One of the most common issues that clients present with is learning how to cope with dealing with their partners who are struggling with mental illness.
Whether their loved ones are affected by depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other serious mental health conditions impacting your lives.
Mental health illnesses impact not only those who are diagnosed but also everyone around them, especially their partners.
The stress of living through mental health illnesses can reach critical points in the relationships and even reach crisis levels.
In spite of many obstacles, there are ways to cope and manage your relationships before they are destroyed as a result of mental health concerns.
One of the first steps in this process is the importance of educating yourself about your partners’ condition. While you may have an impulse reaction to support them in the way you learn to support your loved one, they may need a different approach. Taking the time and understanding what they may be going through is imperative to make this work.
It may be beneficial to invest some time and allocate a budget to seek professional help in order to better support yourself and improve your understanding of your partners’ condition.
Avoid becoming the “know it all”.
As much as you are tempted to become the therapist, please reserve this for the professionals. The reason behind this is simple, you do not have the ability to provide the help and support your loved one requires. Please do not take offense to this. Remember, you have an emotional attachment to your partner, and you wish them all the best. Therapists don’t. Your desire to help is admirable and it should remain subjective, after all, you chose this partner for a reason. Please continue supporting and loving your partner by remaining optimistic and sympathetic to their condition.
Caring for another individual is hard. Especially if they are struggling with their wellbeing and suffering through difficult times. It is important that in order for you to continue supporting their journey, you remain balanced. Do you recall hearing the flight attendants instructing us always to tend to ourselves with oxygen masks in case of emergencies? Do you wonder why?
Let me tell you. If you are able and capable to help yourself, you are likely to help others. Therefore, your self-care is just as important as your support and sympathy towards your partner. Allow yourself to tend to your needs, you will need this in the future.
Boundaries will fall in the same category as self-care. Why? Because it is important you tend to yourself and your needs before you can care for others. Setting boundaries will prevent you from burnout and will help you to take breaks. This will also help you from becoming an enabler in their behaviors and will reinforce your partner’s ability to take responsibility in their own lives.
Remember, your partner’s illness is NOT your fault. While it is easy for me to say that this is not your fault and do not take anything personally, I cannot stress this enough. It is not YOUR fault and it is NOT your responsibility to take action. Our love and support and emotional investments will try to convince you otherwise, please take a moment to understand that your partner will need to find their own way in helping themselves and they will need to be motivated to change. Your job is simple, take care of yourself, and provide support to your loved one.
Successful relationships take work and motivation to be engaged in the work. It is very important that each party remains responsible for its own wellbeing and develop a healthy attitude to difficult and stressful times. If you both are ready, you will need to accept the new reality and face the challenges together.