Mental health issues aren’t a joke. For one, a person coping with mental disorders is almost always unable to express the anguish that his/her mind bears. Secondly, the person in the presence of a mental health patient can only stand there and sympathize with the patient. However, sometimes, the person is required to do much more than merely sigh and sympathize. If coping with mental disorders – such as depression and anxiety – is hard, then living with a person with mental illness is even more challenging. If you must embark on this challenge, here is a list of hurdles and hacks that will help you in living with a depressed loved one.
Challenges in living with a person with mental illness:
The parent-child relationship suffers, unnoticed:
Mental disorders don’t consider the age of the target before it takes a shot at it. Children as young as 5-years-old can also become victims of various mental health issues – such as depression and anxiety. In such a scenario, parents tend to first turn the world upside down in order to rescue their child from a particular mental disorder. When that fails, and it often does, parents tend to blame themselves for their child’s devastating state and drown in guilt and anger.
The feelings of anger, guilt, frustration, and alienation increase manifold when the person in the relationship coping with mental disorders is a teenager. Distance grows between the parent and the child, misunderstandings continue to plague the already tensed equation, and finally, under the constant pressure of disorders that attack unnoticed, the most trustworthy relationship cracks.
Marriages made in heaven burn under hellish flames:
Living with a person with mental illness is difficult, and painfully so. However, if the one suffering from disorders such as depression and anxiety is your spouse, marital bliss can soon turn into a dreadful curse. Men, living with a depressed loved one in a marriage, take a harder hit. Toxic masculinity makes a man think of himself as “the one who fixes everything” in a marital relationship. But, helping a loved one in coping with mental disorders brings him face to face with harsh reality. Depression and anxiety in a loved one can’t be fixed.
Women in a marital space long to feel loved. However, depression and anxiety in a male spouse can arouse apathy in him. This means that no matter what, husbands coping with mental disorders cannot really initiate or appreciate the efforts required to keep the marital bliss intact. The spouse living with depressed loved one is then bound to feel isolated an unloved. Lack of sex drive in partners suffering from depression and anxiety can also make their partners feel neglected and disconnected. Living with someone suffering from mental health issues is tough; and if that someone is a romantic partner, then it is all the harder than ever.
Tips for living with someone coping with mental disorders:
Living with someone suffering from mental health issues is harder than you think. But it surely isn’t impossible. All you need is a little more love, lots of more patience, and some more tips.
Research, research, research:
Surely medication can help your loved one cope with a mental disorder. But there’s more to mental health issues than what meets the eye. Research about how you can use alternative therapies to help your loved one deal with issues like depression and anxiety. Moreover, instead of simply suggesting your loved one about the offbeat treatments, give them company by indulging in those therapies yourself.
Meditate with them for at least 20 minutes a day. Plan a picnic for just the two of you on a sunny day and soak a little sunlight. Take them out for a long walk by the beach and enjoy the moment. Little things aren’t so little. They go a long way in making your loved one feel really loved and happy. To add to that, such sweet nothings can make living with someone suffering from mental health issues a lot easier.
Love yourself first:
You cannot pour from an empty glass. Likewise, you cannot extend enough love and support to those with depression and anxiety if you do not indulge in self-care. Living with a depressed loved one can be mentally exhausting. Ensure that you try your best to balance out your needs along with your partner’s needs. Give yourself a break every once in a while without feeling guilty about it. Depression and anxiety does not define your and your loved one’s life. Remember that. Love yourself.
Understand and support your loved one a little more:
Depression and anxiety can induce cognitive distortions as well as lethargy in the patient. This might mean that your loved one is thinking and talking more negatively ever before. You might find them directing their anger and frustration at you. Here is a tip: Do not take any of it personally.
While living with a depressed loved one, practice compassionate detachment. Look at things around yourself with objectivity and detachment. Look at the actions of your loved one with empathy and compassion, without being drawn to the darkness of their perceptions.
Understand that your loved one finds coping with mental disorders hard. Be there for them. Gently push your loved one to do a little better every time. Most important of all, living with someone suffering from mental health issues means being a good listener. A feeling of being heard can really help your loved one in coping with mental disorders since it makes them feel connected to you.
There is so much more that you can do to help your loved one in coping with mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. But for a start, love them, even at their worst. Living with a depressed loved one can be tiresome at times. But remember that love conquers all at the end. With your love, care, and support, your loved one will thrive even in difficult moments. Living with someone suffering from mental health issues isn’t easy. But with the right amount of awareness and sensibility, it is worth it all.