It’s not easy when you suddenly find the dynamic in your relationship has changed because your partner has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or both. This article aims to equip you with some tools that will benefit both them and you.
You might have suspected something has been up for a while, as you have noticed a change in your loved one. That work situation seems to have gotten on top of them more than usual, or that argument they had with their sister seems to have triggered a downward spiral they seem to be struggling to get out of.
Hopefully, they have looked for some help, or been receptive to your suggestions to see a health professional. Some people visit their GP, or see a counsellor, or both.
When you are caring for someone with anxiety or depression, there are a few especially helpful tactics that can be good to keep in mind:
- Caring for someone who is struggling with anxiety or depression can be exhausting. You are not alone, and you don’t need to do this by yourself. Get support – talk to family, friends or a counsellor.
- Ask your partner outright: what would help; what do they find most beneficial when they are having their worst days? This keeps things clear, avoids misunderstandings between you and helps them feel listened to.
- Accept that they are not themselves at the moment: try not to personalise this.
- Make sure you keep up with your own socialising, exercise and activities you enjoy. People who support loved ones with depression/anxiety are at risk of developing these issues too, do keep this in mind.
- Your partner may be down or grumpy, but this is no excuse for verbal or physical abuse. Be firm about your boundaries, and if you need help establishing these, talk to a counsellor who can help.
- Educate yourself as much as you can – but stick to reputable websites and information.
- It’s normal to feel frustrated and angry at times, accept this, you are only human.
- Remember, you don’t have to fix it or take all responsibility for helping them. Hugely underrated, sometimes listening is the best thing we can do.
Keep in mind that if things escalate and you become afraid your partner may harm themselves or someone else, do not hesitate – call 000.