relieve that stress and get them out of their head. Take them on a walk or to a local ice cream parlor. This activity will help them refocus their mind and be more present.
Don’t Use Their Mental Illness Against Them
This point is such a crucial one to remember. Your partner took a pretty big step getting into a new relationship and then sharing their mental illness with you; the worst thing you can do is hold it over their head. Honestly, the moments leading up to sharing probably took their anxiety to new heights so like I mentioned in point #1 be as understanding about it as possible.
Never throw it in their face during an argument! I get it we all say mean things that we don’t really mean during an argument, but this is just one of the things that should be off limits. Not only is that something that I view as immature, it is inconsiderate seeing as they can not help that they are struggling with this.
Don’t Let Their Mental Illness Be an Excuse!
This tip is probably the most crucial point of all. Depression and anxiety both come with several high-intensity emotions, yes. Is that an excuse for your partner to neglect your needs? Lash out on you? Manipulate you? No! Even though mental illness is tough to deal with and tough to maneuver around in a relationship that does not make you, the partner’s, well-being any less important.
Both parties should be getting fulfilled from the relationship for it to remain healthy and balanced. A partner using their mental illness as a way to manipulate you is a sign that they were not ready for the said relationship. “If you leave me I’ll harm myself,” is a common phrase used to manipulate a partner. Being that you care about your partner and are now aware of their mental illness, this is a statement that would be cause for concern. You may even be inclined to stay out of fear that they would actually do it. I can not stress enough how important it is not to enable this type of behavior. Not only is it unhealthy for them it makes the relationship toxic for both of you.
At the end of the day you are their partner, not their counselor; however, your role can be just as important. More than likely you will be in contact with your significant other more often than their counselor so know their triggers and signs to pick up when something is wrong. Be a haven and a shoulder for them. Be as kind and understanding as possible without compromising your own mental health.
What are your tips for loving your partner through mental illness? We would love to hear your input! Comment Below!