It can be very challenging supporting a partner or a loved one who has depression or anxiety. There are a lot of challenges that come with having this illness, including: maybe not being as helpful around the house, with chores, helping with the kids, helping with cleaning, maybe they can’t hold down a job because of their mental illness, making the partner the breadwinner in the family. Maybe your partner is avoiding social activities, making it harder for you to go out & be a part of society, when your partner just wants to be isolated. & maybe they’re going through a lot of emotional issues right now. Maybe they’re sad, depressed, angry, anxious, guilty. Maybe they feel hopeless or worthless, & that could take a real toll on the relationship. It get it! I’ve been on both sides of this dilemma. I’ve been with someone who has mental health issues, who was suffering with depression, & it was really draining & hard, & I suffer with depression & anxiety & sometimes, when my symptoms get kicked up, it’s really hard on my partner. Today I want to talk about how to support a partner or a loved one who is suffering with a mental illness. One of the things I tell a lot of partners is get to know your partner’s illness. If your partner is suffering with depression, maybe look up what it’s like to have depression, or depression symptoms, or depression resources. Understanding the illness could help you relate to your partner & help you know how you can support them. It’ll also help when misconceptions come up, because there’s a lot of misconceptions around mental illness. So if you educate yourself, & get around that stigma, that’s really going to help your relationship. Encourage treatment & reaching out for help. It’s really reassuring when a partner says “Hey, there’s no shame in reaching out for help, for talking about your depression, or anxiety with a therapist or a doctor.” There’s so many benefits of talking about your mental illness with someone, & for you to, like, talk to them about it would be very supportive. Reinforce the positive behaviors. Them taking care of themselves, getting out of bed, taking a shower, those little things that we take for granted, but can be very hard for someone with depression. Say “Wow, you’re doing such a good job today!”, or
“I can see that you’re improving.” or just say “Hey! I’ve noticed that you’re doing really well today, & I wanted to let you know that I love you.” Those little things are really helpful, & those little things could mean the world to somebody. Don’t assume what they need, ask them what they need. Different people want to be supported in different ways. I would like someone to hold me, to cuddle me, & I wanna tell people my life story, & just share my thoughts with people, other people might just want you to just be with them, help them find resources, be a support to them, help them with their daily activities if they’re having trouble. So ask your partner, “How can I support you?”
“How can I be of help to you?” Encourage them towards their recovery goals. Everyone defines ‘recovery’ in a different way. What I define recovery could be different than what your partner defines ‘recovery’. So ask them! “What are your goals?”,
“What are you working towards?”,
“How can I help you do that?” & be patient. It’s going to be stressful sometimes. You’re gonna want to get angry because they do something, I don’t really know an example off my head, but you probably know of those times when you just, you’re not that patient. We need you to be patient. Somebody who is suffering with a mental illness needs patience, because recovery takes time. We’re not going to get better overnight.
So be patient with us. A few things to keep in mind when you’re supporting someone with a mental illness is keep boundaries, set those boundaries with the person that you are trying to support, because you need to support, because you take care of your yourself, this person cannot consume your life, this person cannot consume you. You need to remember your own mental health. An example of this could be if your partner is not seeking help, & is not going to therapy, & is not getting a job. There’re not really helping themselves, maybe start that conversation on how to improve the situation, because you can’t live that way, & they can’t live that way. Maintain a support system, because sometimes it can be very draining to support someone with a mental illness, & you need a support system, as well as they do. So keep in contact with family & friends, go out & be with people, & talk to someone if it gets a little bit too overwhelming. & don’t give up your own life. Like I said, you need to set boundaries, & you need to know that you come first. You come first, & your mental health comes first, & if they’re taking too much of a toll, maybe step back. You have your own dreams, you have your own goals, you have your own life. And you need to keep that accountable, don’t let this person consume you. I hate saying that & I know you really want to be supportive for this person, but just remember & be mindful about your own life. Because you need to remember your own self-care, & your own mental health. Whoo! That was a lot of stuff, & I hope that some of it helped you, & I hope that it helps you in your relationship. If you have any tips or tricks on how you support your loved one, your girlfriend or boyfriend, or whoever your partner, please let me know down below, if I missed something. It can help other people so if you’re here & you wanna learn more, go down in the comments, there’s probably something down there that could help you. Again, my name is Kristen, I make mental health content every single week! :3 Please subscribe if you want more mental health & self care content that I make every week! I love you guys, & I’ll see you guys next time.
Bye guys! :3