Some people say that everybody will experience some kind of mental health condition during their life, and others say that we all continually have issues but the important thing is that we recognize that we have issues to deal with. While some of the facts are debatable here, it’s obvious that mental health conditions are common in the twenty-first century, and anybody who has any experience of them will know how destructive and difficult to manage they can be.
Mental health issues can be problematic to manage when you are in a relationship, as you both maybe affected by different issues, or because the issues are connected to the relationship itself. These issues can often undermine the unity with which you try to deal with life’s challenges, and in these cases, the best thing you can do is to identify exactly what you’re up against. Read on to learn about five mental health conditions which could be affecting your relationship.
Eating disorders are an incredibly complicated issue, particularly because typically they are founded on some level of secrecy. If you’re anorexic or bulimic, or you’re worried your partner might be, then there is a high chance that there are stresses and tensions in the household. These conditions involve extreme eating behaviors which are often outside of the sufferer’s control; from hiding food and eating in secret, all the way to trying to survive on no food at all.
This is obviously distressing for both parties involved, but if your partner suffers from anorexia you may be distressed to find that they aren’t even aware they have a condition.
Often, the difficult part is convincing the sufferer to seek help – and techniques like shaming, offering ultimatums and offering simple solutions can make the problem worse. When talking to the person you’re worried about, be supportive but explain why you’re concerned. If you’re a sufferer yourself, be aware that the treatment will ultimately take a supportive route; there will be medical treatment to alleviate any damage to your body, nutritional counselling will work on your diet with you, and you will also receive therapy which aims to get to the roots of the issue.
This is one of the most common conditions, and it’s also one of the most difficult to identify. However, there are signs to look out for. Has your partner lost interest in doing things they normally love? Are they barely sleeping or else sleeping excessively? Are they inexplicably exhausted all the time? It’s also worth making sure that older people aren’t depressed. Do they struggle to keep their cupboards stocked and eat a balanced diet? Are they starting to neglect their appearance or hygiene? These are all signs of depression, and if you notice them then one of the most important things you can do is talk to the sufferer and offer basic support such as making sure they eat and sleep reasonable amounts. However, it’s also essential that you make them feel less alone and that you can recognize when the situation is escalating, for example, when the sufferer is making suicidal comments then you should seek professional support.
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
ADHD is difficult to manage in a relationship. The sufferer can often be forgetful, impulsive, and may zone out of conversations, and these can all be frustrating symptoms for a partner to cope with, and they can often engender reactions which intensify the symptoms. It can make both of you feel alone, and it can make the non-sufferer feel like they’re responsible for all the important tasks in life.
The first step is for each party to try to understand how their partner experiences the relationship and the world more generally, and then you can try to break out of the parent-child dynamic which can take over so many relationships. There are things you both need to accept. It can seem to the sufferer like they can’t control their condition, but they should try to maintain awareness that it is affecting their relationship whether they can control it or not. If it’s affecting the relationship then it’s time to take treatment seriously. However, the non-suffering partner should also try to reduce verbal attacks and try to praise their partner when they do things right. One of the most destructive elements of the condition is that it inhibits communication, making you both feel alone, so do everything you both can to improve communication between you.
Retroactive Jealousy OCD
This condition involves a partner who has an obsessive fixation on their partner’s sexual or romantic history. Retroactive jealousy can be destructive within a relationship because there is, of course, nothing anyone can do about what’s already happened. While Retroactive jealousy OCD isn’t officially recognized, it can become extremely distressing as it grows into an obsession that affects your everyday life. Because the obsession relates to a past that cannot be changed, and there is no tangible desired outcome for the obsessive, this can be difficult for many people to understand. Treatment tends to focus on breaking the routine of thought, the anxiety, the reaction, and the temporary relief, which are also all well known in sufferers of traditionally defined obsessive compulsive disorders.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD can have a far-reaching effect on a relationship. It affects the sufferer’s interest in social and sexual activities, it encourages feelings of distance and irritation, and it also affects the other partner in the relationship, by causing feelings of alienation and frustration. Just like any condition which affects a sufferer’s ability to sleep, this can make relationships difficult to negotiate, and by stoking up these tensions it makes it even more difficult to receive treatment. It’s also common for PTSD sufferers to seek relief through drug or alcohol abuse, which can be just another relationship obstacle. One of the most distressing symptoms can be flashbacks, or moments where the sufferer is forced to relive the trauma, and their guarded attitude can often make it difficult to provide support. Seek medical help if you or your partner are struggling with any of these issues, because PTSD is a serious condition and you need to get the right support to overcome it.