How to Talk to Your Partner about Your Mental Health?

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Conversations around mental health require a level of sensitivity. It has taken us several decades to come to terms with mental health concerns and their impact on our well-being.

Imagine a situation when you wanted to tell someone good news. Perhaps your manager noticed how hard you worked or did well in school. Who did you talk to about this? Probably, people like your partner and friends who we care about and like to receive good news, but many of us find it difficult to let them know when we’re not doing too well.

For those of us who deal with illness or issues related to mental health, that might be particularly true. In fact, a survey revealed that 42% of participants were unsure if they would interact socially with a friend suffering from a mental condition.

Some even said that the stigma may be worse than the sickness itself, preventing patients from seeking care early or perhaps at all and limiting the resources available to help them recover.

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How to Talk to Your Partner about Your Mental Health?

Talking to your partner about your mental health can be difficult, but it definitely has positive dividends.

Mental health tips.Always talk about your situation with your partner.

Let’s explore an example: John has recently been worrying a lot and is under a lot of stress. He’s having trouble sleeping and is depressed to the core. He believes that his family and friends won’t understand, so he doesn’t want to inform them. He has been suppressing his emotions for months, and things are now getting worse.

Fortunately, John’s partner observed a change in him and enquires about his well-being. As she has supported him in the past, John has faith in her. He confides in her, as he believes she’s a trustworthy person with whom he can open up. Unfortunately, not everyone has a spouse, and because mental health issues are stigmatized, we don’t often treat them the same as we do physical health issues.

Mental health concerns don't look the same for everyone, and it is fine to talk to your partner about it. (Photo byPexels/Andre Furtado )
Mental health concerns don’t look the same for everyone, and it is fine to talk to your partner about it. (Photo byPexels/Andre Furtado )

Although it’s not obligatory, having supportive people in your life can truly help when going through challenging circumstances. Whether and when to share is entirely up to you.

If you do share, keep in mind that not everyone will react the way you expect them to. Some families and communities never discuss mental health. Especially if you share your troubles on social media, your concerns may not always be well received.

Before sharing or posting anything online, make sure you’re prepared and in a good mood. Also, keep in mind that if you need help but are unsure of where to turn to, call a crisis hotline, as there’re always professionals who can assist you.


Conversation Around Mental Health

Start by asking your partner if they can share something with them. Share your feelings with them. Not everything needs to be shared at once.

If your partner responds favorably, you can always give them more information, and speak with them again. Consider another person who would be safe to share with if the first person doesn’t respond well.

You will probably never feel as though the right time has come to discuss your mental health. Finding the right time can be difficult and inconclusive. However, you need to be in a mental and physical environment where they can listen and ask questions. Don’t wait till you’re engaged in a heated dispute or when your partner is overworked or worried, to bring up the subject.

Help your partner comprehend how your daily challenges and medical conditions affect you. Use emotions and language that they can relate to so that they comprehend what you’re going through. It’s crucial if you’re dealing with something they don’t understand or have expertise with.

Timing is important, but not a criterion to talk to your partner. (Image via Pexels/Ivan Samkov)
Timing is important, but not a criterion to talk to your partner. (Image via Pexels/Ivan Samkov)

For example, you could describe your worry as a constant, unshakeable thing in your day-to-day activities. You can explain to them how frequently you feel overwhelmed or exhausted.

If you suffer from depression, you could describe how you constantly feel as though a heavy object is dragging you down. Describe how, despite your inability to articulate it, depression makes it difficult for you to feel happy and enjoy life. Writing out some talking points beforehand can be helpful, as emotions can make you forget crucial details.


Takeaway

It’s a huge step to discuss your mental health with your partner, but don’t stop there. Walk them through your treatment plan, whether it involves therapy, medication, or even mindfulness exercises. You can share with them what has previously worked and what hasn’t.

Additionally, it’s a good time to inform them of what they can say and do that could be helpful as well as what might not be. You two may now develop together. as you share everything. It’s fine to ask for professional assistance if you’re having mental health problems, but it can also be helpful to talk to your partner, especially if you have been dating for a while.


Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master’s degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.


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