If you have a partner who is a victim of mental illness, then all you want for them is to get well. Mental illness can take a toll on your marriage and dealing with it comes with a lot of trial and error. It can reach a crisis level in your marriage, and your marriage can fall into a pattern where mental illness is the center of your relationship.
Mental illness, however, does not destroy your relationship even with all the stress and focus it brings and needs. In spite of all the challenges you’ll have to overcome, there are many ways in which you can make your relationship healthy with a spouse that is mentally unhealthy. So how do you deal with a partner who is affected? To find the answer to this question keeps on reading!
How to cope with a mentally ill spouse
1. Be supportive and sympathetic
For a person newly diagnosed with mental health problems, this news can be embarrassing, frightening and incredibly devastating. The stigma that is associated with mental illness can make the sufferer worry that their partner may not love them anymore. Some even worry that they might get divorced due to the uncertainty around mental illness.
It is vital that your spouse knows you are there for them in sickness and in health.
This reassurance can help them overcome their mental health by finding the best way to treat them. On the other hand, giving a negative reaction can increase the symptoms of mental health and add-on feelings of hopelessness.
2. Educate yourself
Most spouses remain unaware of what their partner is going through, or they depend on inaccurate information. Even on the internet, you may find a lot of information misleading you so try to educate yourself from a reliable source.
The best way to do this is to take help from a medical profession or a psychologist.
Then try to take help from medical books and read about the diagnosis from a legitimate source. Whatever information you rely on should have a good reputation or be recommended by a professional.
3. Do not become their therapist
Apart from being educated on helping your spouse, keep in mind that you are not their therapist. This does not work in the long run, and this is inappropriate even if you are a trained professional for mental health. Let go of this responsibility and remain a spouse and let your partner deal with professionals outside of your marriage.
Your role in your relationship is to be supportive, sympathetic and provide love.
Let your partner take their responsibility and handle their own treatment plan; do not try to control them.
4. Seek couples counseling
Even though the sound of going to a shrink can make some people get embarrassed but therapy is a natural and a healthy way. It can help couples cope with the situation at hand and increase communication between you two.
Counseling can be a great way to help you get perceptive and guidance.
As a spouse of someone who has mental health problems, it is not unnatural to undergo feelings such as hate, anger, and frustration. These painful and heartbreaking emotions can be talked about in a productive way through therapy. Couples counseling can also help in to prevent your marriage from falling apart due to unhealthy dynamics such as blaming one another.
5. Practice self care
Self-care is a necessity when your spouse has mental health problems. If you do not take care of yourself then you can get sucked in the mental illness of your spouse, and this can have a negative effect on your health.
Go back to being normal, get enough sleep, eat well, make time for exercise and also spend time with your friends and love ones.
This is very important when taking care of a mentally ill partner.
6. Break the stereotype rule
There is no general dating rule when it comes to a mentally ill partner; feel free to make your own rules as your relationship goes.
Adjust your needs as they fit you and think outside of your box.
You can change your living arrangements, how you sleep and even financial responsibility.
Don’t give up on your partner
If your spouse has a mental illness, then there is no doubt that life will through major challenges your way. Make sure that you are responding well to these scenarios and ask yourself if you are playing your part right.
Happy and healthy couples do not let mental illness destroy their marriage and overcome challenges together, hand in hand. Both partners have to play a vital role in keeping your marriage happy and make adjustments along the way. Keep a healthy response, stay positive and look forward to your future. Instead of giving up on one another in this time of need, make sure that you are with each other and be supportive.