Partner with mental illness

posted 12 months ago in Relationships
Post # 46
Member
459 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

As others already stated, no person is a like and every persons is affected by those illnesses in a different way and they manage it differently. I think it’s great that he’s telling you what’s the case with him. If you’re curious, I think he’s open to talk about it with you and give you some details. And probably now it wouldn’t affect you that much, but it really depends on the factors stated before. So if I were you, I would never back off, just because of the fact that he told you that. Like with any other person, you have to spend time together in order to know if you think you’re a match.

I just want to add some personal insights, as I’m the one with depression and anxiety in my relationship. Comunication is the key in my opinion. If he feels down, the need to be alone or whatever it’s so important to tell you that, so you don’t feel rejected or left alone. Of course depression and anxiety are never an excuse to treat someone badly, but sometimes things could come off in a hostile way. Sometimes it can get frustrating when you want to help, but the other person wouldn’t let you. I’m totally aware of that and if my husband or my family get frustrated or desperate at times, I can fully understand that. And you can find so many support groups and info for persons surrounding someone with depression or anxiety that you can look after yourself in the case it could get overwhelming.

Post # 47
Member
337 posts
Helper bee

As someone with anxiety, some of these posts are disheartening. First, most mental illnesses have spectrums to them- not all are the same and not all people with a certain condition act the same. That being said just because someone has a MI does not give them the right to act like an ass and write it off because of their condition. There are some people who do that but that’s more of an issue of accountability than anything else. If you like the person, then I say keep on dating them. However, keep an eye on red flags that one might contribute to mental illness. I’ve known people who were abusive to their partners and would blame it on their bipolar- no you’re just an ass. 

Speaking for myself, I know there’s a difference in what is right or wrong, how to be respectful to others, etc. My anxiety only affects me, not how I treat others.

Post # 48
Member
405 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

View original reply
esmilka :  I think depression and anxiety are two things almost everyone has dealt with at some point in their life, that’s not to say they aren’t serious but most of us have suffered from them at some point. With that being said, it’s up to you if you think you can be with him based on how you’ve witnessed him behave so far because although they are common mental illnesses, some people can definitely have them more extremely than others, hence the need for medication. Now, if it was something like bi-polar or schizophrenia then that would be different as those types of severe mental illnesses can come with many consequences that alot of people may not be able to deal with, myself included.

Post # 49
Member
1560 posts
Bumble bee

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EllyAnne :  I’ve been in therapy over it for decades.   I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and Anxiety.  I thought that I was going to die.   

I still will never date or be in a relationship with someone with mental illness.   

My SO knows and is more open to my problems than I am.   Double standard?  Yep.   Sure is.   My experiences.  My outlook.  OP asked opinions and mine is valid. 

Post # 50
Member
1560 posts
Bumble bee

For those who say treatment makes a difference, my husband was UNDER treatment at the time of his break.   He’d seen his therapist that afternoon and she had no idea he’d gone off his meds. 

Post # 51
Member
2002 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016 - Sussex, UK

View original reply
bywater :  I didn’t say your opinion wasn’t valid.. It’s a fact that the majority of people with depression and/ or anxiety won’t act the same way as your ex. Its understandable going what you went through that you have taken the stance you have with relationships.

Post # 52
Member
2231 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I read a statistic that 25% of people in any year have some degree of mental illness and 50% of people will in their life time.

So how about we stop judging people and remove the stigma?!

Someone might never have had it, then it is brought on by a trigger in their life 

Post # 53
Member
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

It defeinitely depends on how well he treats you, how stable he is, how responsible, etc.  My ex husband is mentally ill, has suffered from depression his whole life (which I didn’t know when we met) and since we married young, I didn’t know any different and just became this codependent mother-like person in the relationship.  He was (still is) very irresponsible and unable to manage all the “grown up” stuff in life.  Unfortunately, my next relationship with my late husband was even MORE codependent and he was even MORE mentally ill.  He was biopolar and became suicidal (and violent towards me) due to the medication he was taking.  He killed himself 5.5 months after we married.

 

I vowed I wouldn’t date anyone with significant mental illness after that–for me, that meant I needed someone who was a fully functioning adult, who didn’t need me to take care of him.  I needed a PARTNER, not a burden.  Before anyone gets all up in my face about my choice of words, I specifically mean that I couldn’t handle exposing my daughter to another man that I had to “parent” also.  I have anxiety and OCPD, both of which I have deal with and don’t rely on someone else to parent me through them.  

My new husband also struggles with anxiety and a bit of rigidity, but otherwise is strong and capable and healthy, and most importantly, doesn’t need me to take care of him.  It’s refreshing to say the least.

