Having anxiety and depression can make you feel like a real burden on your partner. It’s not fair that it makes you feel that way, but it does. I know first hand how annoying and frustrating it can be. I suffer from anxiety/depression/stress, and so I know the feeling. Some days, I just want to run away because I think it would be easier for my partner.
We talk and he reassures me, and so I want to pass on some tips to any person whose partner/wife/husband suffers from mental health issues. These are things that my partner and my family does, and that I know to be helpful in my situation.
I want to thank you for reading this post. You must care a lot about your partner, and they are lucky to have you.
[Of course, every person is different! Please take these as useful guidelines, and if in doubt, talk to a professional.]
When you have anxiety or depression, even the smallest things can seem like the end of the world. That’s the way these conditions work.
They prevent you from being rational and dealing with things in the way a ‘normal’ person would. It can leave you feeling crazy, with thoughts racing through your mind about the worst possible outcomes to everyday circumstances.
So when they’re freaking out before a dinner party about the tiniest details, simply acknowledge the fact that there are things they need to do, and help them do it. If you don’t take their concerns seriously, and treat them like they are being silly or annoying, you are just going to make the whole situation worse.
It means the world to someone who struggles if you just say to them, “Okay, what can I do to help?”.
It shows that you can understand that they need to do certain things to feel more comfortable, and reassures them that you take them seriously, and respect their concerns.o9
When things are getting on top of you, sometimes all you need is someone to hold your hand and tell you it’s going to be okay.
Whilst practical advice can be great, and appreciated, it can be too overwhelming sometimes, especially when they are angry, frustrated, upset, or down. It can feel like you are telling them to get over it, and do XYZ, rather than feeling their pain and comforting them.
Even in day-to-day circumstances, people usually like to feel like they’re being empathised with, and that who they are talking to understands the way they feel about things.
So, change your tack. Give them a hug, hold their hand, stroke their hair, whatever you want to do, and simply tell them that it’s all going to be okay. See the difference it has for yourself.
When anxiety and depression kicks in, it takes over every waking moment. Personally, I can’t eat and I feel sick. I get a cold sweat, and I just want to smoke constantly [not good…]. It’s how my body reacts to being particularly anxious.
It can be extremely difficult to pull myself out of it. It can last for weeks, especially when something has happened in my personal life to make me go into overdrive. Sometimes it happens for no obvious reason.
One thing you can do to help, is to try to take their mind off it when they get like that. It can be something as simple as running them a bath, or giving them a massage. Don’t get angry or annoyed if they say they can’t handle it at that moment. Ask them if there’s something else they would like to do. Maybe going for a walk would help? Or travelling to the beach?
Sometimes a complete change of scenery, some fresh air, and a talk, can make things feel much less crazy, and help give them some perspective.
The best thing you can do is be patient, and see if there’s something they would like to do that will take them out of the situation for a bit, and distract them with something enjoyable.
If you haven’t dealt with mental health problems before, it can be really difficult to understand what someone is going through. If it’s someone you love, it can be even harder to know what to do or say to make things better.
Don’t be offended when I tell you that 99% of the time, you can’t do anything.
You can simply be there for them and do what you can to help. This is mostly because there isn’t a fix. You can have medication and therapy, and it can help you cope, and deal with your situation. But there’s no cure; it’s not a broken arm you can re-set and put in a cast for 6 weeks.
Talking to them about their issues, and letting them explain things to you in more detail, can be really beneficial for both of you. It can help you gain a better understanding of how they feel, and what they go through on a daily basis.
Mostly, it will bring you closer together. They will realise that you care very deeply for them, and that you are taking the time to understand and get to know their situation better. It will help to reassure them, and you will become someone they can confide it. All you’ve got to do is ask questions, and listen. Don’t judge. Give them some of your time, and devote it to hearing about what they’ve got to say.
Just talking to someone who cares can feel like a massive weight is being lifted.
Sometimes, when you’ve got a thousand thoughts running through your mind and you feel angry or frustrated, the only thing you want is to be alone.
You need time to process your thoughts, scream and shout, or simply cry and be upset. And sometimes, you don’t want an audience for those kinds of things. It can be upsetting, which I understand, but you mustn’t take it personally.
Give them some space to sort things through in their head if they ask for it. Don’t push them to stay or to talk to you about it. It may just be best to let them go. When they want to, they’ll come and talk to you, and they’ll be glad you respected their alone time.
Don’t take it that they are pushing you away. It might feel like it, but try not to take it personally. It’s not about you, it’s about them, and what they need right at that moment.
They’ll come back; make sure you’re there to welcome them.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I have certain patterns within my anxiety that present themselves every time. They are quite predictable, and mean that I can usually tell when something is going to affect me.
I’m sure it’s different for everyone, so I would say to keep an eye on your partner, or even ask them straight up. See if they are aware of any patterns in their behaviour/feelings.
Once you know what these things are, find ways to help with them.
When I’m anxious, I can’t eat, and even the smell of food makes me feel sick. So my partner won’t eat near me when he knows I’m feeling that way. It helps to calm me because I know he’s dealing with it for me.
When I go to restaurants, I get claustrophobic if I don’t sit on the outside seat, and so my family will make sure that I can sit somewhere that I’ll feel comfortable and I can leave the table if I need to.
These little things make all the difference to me, and help me feel much more relaxed in certain situations that might be unbearable otherwise.
Take the time to understand what makes your partner feel worse, and if there are things you can do to make it easier for them. Simple things can be the difference between feeling comfortable and having a breakdown.
I understand that living with and loving someone who has mental health problems can be challenging. But if you really love and care for this person, then try not to panic. It’s not as bad as it sounds! By being a kind, loving person, you can help them feel safe, reassured, and more relaxed.
I want to thank you for reading this post. Look out for more mental health related features, and catch up some of my older, related posts here:
Hi, my name’s Laura! I’m obsessed with nude lipsticks, messy buns and cushions. I have so many cushions…
I am passionate about bringing achievable and realistic advice and tips to other women. It’s all about running your own world, and looking & feeling good whilst you do it ♡
A beauty addict, blogging coach and missionary for women’s empowerment.