Mental Health effects not only the sufferer but also those around them. I’ve had lots of comments about how amazing my boyfriend sounds and how supportive he is. I have to admit you’re all right, he is amazing – I hope he doesn’t read this, his ego doesn’t need the boost! Together we’ve got through some really difficult times with my mental health. I would like to insert a list below as to how we got through it, but I can’t. I am, however going to try and give you some tips! Although, I believe that my boyfriend’s understanding and patient nature contributes greatly towards how we get through those times.
Here are 4 of my tips for coping with mental health problems in your relationship…
Communication – I don’t think you’ll ever come across a post regarding relationships that does not talk about communication. It is so important. When I first met my boyfriend my mental health was at its best, my anxiety was almost non-existent. However, over the years my anxiety has crept back up on me, bringing depression with it too. At first I did not want to discuss it – mental health and dating is a bit of a taboo subject. Because we began staying at each others most of the time I was forced to begin talking about my mental health as it became impossible to hide. My boyfriend was eager to learn, which helps and I’m quite the talker – as you may have guessed from my blog posts! I tried to explain my problems and how I felt the best I could so that my boyfriend could understand. I believe that this really helped us cope with my mental health.
Be understanding – This works two ways. If you’re struggling with your mental health then it is important that your partner is understanding of how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. Now some of you may view this as a controversial opinion but here goes. If your partner has never experienced mental health problems then be understanding towards them if they say or do the wrong thing. However, there is a line which should not be crossed. The way I see it is that I have never broken a bone and so cannot imagine the pain of it, however I would never disregard that person’s pain just because I have never experienced it. Whilst your partner may not understand what you’re going through they must be understanding.
Respect their space – When I’m having a panic attack my partner knows that I often don’t want to be cuddled. This is a difficult one, to sit back and watch someone you love in distress without being able to physically comfort them. This also links to the first point – communication. Communicate with your partner how you want them to act whilst you’re going through a panic attack, or another mental health related problem.
Have fun together – Mental health can become all consuming and sometimes it does have to be your sole focus. I have spent the last 6/7 months working on improving my panic attacks. My partner has been by me every step of the way. The other week it suddenly hit me that we never really have fun anymore, every weekend is focused on how we can improve my mental health. We’ve decided that we’re going to try and go for a drink once a week. I’m going to forget about using this as an event to improve my mental health – this is an outing for us and to have fun again. While you may not yet feel able to put some time aside just for fun do your best to make the every day situations fun again.
What are your tips for coping with mental health problems in a relationship?