Post # 54
Member
427 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

I am able to approach this question from several different perspectives. 

I myself am a partner with mental illness. I have bipolar disorder — and all the accompanying depression and anxiety issues that come with it. I was diagnosed when I had basically hit rock bottom, but I worked very hard to become a functional person again. I learned how to cope with, manage, and monitor my condition. I take medication daily and see a therapist and psychiatrist regularly. My issues still pop up — recently I found myself sliding into a depression, which I consulted with my doctors about right away and took steps to remedy; I also feel that a few times my anxiety has interfered with my relationship in a negative way. But overall, these things have been minor, and I always take responsibility and try to improve things. I want to be the best partner I can be for my fiance, and that means making sure I take care of myself.

I have had two very different experiences with partners who were also mentally ill. 

My ex-boyfriend had depression, anxiety, and ADHD. He didn’t manage his illnesses well, and basically did all the wrong things. No matter how many times I tried to get him into therapy, he was very resistant, and when he did go, he didn’t implement any of the suggestions. He didn’t take his meds regularly. Addiction issues began to surface — alcohol, cigarettes, prescription meds (both his own prescriptions and other peoples’). He couldn’t hold down a job. He was not able to be an equal partner to me, and while I thought I was helping him at first, I ended up just enabling him. You can’t fix someone if they don’t want to fix themselves. 

My fiance now also has had mental health struggles — depression, anxiety, and PTSD from his time in the military. However, he did the work he needed to do to manage his issues, much like I did. He holds down a full-time job as well as a side job, and is able to handle responsibility. His issues pop up sometimes too — he gets night terrors occasionally, he gets anxious sometimes, and just yesterday, he mentioned that he feels he might be in a mild depression. He doesn’t currently take medication, but is toying with the idea of doing so temporarily to get past this. His approach to our relationship is similar to mine: he wants to be the best partner possible, and so he monitors himself and takes responsibility for his issues when he needs to. This relationship has by far been the easiest relationship I have ever been in. 

A relationship with a person who struggles with anxiety and depression can be very fulfilling, and most of the time it shouldn’t be any different from a “normal” relationship. But this is only the case if your partner is diligent about managing their condition. He should NOT be relying on you to cure or fix him, because that is not your job. Your role is simply to be supportive, compassionate, patient, and try to understand what he is going through when issues arise. You also can’t take it personally if he becomes depressed when he is with you; even though he may be very happy with your relationship, there may be other life factors weighing him down, or it might just be a chemical imbalance. 

Overall, I’m clearly biased, but I don’t think his having depression and anxiety should dissuade you from dating this guy, provided he is taking the appropriate measures to manage it. 

Post # 55
Member
427 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

View original reply
Sansa85 :  ”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 

 

You summed it up perfectly! 

Post # 56
Member
1512 posts
Bumble bee

There are definitely  “ranges” of mental illness or mental concerns, and potential impact. From situational anxiety to psychosis. 

So long as you know what you are getting into. If his symptoms are well managed, everyone deserves love. I would not let this define him. 

I have anxiety, due to chronic pain and an estranged child . It’s not a “mental illness” in the clinical sense. But medication helps both pain and worry, making my life easier to manage. 

Post # 57
Member
1382 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

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catqueen92 :  That’s why I also included “and is stable”. Of course I understand meds is only half the battle with mental illness. Sometimes a third the battle. Sometimes 97% of the battle.

Post # 58
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2021

It’s really great he was honest with you that’s he has mental health issues, and that he’s actively seeking treatment for them. People with mental health issues are capable of being wonderful partners. And people with no mental health issues are capable of being awful partners. I wouldn’t discount someone just because they have anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc. Focus on the person first, and not their mental “illness.”

Post # 59
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee

 

My partner has depression. It gets hard when he is going through a depressive episode as I never know how long they’ll last or how I can help him. He gets treatment regularly and also maintains a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and exercise. He is very open with me and tells me when he is feeling down or if he is struggling. His biggest trigger is stress. So if I can help him by taking a load off if he’s in a depressive state, it helps him tremendously. He has minor anxiety too so the pressures consume him. 

Its been about 3 years since his diagnosis and I’m so proud of him and how far he has come. He has always been proactive and has always maintained his treatment. 

I have never thought about throwing out relationship away. Of course it gets hard but I wouldn’t want to spend this journey called life with anybody else. I love him to pieces and would go to the ends of the earth to help him through his struggles. 

Post # 60
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee

I also wanted to add that it is imperative that you maintain a healthy state of mind as well. If you are with someone who has mental illness you can only support them if you are looking after your own health and well-being. 

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