Coping with Mental Illness in Marriage
Mental health conditions are fairly common. There are many people with mental health conditions who are in happy and healthy relationships and marriages. However, negotiating the ups and downs of marriage and relationships can be especially difficult for them.
If you have a mental health condition, there are a couple of things that you can do to make marriage easier for yourself and your spouse.
Educate your partner on your condition
Although your partner knows that you have a mental health condition, he or she may not know much about its symptoms, treatments and possible side effects of the treatments. Whatever information he has may be based on incorrect stereotypes. Educating your partner on your condition makes it easier for him or her to better understand what you are going through and cope with the effects of the condition.
When you speak to your spouse about your condition, be sure to cover all the symptoms, treatments and side effects of treatments, if any. The best time to have this conversation is when you are well. It’s easier for your spouse to listen to you when they are not already worried about you.
Take care of yourself
It is important that you stay on your treatment course and do everything in your power to stay well. This includes eating healthy and exercising. You cannot have a healthy relationship if your partner is constantly worried about you not following the correct treatment course or not taking good care of yourself.
Take care of your spouse
It is important to acknowledge that your condition can put a lot of stress on your partner. Your partner may spend so much time worrying about you that they forget to worry about themselves. They may also feel guilty burdening you with their problems when you are not well.
Marriage is a give and take and you should take care of your partner and their needs just as much as they take care of you.
Seek counseling and support together
There is nothing wrong with needing support to navigate the ups and downs of marriage, especially if you are having marital problems. Therefore, don’t hesitate to seek counseling whenever you need it.
Ideally, you should seek counseling together, but if your partner is opposed to it, you can still gain a lot if you go by yourself. For instance, you can learn better coping and communication strategies.
Even if your partner won’t go to counseling with you, encourage him or her to join a support group for people whose loved ones have mental health issues. This can be a great place for your spouse to speak freely about what bothers them.
Having a mental health condition doesn’t mean that you cannot have a happy and healthy relationship or marriage. As long as you are both willing to learn, communicate and compromise, your marriage can thrive.