You Are Not Your Partner’s Mental Illness


Being with someone who has a mental illness can be difficult at times. Mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depression, can affect your relationship in many ways. According to the Mayo Clinic, oftentimes people with mental illnesses will experience things such as:

  • Feeling sad or down

  • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate

  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt

  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows

  • Withdrawal from friends and activities

  • Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping

  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations

  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress

  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people

  • Problems with alcohol or drug use

  • Major changes in eating habits

  • Sex drive changes

  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence

  • Suicidal thinking

When your partner is experiencing one or more of these, it can make you feel like you did something wrong or that it's your fault. You sometimes see these things as choices rather than something they cannot control and you take offense to it. This may cause tension in the relationship, as well as your partner feeling guilt and embarrassment. It is important to know how to help them when you can and know how to effectively communicate. For tips on communication, check out this blog post on opening communication and managing expectations.