Last week, I hosted a #TalkMH chat on relationships and had so much great feedback to my endless stream of questions. Thank you if you participated. I felt like I needed to write up my personal opinions though, so here it is…
There’s no doubt about it, relationships massively affect mental health and in turn, mental health affects relationships. Whether you are mentally stable or if you have some of the deepest psychological problems, having a significant other will always affect your life. But for those with mental illness, it can open up a lot more stress than the average Joe…
1. Worrying that your mental illness will affect your relationship
There is a significant amount of worry that comes with relationships in general. But whether you’re open with your partner about your mental health, or not, shouldn’t be one of those. If I learnt anything from the chat, it’s that you just need to do you and if it’s not right for either of you, then get out. Your mental illness should not affect your solidarity as a couple and if it does, then it’s not right. Do what you know deep down is right and it will be hard, either way, but isn’t everything?!
2. Past relationships
A lot of people opened up about how affected they are by their past relationships and if anything, it taught me that we need to learn from these and move forward. It may have been your mental illness that ended it, or a multitude of other factors, but that does not define our future ones. Yes, we need to learn from them to ensure the same mistakes are not made in the future, but we do not need to wallow on what could have happened if it weren’t for the small mistakes we (or our brain’s chemicals) made. Everyone deserves all the happiness in the world, for some it’s going to be a lot more difficult than others, but we’ll all get there, I strongly believe in it.
Those that had the strongest relationships opened up that they are all very honest with their partners about not only their mental health, but with all the other things that happen throughout day-to-day life. Telling your partner openly about the things that are important to you, ~should~ also important to them. At the end of the day, they are your biggest fan and will love you no matter what, so opening up will just solidify your relationship.
4. Question yourself
Would you want your child to be experiencing the same thing that you are going through with their partner? Would you even want your 13 year old self to be experiencing it? If the answer is no, then you’ve got your answer. If it’s yes, then don’t stop working for it, your mental illness may be difficult at this moment, but in five years, your relationship will have definitely changed and the problems you’re facing right now may be nothing than a footnote in your future memoirs. You’ve got this.
5. Look after yourself!
I’ve mentioned this in my previous post ‘A Guide To… Helping Someone With Mental Illness‘ but if either of you find yourself in a position where you know you cannot help the other, then it’s not right. Make sure you are both mentally and physically able to be in the relationship otherwise it could be very destructive and you’ll end up hurting each other.
Finally, some sound advice from a few special people…
@lambertsmarc Love corrupts the nasty thoughts that come with a MI. Spread the love
**If you or your loved one’s condition is critical, suicidal, or just very worrying, please call 999. You can also contact the Samaritans on 08457 909090 24 hours a day or Mind‘s infoline on 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm)**
If you need help and support, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or tweet me @megrrees.
P.S. You can invite me to your wedding after reading all this sound advice, and I promise I won’t upstage you…