Whether you have anxiety, depression or some other form of mental illness that tends to hold you back from diving into relationships, fear not! Experts say you CAN have a healthy relationship even if you struggle with mental health.
Psychotherapist Quinn Gee, M.S., took to Twitter this summer with a thread of advice for those navigating the often-murky waters of being in a relationship with someone who has a mental illness.
After being asked repeatedly about the topic, Gee says she decided to share her thoughts. She noted that the thread was not reflective of her personal experience, but rather a trend she’s seen clinically in her patients.
Gee says that one of the most important parts of being a good partner to someone who suffers from a mental illness is to educate yourself about what it is they’re struggling with.
Of course, we all know that mental illness presents itself in many different forms, and symptoms vary person to person. So after you’ve done your research, Gee suggests you take what you’ve learned to your partner, and have an honest discussion about what their mental health looks like, so you know how to love them best.
Once you know more about mental illness and how it specifically lives out in the life of your partner, it’s good to let them know you’re in their corner and they have your full support. However, you can’t do this unless you ask, specifically, what they need from you to feel supported.
From there, Gee suggests devising a plan that ensures you’re both doing your very best to create a healthy, and safe place where mental illness exists in your relationship.
With how widespread mental illness is, it’s not uncommon for both partners to be suffering from their own chemical imbalance.
Luckily Gee has some recommendations for that as well:
Ultimately, when it comes to having a healthy relationship with the additive of a mental illness, Gee says the most important thing is to prioritize your mental health.
And know that it’s not just a one-and-done kind of thing. Being in a healthy relationship means you’re constantly circling back to see what the other person needs—whether you’re dating someone with a mental illness or not.
Ultimately Gee hopes everyone who reads her Twitter thread finds comfort in knowing that they are not alone and with the right tools, it IS possible to have a healthy relationship while battling mental illness.