When discussing your partner’s condition, come up with ways to handle any symptoms that might suddenly arise, like a panic attack or extreme bout of depression.
“That might mean coming up with a soothing word for your loved one or leaving the room together, or maybe it’s understood that your partner does not want you to touch them when they’re anxious, but rather just sit in silence with them,” says Grant.
That’s why we talked to experts who know from experience what kinds of things can help (or hurt) your relationship when you’re with someone facing a mental illness. “Open up a conversation about trying to understand what they’re experiencing, what happens in their body, and what goes through their mind.” Do some research of your own to educate yourself better about their disorder.
Here’s their top advice: When your partner is feeling relatively good and not overly anxious or depressed is the best time to talk to them about their condition, says Clinical Psychologist Dr. Grant advises that while having this discussing, ask about things that might set them off. “Is it certain places, certain situations, when you’re around certain people, or when particular life circumstances are happening?
In many cases, you might not even know what your partner is experiencing, which can lead you to misinterpret their feelings for you—among other miscommunications.
If you already know that you battle with anything like depression, anxiety or any kind of disorder, just tell them.
“Don’t assume he or she is upset with you,” says licensed therapist, Kayce Hodos.
“The biggest challenge you’re likely to face is feeling frustrated that you can’t fix things.
Telling them to calm down, cheer up, or stop doing a compulsive behavior that bothers you is not always the best approach.
Licensed therapist Katie Krimer says that due to people’s own discomfort with others’ suffering, your tone can come off as flippant or dismissive of your partner’s experience.