Dating, for some people, can be a fun experience. However, for some, it can be stressful, especially during the initial days when two people invest time and efforts in getting to know each other. Once the initial chemistry develops, the partners start sharing more about each other with respect to their backgrounds, values, political beliefs, goals and so on. During this getting-to-know-each-other phase, what if one of the partners reveals that he or she is struggling with a mental problem? While this might overwhelm the other person and the revelation could become a dealbreaker, one should always remember that mental problems are of various types and anyone could be affected by them. This, however, doesn’t mean that a mentally distressed person is unfit as a potential match.
Like normal people, an individual with a mental disorder is also likely to have a relationship need. However, while dating people from this category, one should consider few important points, which can greatly help in strengthening the relationship.
Encouraging clear communication
It is always recommended to have an open line of communication in a relationship as it helps in fostering stronger bonds. Therefore, one must encourage one’s partner to share all the details about his or her mental health ailments – how and when do they get affected the most by the illness, how would they like to be approached during that time and so on. However, one must not be too pushy if someone is not willing to share the details of the illness. A relationship needs time for nurturing and gradually, one might get more candid with their other half.
Understanding partner’s mental illness
Once an individual shares his or her mental health condition with the other person, it is imperative that the latter invests some time in reading up on that particular mental illness. This might help a person understand the partner better.
Practicing patience and empathy
There would be times when a person with a mental illness would be down, depressed, incoherent, silent, irrational or lethargic. During these times, it is understandable that the other person might get shocked and overwhelmed, but still one must try to be patient and understanding. One must always remember that a person with a mental illness has no control over the symptom manifestations and during those vulnerable times, he or she would need empathy and assurance from the loved ones.
Setting boundaries and practicing self-care
It is an undeniable fact that a person with a mental illness needs a lot of care and affection, however, under no circumstance does that mean that this person becomes exceedingly dependent on the other half. One should refrain from acting like the mentally disturbed partner’s therapist or caretaker as that can worsen things and affect the charm of a romantic relationship. In addition, one must not get obsessed about taking care of their partner all the time as this can get quite exhausting. Therefore, it is inevitable for both the partners to have an open discussion about setting clear boundaries to prevent the occurrence of any rift arising out of an unrealistic expectation.
Even mentally distressed people are like you and me
Approximately one in five adults or nearly 44 million people in the United States struggle with mental illnesses in any given year, says the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Therefore, these disorders are fairly common. People with mental illness struggle to reach out for help due to the fear of stigma and discrimination. We must remember that mentally distressed persons are equally competent in their professional and personal lives. We can help them improvise their quality of life by encouraging them to seek therapy for symptom alleviation so that they lead a productive life.
If you or your loved one is struggling with a mental problem, the Florida Depression Helpline can assist in finding the depression rehab centers in Florida that offer coping mechanisms to manage stress. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-267-5177 or chat online with our experts for further assistance.