How To Start A Conversation About Mental Health With Your Partner?
Mental health is an important aspect of overall health and well-being. However, many people find it difficult to talk about their mental health with their partner. This can be due to stigma, fear of being judged, or simply not knowing how to approach the topic. But having a conversation with your partner about mental health can bloom your relationship into something stunning. In this article, we will discuss some tips for talking to your partner about mental health.
Why is it Important to Communicate about Your Mental Health?
Engaging in interpersonal communication can help reduce personal load, make any bond better, and give clarity. Such conversations can make your partner your biggest support system. Then why does it become so hard to have a calm conversation about mental health with your partner?
The fear of being judged, and lack of listening and understanding skills, is the biggest villain that ends many relationships. Yet it is also true that one cannot assume their partner would be like that. Hence, it is very essential to communicate about your mental health with your partner. Such connections can foster endure strong partnerships. When we speak our heart out and are completely transparent about what’s in our mind, we-
- De-stress the mind
- Reduce depression, anxiety, and sadness
- Break stigmas
- Recover faster
- Build closer bonds and increase emotional intimacy
- Experience positive emotions with our partner
- Make other people aware of our needs and wants
- Feel self-assured and confident about ourselves and the people around us
- Develop problem-solving skills
- Become more optimistic
- Enhance the quality of life
- Experience gratitude, support, and love, and feel safe
What Happens When You Stop Communicating with Your Partner?
Pick any article, book, blog, or podcast, or talk to any relationship counselor, they will tell you communication is the key! So many beautiful relationships, that had the potential to last a lifetime, ended once the couple stopped communicating. As per a survey, ‘Communication has been found to be the bedrock or the “heart” in supporting and promoting relationship satisfaction.’
Whether romantic or platonic, any relationship can foster fumes of anger if it lacks communication. Small issues or conflicts can turn into huge arguments resulting in break-ups or divorce. Of course, you can’t just sit and start talking your emotions out with your partner that easily. I know it’s difficult and you might feel you don’t want to seem weak.
You might feel anxious, and insecure, may have second thoughts, might sweat like a waterfall, or feel you are jeopardizing your relationship. But if you don’t communicate, the picture isn’t going to be any less than an Indian soap opera! Don’t let your poor communication skills be a dealbreaker.
However, there is a thin line between pride and being actually introvert or scared. Step across that line and watch your pain slowly melt away. Nothing in this world is easy. In fact, most of the population doesn’t even know how to breathe right! Not joking. But with small steps and little effort, you can do anything in the world.
How to Discuss Your Mental Health with Your Partner?
Choose the Right Time and Place
It’s important to choose a time and place where you and your partner can have an open and honest conversation without distractions or interruptions. Choose a time when both of you are relaxed and not distracted by other activities.
Be Honest and Open
When talking to your partner about mental health, it’s important to be honest and open about your feelings and experiences. Explain to your partner how you have been feeling and how it has been affecting you. It’s important to let your partner know that you trust them and that you want to share your thoughts and feelings with them.
Avoid Blaming or Criticizing
It’s important to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding. Avoid blaming or criticizing your partner for not understanding your mental health. Instead, try to explain how your mental health is affecting you and what you need from them to feel supported.
Be Clear About What You Need
When talking to your partner about mental health, be clear about what you need from them to feel supported. This could be as simple as having someone to talk to or someone to help you manage your symptoms. It’s important to communicate your needs clearly so your partner knows how they can help you.
Listen to Your Partner
When talking to your partner about mental health, it’s important to listen to their perspective as well. Your partner may have questions or concerns about your mental health, and it’s important to address them in a respectful and understanding manner.
Seek Professional Help
If you or your partner are struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to seek professional help. This could include therapy, counseling, or medication. You can also consider couples therapy to help you and your partner navigate the challenges of mental health together.
Talking to your partner about mental health can be a difficult conversation, but it’s an important one. By being honest, open, and clear about your needs, you can help your partner understand your mental health and support you in your journey toward healing and well-being. Remember, mental health is a journey, and having a supportive partner can make all the difference.
What to do if Your Partner is Dealing with Mental Health Issues?
If you are sure your partner is struggling with a mental illness, make sure to research well about it. The more you know, the better. This way, in the time of crisis you can help your partner throughout the episode and be as supportive as required.
- Be supportive of your partner but don’t become their therapist since you are not a professional.
- Validate what they are feeling. Don’t tell them they are wrong if they are feeling a certain way. However, in case of suicidal attempts or thoughts, contact their doctor immediately.
- Help them practice self-care but also respect their boundaries when necessary.
- You could also register for couples counseling to know your partner better and understand how you can support them more.
- You can discuss and register for couples’ activities. This way you are assuring your partner you are there through the thick and thin.
- If you want to have a conversation about their mental health, talk nicely and carefully. Don’t use insensitive language at all.
- Don’t say things like ‘be positive,’ or ‘this shall too pass.’ They know it all. They don’t need to hear the same from you.
- Don’t give unsolicited advice. You may end up making things worse. Instead, be a good listener and let your partner know you are there for them.
- Never threaten to leave. That is no cure or love but a big, toxic, red flag.
- Empathize and get clear on how they would want to be supported.
What if Your Partner Does Not Support Your Mental Health?
Imagine your worst fears coming true when you wholeheartedly open up yourself and your partner shuts you down. This is a sign of a highly toxic relationship. If, even after explaining, they don’t validate your emotions or empathize with you, walk away.
I know it’s no party! But your mental health is more important than anything else. And you cannot allow anyone to talk that away from you. Yes, there is a huge difference between your partner not knowing how to support you due to a lack of communication skills, and your partner not wanting to support you.
You might feel if you break it off, you will feel more depressed or anxious. But being surrounded by negative, insensitive people can only bring more sadness into your world. And nobody wants that. If they still want to continue the relationship, maybe see a couple’s counselor. However, if things are not working out, don’t be afraid to break the deal.