Relationships are hard! Making a relationship work can be harder. Now add in a partner who is struggling with mental health or addiction and things can seem damn near impossible! When your spouse or significant other is struggling with some kind of mental health or substance abuse issue, your life can feel out of control. After all, this is not something that you asked to have happen, but it did. I want to give you some tips and tools on how to continue to work with your spouse when they are struggling with their own issues, so that those issues do not become your own.
- Get involved with your partner’s care. Encourage your spouse to go get help and support from a doctor or therapist. It can be very helpful to let them know what you are seeing and what your concerns are. Sometimes people struggling with depression don’t see it and having someone close to them point out what is happening can be the push that they need to seek help.
- When our partners struggle we struggle! It is natural to feel bad that our partner is struggling. We want to do anything and everything we can to help them not hurt. Often times being the partner that is not struggling with depression and or anxiety can be just as exhausting as being the partner with the anxiety or depression issue. One of the best ways that you can combat this is by finding someone that you can rely on for support and that can lend an ear or shoulder when needed. Having that person in your life, either friend, family, or professional can give you a place to be heard and get the stress of your partners struggles off of your chest.
- Be supportive! Your partner did not ask to struggle with their mental health issue, nor did you. Being there to hold them when they are down or to pick them back up again after they fell down can show your partner that you are there with them through thick and thin. Being supportive can also be pushing them to see their therapist or to make an appointment to see someone for the first time. Expressing your concern for their current struggles can go a long way.
- Don’t treat them any differently. People struggling with depression and other common mental health issues are still people. Make dinner together, push them to go out with you for a walk, help them engage in life the way that they would have before their struggle hit.
- Get educated! Learn as much as you can about your partners mental health issue. The more you read and learn about the issue, the more attune you can be with what it is that your partner needs.
- Ask questions. Your partner will often times know what they want or need to help them out in a given moment. Don’t assume they won’t want to talk about it! Often times, they want to know that you are interested in hearing about their struggles and not afraid of them.
- Take care of yourself! Having a partner struggle with mental health can be stressful and difficult on you. Make sure that you are taking time to care for your self every day. If you are as close to 100% a possible, you will be better able to help your partner out as well.
Do be aware that your partner will have struggles and successes though out this journey. The important thing is that you are supportive during these times. It can become frustrating to see your partner doing really well and then suddenly the bottom drops out at they are having a very difficult time again. If you or your partner are struggling with these things, reach out for help from a professional. Help is out there and can often times be the difference between months of struggling versus years. If you are interested in talking more, reach out and connect with me!