Partner with mental illness

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 16
Member
2002 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016 - Sussex, UK

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bywater :  I’m of course very sorry that happened to you but that is a very extreme situation. What’s to say that you will never suffer from any mental health issues in the future though?

Post # 17
Member
587 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!

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sboom :  I would also say that many people who have dealt with SMI in the past tend to be more empathetic and caring. We are more understanding since we’ve there ourselves. 

Post # 18
Member
5560 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

Someone who will write you off before even knowing you just because you have a diagnosis (that you GOT from asking for help by the way) isn’t worth your time.

This isn’t aimed at op by the way. 

Post # 19
Member
2092 posts
Buzzing bee

OP has every right to decide if this is something she can accept in a partner, just like any other characteristic someone brings to the relationship table that could present challenges. Only OP can decide if it’s something she’s ultimately able to handle. 

My experience in my previous marriage dealing with a husband that had diagnosed bipolar disorder, manic depression and PTSD is that it was extremely difficult on us, especially me. When we met and were in the honeymoon phase, he was on a “high” and was able to deal with his mental illness because he had something new to fixate on. Once the newness of our relationship wore on, it became apparent that he needed to find other “highs”, which could be extravagant financial obligations (like coming home from work and finding a new vehicle  in the driveway!), extreme substance abuse use, extreme and violent mood swings all accompanied by extreme lows. Not just staying in the house, but refusing personal care, becoming obsessed with something, my ex was former military and became obsessed with watching government conspiracy theory shows and hoarding guns and ammunition. 

He was mean, exploding at the smallest offenses. Then feeling remorseful for berating me and would promise he didn’t mean the slew of offensive things he said. He blamed it on the military, or his depression AND on him. It seemed like he “owned” it at times, going to therapy and getting on his meds. Then he wouldn’t and would go off of them.

It. Was. Exhausting. 

Then it turned violent when his substance abuse got out of control and the marriage had to end. 

 

All thst to say, it was the longest 3 years of my life, I felt like I’d been in it for decades. Every day was a roller coaster and I decided I wasn’t able to knowingly enter into a relationship with someone who struggles with depression moving forward. I understand things happen and no one is promised a life of being free from depression or anxiety but no, I wouldn’t willingly enter into a relationship with someone who has it. There are wonderful people who suffer from it, and they deserve a wonderful partner… I decided I wasn’t in a place to be that partner. OP has to decide if she can be that partner when things aren’t great, and only she can answer that. 

Post # 20
Member
5560 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

I’ve been medicated with various meds for a decade and in and out of therapy for just as long. I’ve been with a therapist for two years who has helped me change my life.

I still have days where my anxiety is high, where I jump out of my skin at unexpected noises, where I have to work hard at stopping my racing thoughts.

But I’m not less of a person for it, I’m not a danger to my daughter or my husband. And because my husband is supportive, I tell him about my bad days so that he knows and can be aware that I’m running on some high anxiety

Mental illness is life long, it can be managed with meds and therapy but it doesn’t go away. You just learn how to cope.

You surround yourself with people who love and support you and you take ownership of your struggles and you work through them. I don’t depend on anyone to make me feel better. I depend on myself to decide if I need a medication adjustment or if I just need to increase my coping skills

There is a difference between people with mental illness who take ownership and take action to control their symptoms and untreated mental illness.

I’ve seen myself in an UNDERTREATED state and I saw how I could have destroyed my life. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with someone like that. But now that I’m on treatment that works and I put my all into staying stable, I’m a different person

”I will never date someone with a mental illness” is a wide brush that writes off amazing people. “I will never date someone who has an untreated mental illness who refuses to get help” is ENTIRELY different 

Post # 21
Member
1226 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

I can’t speak from the partner point of view but I have clinical depression and anxiety. I’m on medication but the medication does not “get rid of” my depression, it just lessens the severity of my symptoms. I also have SAD, so for about 5 months of the year it can be a real struggle to do anything, even when on my medication. I try other things like exercise, using a sun light, watching my sugar intake, but again those things only alleviate some of the symptoms. What this usually looks like is me lying on the couch/in bed looking like a sad potato. I might use more sick days at work. Sometimes I cry for no reason. Sometimes my patience gets really thin and sometimes the tiniest things stress me out to where I can barely function.

It definitely can be hard on my DH and personally I would not want to date someone with these issues.

