Mental health isn’t taboo, it’s important. Let’s talk about it. Sometimes we can focus so much on a good thing we can forget about the struggles going on in our own head for a bit, but that doesn’t solve anything does it?
Relationships can be a way to escape from our own problems, but they shouldn’t be. I’ve always been a magnet to people who need someone to help and support them. I’ve been in relationships with people with mental health issues before and I can honestly say I should have seen the signs in my recent relationship. I think I ignored them so I could go on with our happy little life together, and that’s one of my biggest regrets.
That’s the thing about relationships. We focus on the good so much, that the bad sneaks up on us with a vengeance. You can think you’re going to be with someone for the rest of your life and mental illness can creep in and ruin the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
After all my trials and tribulations with mental health within relationships here are a couple tips to seeing the signs and dealing together, whatever side you are:
Drop The Bullshit & Talk About It
Mental health isn’t a taboo topic and it never should be. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. Showing your weaknesses to the people you care about makes them real. I know that sounds scary. But, as hard as it is, the people you love need to know how you are struggling so they can find the best way to help and support you.
Notice The Patterns
With Mental Illness and Depression come bad patterns and coping mechanisms that help you ignore what is actually going on. You may notice differences in someone’s personality, changes you don’t necessarily love but you deal with anyway because you just think they’re having a bad day. We all need to recognize the signs. Both women and men show similar ones:
- Irritability, anger or aggressiveness
- Feeling anxious, restless, or always “on edge”
- Loss of interest in family, work or activities they once loved
- Problems with sexual desire and performance
- Feeling “empty,” sad, flat, or hopeless
- Problems sleeping, sleeping too much and early waking.
If you notice you or your significant other is starting to pick up these patterns please discuss it. The sooner you notice the better your chances are of dealing with these issues.
No More Bad Habits
If you notice your significant other throws themselves into easy distractions and habits, especially drugs or drinking sit them down and talk about how you think these are just a distraction from something else that could potentially be going on.
They need to focus on positive habits and work on themselves instead of losing themselves in mindless activities that will hurt them in the long run. Not to mention alcohol is a depressant. Even if your significant other isn’t going through depression, there could be something else on their mind that they just need to talk about. Drop those negative habits and talk about it like adults, no more distracts.
Do It Together
Anything you can do by yourself, you can do better with someone to support you through it. In most cases, relationships tend to end abruptly before they can commit to going through this together because of all the other little things that happen leading up.
If I can give one massive piece of advice, it’s don’t give up on them right away. Make yourself more aware of your relationship and what your partner needs. You can do anything together.
If you struggle with communication, counselling is a safe place for both of you talk about your emotions in a neutral setting with a mediator. This can help you communicate properly and effectively if you’ve had problems doing this in the past.
Communication Is Key
This is the most important of all. People who suffer through mental illnesses tend to hide their feelings deep down until they explode.
Communication can help your partner understand what you’re going through, why you did what you did and what you need for that to never to happen again. If you feel your loved one is going through something, you need to communicate this as well and hope that they can open up to you about it.
Unfortunately, in some cases, they just don’t know how to open up about it and it can ruin what you have. This may seem like the worst case scenario for a long time, it may hurt both of you. But, it’s going to be okay. Maybe you can both realise what is important in your lives and work on yourselves. There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement and everyone deserves to grow.
I’m writing this because today is one of the worst days of my life. I had to break it off with the love of my life because mental illness took over our life together like a black cloud. We lacked the communication we needed to get through it together and that’s our biggest regret. But sometimes you both need to get stronger apart before you can do it together.
If you or anyone you love is struggling with mental health and need someone to talk to please:
Find your Local Crisis Centre
Call Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645 from 4pm to 12am daily. They have an internet chat as well .