Imagine if it were possible to just leave your mental health issues behind when you enter a relationship, like just closing the door on its face just as it’s about to step in. What a dream.
The reality is that our anxiety and depression is constantly with us. I have had depression since my mid teens and masked it daily by being the goofiest kid in town and late 2018, I was diagnosed with anxiety but at that time, I had mastered the art of managing my depression so my episodes became less and less frequent.
It is without a doubt that mental health issues will have some sort of impact on your relationships – with friends and more especially with your partner. However, you have to avoid using this as an excuse for how you act or treat people who care about you. Sometimes people tend to use their star signs and their toxic traits as an excuse to act funny, forgetting that we can completely change our personalities for the better instead of just saying, “Oh well, I’m a Leo, we do these things”. Take responsibility for your actions. Nonetheless, this article is mainly dedicated to people who have friends or a partner that suffers from either anxiety or depression or both and this is what we would like you to understand…
If you are in any sort of relationship with someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, please be as understanding as you can. They will have days when they just push you away and even when you ask what is wrong, they won’t even tell you because half the time we don’t know what is wrong, we don’t know what triggers us. So, don’t feel offended when they do this because if anything, they are trying to protect you from themselves. Constantly remind them that you are there for them always.
It’s also important that you check-up on them frequently, even during regular daily conversations. A simple, “How are you holding up today?” Or “What’s been on your mind lately/what has been bothering you?” will go a long way. They will appreciate the mere fact that you asked even if they decide to tell you that everything is okay, although it really isn’t. Also, when they ask you about how you are doing, open up to them if there is something that has been bugging you and in that way they will feel even more comfortable to express their true feelings next time.
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Know what cheers them up. It’s the little things that have a bigger effect on people, especially anyone who has anxiety and/or depression. Tag them in memes that you know they can relate to, remind them of a memory you shared together, leave their favorite candy in their mailbox if you live close enough… anything that you know will definitely brighten up their day.
Also, understand that jokes can also be triggering so avoid saying anything that might lower their self-esteem even though it’s purely a joke. Jokes on things we are insecure about hit different, so in as much as they can laugh in the moment, they are hurting inside and sooner or later they could start becoming a bit distant and you will have no idea that it’s all on you. So, watch what you say around them, you don’t necessarily have to tip-toe around them but understand that some jokes can trigger deep emotions.
Last but no least at all, anxiety and depression also changes the way we see ourselves and we tend to become very doubtful of what we are capable of. With that said, we need affirmation as often as possible, genuine affirmations. Tell your partner or friend how much they mean to you, remind them of how amazing and talented they are, tell them all the beautiful features about them even during conversations. When they do or say something you appreciate about them then tell them, “See, that’s exactly what I like about you,” and that will sure make a huge difference.
As a person who has been in relationships with anxiety and depression and still managed to make it work for 4 years and currently in a new relationship, I know how it’s like to have to deal with all of that while also considering your partner’s mental health too. What really helps is communicating with your partner from the get-go – tell them about your mental health issues, help them understand what it’s like. Tell them what you expect them to do on your low days and don’t depend on them to constantly lift you up, be your own person, love and take care of yourself too. Keep in mind that you are not alone and you are in complete control of what goes on in your mind.
That’s it for now,