One of the hardest things to deal with is seeing your partner struggle with their mental health issues. Besides seeing them struggling, their mental health condition could also put a strain on your relationship.
As much as you want them to be well and do anything to help them, sometimes, it may become more stressful, especially if you’re unsure what to do. Others would even come to the point wherein they’ll try to ‘fix’ their partner and start giving unsolicited toxic-positive advice in hopes that they’d get well.
Unfortunately, doing so is not the best way to show your support or help your partner with their mental health condition. The more you try to ‘fix’ them or give them advice, they may more likely hesitate to share things with you, specifically about their mental health, and the harder it may be to support them.
If you want to help them get through their mental health slump, there are a few strategies you can do to support them with their struggles while caring for your own needs.
Here are some steps to help your partner with their mental health condition and foster a long-lasting and healthier relationship.
1. Do Not Ignore Your Partner’s Struggles
Most often, people with mental health issues don’t always open up about their condition to seek support from their loved ones. Instead, they’d choose to keep these issues to themselves to avoid making anyone worry about them.
Thus, if you notice your partner showing some subtle signs of a mental health condition, you must never ignore it. Ignoring your partner’s mental health struggles will only make them feel more isolated and alone.
If you’re unsure about your partner’s mental health state, here are some symptoms you must look out for that may signify that your partner’s suffering from an unaddressed mental health problem:
- Isolation or social withdrawal
- Significant mood changes
- Developing any kind of addiction
- Changes in their routine and other daily functions
- Sleeping problems
- Changes in appetite
Make sure to check in with your partner closely. If you notice some of their behaviors seem out of the ordinary, start a conversation about this matter sensitively.
2. Communicate With Your Partner
Ask your partner about what they’re going through and what you can do to support or help them with their mental health problems. As much as possible, don’t ever tell them to ‘Be positive and keep it together,’ as this will just make it even harder for them to open up to you.
While they’re talking about their struggles, be empathic and understand what they’re going through. It would also help to encourage them to seek professional help from Jacksonhousecares.com or any mental health treatment programs.
Talking to a mental health professional will not only help your partner, but it’ll also help you understand their diagnosis and learn more about their condition. The more you know about their condition and diagnosis, the easier it’ll be for you to understand their personal experiences and provide support.
Most importantly, once your partner decides to seek professional treatment, always be there to support and offer comfort during your partner’s recovery and healing process.
3. Avoid Toxic Positivity
As mentioned, avoid telling them ‘Positive things’ like, ‘Be grateful for what you have’ or ‘Be positive since more people had it worse than yours.’ Even with your good intentions, these toxic-positive phrases will only invalidate their feelings and make them feel more ashamed or misunderstood about what they’re going through.
Worse, saying these things, especially to your partner, will make it even harder for them to trust you with their mental health problems.
Instead of these phrases, you can say things like:
- It seems that things are really complicated for you right now.
- I’m always here for you if you need to talk about it.
- I understand that you’re angry/frustrated/sad right now, which must be difficult.
When your partner sees that you understand and acknowledge what they feel, they’ll feel more freedom to accept whatever they feel and move on from it.
4. Resist The Urge To Give Unsolicited Advice
Although this may be pretty connected to the previous point, unsolicited advice is when you try to dictate or control them about what they should do to help them cope with their condition. Some of you may say things like, ‘You should get out more,’ ‘You should take your treatments or therapies seriously to get well faster,’ or ‘You should do this to help you feel better.’
In reality, anyone with a mental health issue would never want that. The more you try to control their feelings or decisions about their mental health issue, the more they’ll feel down about themselves and refrain from getting any treatment.
5. Do Not Give Ultimatums
Your partner’s mental health condition can take a toll on your relationship. You can expect that there’ll be times wherein they can’t take care of their responsibilities, including looking after your relationship. But while dealing with their poor mental health can be a huge challenge, you should never give them ultimatums or threaten to leave them as your way of motivating them to be well.
Regardless of their mental health condition, it’s not something they can choose to let go of at any time. So, be there for them and never leave them during this challenging period in their life.
6. Make Plans For Enjoyable Activities
Helping or showing support for your partner isn’t always about giving them meds or taking them to their therapy appointments. You can also encourage them to engage in simple but enjoyable activities like walking in the park, hiking, going for massages, or playing board games. Sometimes, people with mental health conditions struggle to motivate themselves to function or do anything fun.
Through your encouragement and planned activities, you’re motivating them to do activities that can help shift and improve their moods. In contrast, if they’re really against doing any of those activities with you, don’t force it. Respect their boundaries and limits and wait until they’re ready to do activities with you.
7. Practice Self-Care
The most important thing to do when helping someone with a mental health illness is to practice self-care. Just because you need to support your partner doesn’t mean you should compromise your own needs. Otherwise, this can lead to burnout, which gives a higher risk that you’ll soon develop resentment and take it all out on your partner. What’s more, it’s also hard to help or support someone else when you’re not taking care of yourself.
So, recognize your limits and get help from someone when you need to. If taking care of your partner and child (if you have) is too much, ask someone to watch after your child for a while. This way, you can give yourself some time to rest.
You must also exercise, eat well, and keep up with your self-care routine. You can also join support groups intended for people who have partners with mental health conditions.
Dealing with any mental health condition will never be easy, but having an emphatic and supportive partner can make a massive difference in recovery and healing.
You don’t need to act as the doctor and therapist for your partner. But with your love, care, and understanding, along with these tips above, you can help ease their recovery process and, at the same time, nurture your relationship.