One of the most far-reaching Catch 22 situations in modern life is to do with mental health and relationships. Your state of mental health will have a considerable impact on your relationship, especially if you have any sort of negative issues. Conversely, the state of your relationship will affect your mental health; again, any sort of negative behavior you are experiencing could have a detrimental effect on your mental wellbeing. This eternal dilemma is something every couple is likely to face at some point, whether you’ve recently met on a dating site like this, or you’ve been going out for some time.
Differentiating between stress and mental ill health
Mental health will impact relationships in many different ways, but in order to deal with such a complicated issue, one of the most fundamental questions needing to be resolved is what actually constitutes mental ill-health. It can be notoriously difficult to diagnose, especially since one of its cardinal symptoms is denial. But the more you understand your partner and the more intensely you communicate with each other, it should become easier to differentiate between the natural ups and downs of life, and the stress which can indicate a mental health issue.
Understanding what could be behind irrational behavior
One unfortunate aspect of mental ill-health is the way it can lead to unwelcome or irrational behavior. This is bound to have a negative effect on a relationship as it can cause a degree of upset to the person having to deal with the patient. If you understand the difficult situation your partner is in, you’ll not only be able to empathize, you’ll be in a good position to help resolve these issues by giving them some leeway, or by encouraging them to seek professional help.
Bridging emotional distance
Anyone undergoing depression or any other form of mental illness will typically withdraw into a shell. This might manifest as a normally outward-going personality transforming into something more sullen and uncommunicative. Since communication and trust are bedrocks of a relationship, this will create unnatural barriers. If you are the supportive party, recognize when your other half is struggling and reach out to them. By bridging the emotional void you can help them rediscover a sense of positivity, even if this is a gradual process.
Balance caring with looking after your own issues
One aspect of looking after someone going through some mental health situation is it can be all too common to lose sight of your own needs. Remember, unless you have some sort of qualification in psychiatric health, ongoing wellbeing is not your primary responsibility. Your main roles should include providing 100% emotional and practical support, but also a helping hand in terms of arranging and facilitating appointments with professionals, from nurses to psychiatrists to mental health support workers.
Could this be a case for couples counseling?
Another difficult area is considering when you have reached a point where the mental health issue in a relationship is something which needs to be dealt with from the perspective of both parties. It’s a difficult position to quantify, and there are no real answers as the situation will vary from one partnership to another. It is fair to say counselors are fully trained in the impact of mental health on relationships and will always offer professional advice if you decide to go down that route.
Seeking solutions: keep communicating
Mental health can have a potentially devastating effect on relationships, but it’s important to realize you are never alone. There will always be people on hand who have ample experience of exactly what you are going through. The golden rule: keep these issues in the open, and talk them through.