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How to Start a Conversation about Mental Health with Your Partner

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We have to understand that mental health is very important and that mental illnesses are not that uncommon. It happens to many people today, which is no surprise considering how stressful our lives have become.

Still, it is always difficult to share these kinds of problem with people, especially with your partner. Nobody ever plans or gets prepared for such conversations in their lives. Mental health issues can cause people to lose confidence and develop new fears that might cause additional problems.

Nobody wants to sit in front of their partner and tell them that they suffer from depression, anxiety, or something else. However, there are better ways to approach this issue and make the whole thing much easier.

Reach out to them for support

image4 3One of the best ways to do this is to ask your partner to give you the necessary support you need to combat this mental illness. Asking for help from your partner is a good way to start things off. Still, you shouldn’t present the issue like it’s something simple, nor should you make it look like it’s a question of life and death.

If you expect honesty and openness from your partner, you need to first give those same things to get them in return. Ask for help directly and explain what is bothering you and how you would like them to assist you.

The act of showing vulnerability and asking for direct help alone will do a lot and show your partner that you really have a problem and that they need to take you seriously.

Explain that the problem is chronic and won’t just go away

image3 7Still, you can never be sure that your partner will take the problem you are having seriously and understand just how real it is. First of all, you need to use clear and direct terms when speaking about your mental illness.

During these kinds of conversations, most people like to use words such as “burden” or “heavy” to explain the problems they are having and how they feel. Bear in mind that it can be quite difficult to explain something to a person who has never experienced it before.

This is why you need to think about the terms that your partner will understand and use them to convey your emotions, thoughts and feelings in the best way possible. Additionally, make sure to explain that this is not just a bad period of your life that will go away and that you have a chronic problem.

Show them why keeping things under control is a constant struggle

Most people, no matter how understanding they might be, cannot comprehend what you are going through if they haven’t had any experience with or knowledge about that kind of mental illness. This is why you need to explain what kind of burden you have to deal with every day.

Most mental illnesses are always “on” and they have to be managed properly at all times. This can be very difficult at times and your partner needs to understand how difficult it is to stay balanced and in control. This is why you need to show your partner a piece of it.

For example, if you are suffering from depression, tell him or her how it can sometimes be difficult to get out of bed or find the will to do those regular things in life that everyone handles. You don’t want them to take your problem lightly, as this might create conflict between you in the future.

You want them to understand you, not just tolerate you

image5 1One of the biggest issues in these situations is that people who have problems often present themselves as victims that deserve the right to be tolerated for everything. Don’t do this, you should not make your partner pay the price for your illness.

The goal here is for your partner to understand you better. Through understanding, you will be able to take your relationship to a whole new level of communication. Making your partner tolerate you because he or she is feeling sorry, guilty or for whatever reason will not solve anything.

When your partner understands how you are feeling and what you are dealing with, they will know how to help you and how to approach things properly, which will strengthen the bond you share as a couple.

Keep the communication alive day after day

Having a mental illness is not a taboo and you shouldn’t avoid talking about it. A lot of people talk about their problem with their partners just once and then they bury the subject somewhere in the back of their minds.

This is a terrible mistake. Create an open environment where you can both talk about the illness whenever you feel like it. This doesn’t mean that it should always be approached with maximum seriousness, though. Laugh at it and make fun of it if you feel like it.

This is something that affects the both of you and your life as a couple. Embrace it, talk about it, discuss things and learn to live with it as best you can.

Show them what they can do to help

While explaining your issues as best you can and trying to be clear about how your life is affected, you will also have to give your partner directions on how they can help you. This is where you must do your research to make sure that you share important information with your partner.

You can also give references to your partner and sit together in front of a computer so that you can guide them through the whole thing. Don’t put any pressure on your partner and instead give valuable suggestions on how they might be able to help you.

In the end, make sure to find a good moment to start the conversation about your mental health. Make sure that you are feeling well when you are doing this to show that you have things under control.

You want your partner to be supportive and understanding, but you need to make sure that you don’t scare the person away. Reflect on the relationship and communication you have and be true to that relationship when talking about your problems.

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