There is still a stigma surrounding mental illness, but your loved ones are your support system, and it is important that your partner knows about your mental health issues whether big or small. That does not necessarily make it easier to talk to them about it though.
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Mental health concerns can present new, sometimes difficult, challenges to a relationship. Sometimes it can cause outbursts or inappropriate emotions. Other times it affects communication. These things can be interpreted as issues with the relationship itself and some people do not know how to react.
How to talk to your partner about mental health
It is usually a good idea to speak with your partner about mental health concerns. Try to find a good place a time to do so. Make sure that you do it when you are not feeling too overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed.
It may also help to keep the conversation simple. Just calmly tell your partner the basics about the mental health issues that you are dealing with. You may also want to explain the ways that these issues may affect the relationship or ways that they already have.
Try to be specific about the ways mental health problems affect your behavior. You may want to say that it is not because you are mad at your partner when you have outbursts and that sometimes you are not very talkative. You may want to explain that your mental health issues get in the way of social interaction. Whatever ways your mental health affects your behavior, you can talk about it with your partner.
Tips for Talking About Mental Health
There are some things that you can do that can help you talk about mental health issues with your partner. First, make sure that you are prepared for a difficult conversation. It is normal to be a little nervous about it, but solid preparation can help to ease unnecessary anxieties. You may even want to prepare notes about some aspects of your mental health that you do not want to accidentally leave out or that your partner may ask about.
1. Prepare notes to share with your partner
Some people like to prepare with materials to help them explain their mental health concerns. Having a sheet printed out that explains the mental health issues that you are dealing with can ground the conversation. It can provide useful information to your partner about the condition that you can talk about as it relates to you specifically.
2. Be 100% honest
When you talk about your struggles with poor mental health, it is important that you remain completely honest. Be honest about the ways that you cope or any treatments that you have received. Give your partner time to digest the information and ask any questions that they may have. If there are other aspects that you are not comfortable with sharing, be upfront and let your partner know that.
3. Let your partner in
Your partner may be concerned about you when they learn about your mental health struggle. It is often good to involve them in your process. Let them know that their support is important to your recovery and healing.
4. Give them time to process
It is also important to remind yourself that the conversation is important, even if it does not go as planned. Your partner may not know what to say or may need extra time to process the information. This does not mean that they are not there to fully support you. Just be willing to adapt and try to keep your mental health as an ongoing conversation. However, if your partner is not supportive, they may not be the best fit for a lifelong partnership. Let them know how you feel.
5. Ease yourself into it
If you feel extremely uncomfortable with a typical conversation, you could opt to have a text or email conversation first to ease yourself into the topic of mental health. This can be a good way to let your partner know how you feel and what you are going through without it impacting your nonverbal cues or anxiety levels during a face-to-face interaction.
6. Consider couple’s therapy
For some people, couple’s therapy can even be a good option. It can help you both work on your mental health together and form a strong cohesive bond. It is also crucial that you do not lose track of your self-care routines. Make sure that you are exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and taking the time needed to do the things that you enjoy.
Sometimes it can be very hard to talk to your partner about mental illness. However, it is important for you and your relationship. A loving partner will do their best to understand and support you through your mental health journey. Make sure that you are open and honest and encourage them to be a part of your healing and a component of your all-important support system.
About the Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
I’m a freelance journalist/writer/content marketer with BA Hons in Journalism.