Mental Illness & Relationships

Mental Illness can affect all aspects of your life, especially relationships. Depending on the mental illness that you have, it’s difficult to be with someone. Family relationships can suffer. I know that, for me, my depression deepened after several miscarriages. Add in the fact that my marriage was not doing well and you have the perfect recipe for a disaster. I was depressed, so he blamed me for the problems within the marriage. That led to worse depression.

My mother didn’t understand why I was depressed. She felt I needed to get up and try harder. In her defense, she was raised during a time when you didn’t talk about things like that. She also thought that going to therapy meant she would be blamed for all of my problems. For many years, they blamed families for the occurrence of psychological problems, so her fear was justified. That fear created an even bigger strain on our relationship. 

Sounds like lots of fun, right? My children were too young to understand what was going on. They knew I was sad and daddy wasn’t at home much anymore. They had questions I couldn’t answer. Later when I attempted suicide, I had an even harder time answering their questions. It took me a while before I could look any of my family member’s in the eyes without feeling shame.

I had medical bills piling up from the miscarriages, the time in the hospital, and now mental health experts. I was handling everything on my own and drowning. When my ex was home, he made me feel as though I had lost my mind. If I asked him anything he didn’t want to answer, he would call me crazy. If I suggested a divorce, he would threaten to take the children away. I was unfit. I had attempted to end my life, how could be allowed to raise children.

Can You Have a Healthy Relationship With a Mental Illness?

The answer is yes, you can. With the proper care and help, you can have a healthy relationship. One that is loving and provides you what you need. For me the first step was to be honest and open about my mental illness. Not a first date sort of shout out either. 

It also meant having real expectations. Making sure that the new man in my life knew who he was getting and who he thought he was getting. I can’t change my mental illness. It is a part of me. I have tools to help myself and live the best life I can. I needed him to understand that being in my life would be a challenge for him. Especially early on as we navigate the relationship. I refused to jump into anything without feeling safe. I not only have mental illness but years of abuse. I wanted to be myself. I didn’t want to feel I needed to change anything about who I was. I like to read and I like music he may not. If any of that would be a problem then I knew I would end the relationship.

How’s it going? So far, so good. Things are progressing slowly and I’m happy. If asked, I say I am sort of single because we are taking it super slow. Like me, he had an unfortunate marriage, and neither is ready to jump into something that will leave us with more damage. We both have baggage, but it baggage we can handle. He doesn’t expect em to be anyone other than me. I expect the same from him.

HOW HAS MENTAL ILLNESS AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIPS? LET US KNOW INT HE COMMENTS BELOW.

4 Comments

  1. It’s hard with mental illness, the significant other should always try to be there for them.

  2. It can be tough if you deal with depression in a relationship.

  3. I really needed to read this today. I’ve been feeling down, but this was helpful.

  4. Your candor is refreshing, and gives me hope that I can be more open about my own struggles someday. I find that I’ll sometimes try and hide my feelings of anxiety from my husband, fearing that he’ll think I’m “crazy”. But he knows me well and can tell when something is going on in my head. The reality is that I don’t want him to feel like I’m shutting him out. I need to trust in him more that he’s not going to judge me negatively and know that he’ll support me any way that he can. But it’s challenging for me.

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