Let me start off by saying I am no expert in the world of mental health. However, I do suffer from depression and have for a number of years. There are all kinds of advice out there for people who have a significant other that suffers from depression or anxiety. We tell them to have patience, to accept them on their bad days, and to understand that their depression doesn’t define them. But what about those relationships where both parties suffer from mental illness? With the rise in mental health awareness and a spike in depression diagnoses, it’s pretty safe to say that there are partnerships with this veil that sometimes hangs over you both, tinting your view of the world, and sometimes even worse, your relationship.
Is it hard to support your partner and their mental illness if you’re struggling as well? Of course, it is. It’s very hard, but honestly, that’s one of the reasons why it can be so rewarding. It’s hard enough to get through the toughest times of a major depressive disorder on your own, let alone seeking for help. Sharing this struggle with your partner creates unique qualities in your relationship, and I think it’s important to know that it can be done.
You learn to ask for help.
Your partner understands exactly where you’re coming from, making it possible to start a dialogue and to use each other as a main source of support. It really can be comforting to know that you’re not suffering alone, and they’ll never blame you for what you can’t control.
Other times, it can be harder to help each other.
Crises happen, that’s the way life goes. But if both partners are going through significant crises at the same time, that much-needed support may have to wait. It’s hard for sufferers of depression to put themselves first and seek help when they need to begin with, and it makes it a bit more difficult when you know that your partner is also struggling. You don’t want to take attention away from them, but you also need it yourself.