Post # 22
Member
4594 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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esmilka :  My husband has depression that sometimes manifests as anxiety. He is managing it through medication and therapy, and most of the time it doesn’t affect our day-to-day life. I’ve been with him enough to learn signs that his depression is flaring up (or about to), so that helps because I can help him forestall it (by suggesting he uses his sunlight lamp a little more or set up an extra therapy appointment, for example).

There are without a doubt challenges that come with that. I’ve been with him long enough to have seen him spiral down twice, both times when he was off medication. It’s scary and stressful. The first time was in college and he self-medicated with alcohol – I truly wasn’t sure we’d make it through that.

That said, I wouldn’t trade my life with him for anything. He has never been a threat to himself or me, and usually he’s the rock in our relationship. If your guy is taking his meds and open about his depression/anxiety, those are both good signs, in my opinion. 

Post # 24
Member
1821 posts
Buzzing bee

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Sansa85 :  That isn’t quite fair to say someone who wouldn’t date someone with an issue like that without getting to know them isn’t worth their time. 

I think we all need to stop painting both sides as the bad guy here. 

Everyone is allowed to have a life they choose and curate of their own will. That means that someone’s dealbreaker isn’t for anyone else to judge or question. If my dealbreaker is someone with mental illness that is my right. I don’t owe anyone an explanation, it doesn’t make me a bad person nor does it make anyone with my dealbreaker a bad person either. It is simply a choice I get to make. 

Some people might see my traits or background or looks as a dealbreaker and I have no right to judge them for it, or get mad about it. I want someone who is not only a right for me, but where I am also a right fit for them. It is a gigantic waste of time to get upset about the reasons why someone didn’t want to date you. The world is wide, and everyone is so different and no two people are looking for the same thing. There are plenty of people out there who have zero issues dating someone with a mental issue. So its unecessary and inappropriate to go around being upset at people who wouldn’t date someone with that challenge. 

Post # 27
Member
5560 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

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ladyjane123 :  I’m not upset at all, I’m just saying, if someone will judge me because of a diagnosis, they aren’t worth my time, which means it’s not worth me getting upset over

Post # 28
Member
3451 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

 

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ladyjane123 :  I find it interesting that you don’t consider it judgmental to decide someone is not worth *your* time because they have a mental illness, regardless of any other factor like how they manage it, but somehow you think Sassy is being judgmental by saying that someone who would write her off because of mental illness without even bothering to get to know her isn’t worth *her* time….

Post # 29
Member
275 posts
Helper bee

Personally I would advise you to think long and hard about this. My husband has anxiety and depression and has since he was in high school. He takes an SSRI and has therapy occasionally.  When he first told me, my instinct was to run away. I didn’t want to deal with it. But then I thought, gee, that is so cruel of me. People with mental illness are deserving of love! It’s not fair to count someone out because of anxiety and depression. However, it can be extremely challenging to the partner.  My husband went through a dark depression before we were even married, where he wasn’t getting out of bed and he was abusing weed. I almost dumped him then, honestly, I wish I had. He’s now doing terrific in his career and outwardly appears to be a successful person. 

But I have had to deal with unbelievable mood swings and verbal and emotional abuse from him. He can be very cruel. I personally believe that at times, he uses his anxiety and depression as an excuse to get away with bad behavior. I believe his mother coddled him and allowed him to act out because she was afraid of exacerbating his problems, and he learned that he can manipulate people by using his anxiety and depression as an excuse. For a long time I would excuse his bad behavior by thinking, well his anxiety is really bad today and that’s why he’s acting crazy and yelling at me and being mean to me. But it’s likely just because he’s an asshole. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two. 

So, it’s all very complicated. If your boyfriend is a nice guy under all that anxiety and depression, and he’s functional and under control, then I’m sure you have lead a happy life with him. If there’s more going on beneath the surface, the addition of mental illness can make things very confusing and genuinely heartbreaking for the partner.  Either way, it will probably make your life more difficult.

in the future I will avoid men who take meds and are in therapy. It might sound cruel, but I have enough problems of my own to worry about and I don’t want to take on another man in marriage who has all these issues. 

Post # 30
Member
5560 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

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toomuchdiva :  it sounds like his medications and therapy are not working, or he’s not serious about living an emotionally healthy life

You should not have to put up with abuse just because he has a mental illness. However, you can’t help him, he has to want to be better, you can’t do it for him

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