Relationships can already be complex on their own but add mental health issues to the mix, and it can be even more tricky to navigate—especially if you don’t understand what’s happening or how you should be dealing with it.
Whether you, your partner or both of you are currently struggling with anxiety and depression, Robin Bryant, Ph.D. is here to help with individual psychotherapy and relationship therapy as well.
If you haven’t yet been able to reach out and schedule an appointment, here are a few tips to help you in the meanwhile.
Understand How Anxiety and Depression Works and How They Can Affect the Relationship
Sometimes, it really isn’t you—it’s your partner’s mental health. Learning the basics about mental health issues like anxiety and depression can significantly help your understanding of your partner and what they may be dealing with, so you can better support them. Anxiety and depression are debilitating mental health problems that prevent people from everyday functioning, and that means it could have an impact on your life as a couple.
Anxiety can make those affected experience high levels of stress and fight-or-flight reactions to issues that aren’t life-threatening or not even pressing for that matter, and an array of other symptoms. This could express itself in the relationship as either codependent or avoidant behavior, and your partner could experience moments where they feel irrationally worried that you’ll cheat on them or leave.
Depression can make those affected experience extreme sadness, lack of hope and motivation and a negative sense of self, and much more. It can be painful to watch the person you love to experience such darkness and negativity. This can put a strain on the relationship as you might feel consumed with trying to help your partner feel better and forget about yourself.
Robin Bryant, Ph.D. will help both you and your significant other better understand these mental health issues and then teach you the appropriate coping skills.
Manage Your Reactions Towards Your Partner’s Anxiety and Depression
When your partner is expressing themselves to you about what they’re feeling due to their mental health, it is all too easy to take it personally, when it has nothing to do with you or the relationship. Do your best to avoid getting defensive or being passive-aggressive as this could prevent your significant other from continuing to open up to you about their feelings. This isn’t to say that you should allow your partner to say emotionally abusive things, and Dr. Bryant will teach you the difference during our sessions together.
Instead of going on the defense, which is counterproductive for you and your partner, try and take a step back, breathe, and respond with something compassionate and validating. Remember how they are feeling. Their mental health is not about you! Remind yourself that anxiety and depression aren’t related to you and shift the way you approach the conversation.
Make Sure to Set Healthy Boundaries with Each Other
As much as you always want to be there for your significant other when they’re struggling, it is not good for either of you to betray your boundaries and overcompensate as an attempt to be “the savior.” This is not to say that you can’t be there for your partner. On the contrary, Dr. Bryant will go over the proper ways to offer support when someone you love is dealing with these mental health issues.
Just be sure you aren’t entirely neglecting and draining yourself trying to be there for your partner and be vocal about the things you won’t stand for if they are exhibiting unacceptable behavior. Establishing boundaries is extremely important for every relationship, and Robin Bryant Ph.D. will help you do so if you haven’t already.
Always Acknowledge Progress
If someone is living with anxiety and depression and doesn’t really understand or know how to manage it just yet, chances are they may be going through a tough time. When you begin your sessions, be sure to pay attention to when your partner starts making steps in the right direction—even if it’s something small.
Positive reinforcement for the little things as well as the big things will help your significant other continue to work towards being better. And if they haven’t been feeling too great about themselves, being told they’re doing good is a big deal, and they need to hear it as much as possible!
Actively Listen and Openly Communicate
This goes for just about any interpersonal relationship, but active listening and open communication are an absolute must. Take the time to listen to your partner without jumping to respond, and they will feel heard. Talk openly and honestly when it is your turn, and they’ll be encouraged to the same. Dr. Bryant will teach you the best communication tips and tricks, so you can express yourself without being hurtful, and speak from the heart.
Do Self-Care and Mental Health Rituals Together
If there is something specific that helps your partner feel better when they’re struggling with their anxiety and depression, it could be extremely beneficial to the relationship to do these hobbies and activities together.
Not only is this quality time spent in each other’s company, but if your significant other feels better during these times, you’ll undoubtedly be associated with the good. It can deepen your relationship and create a tighter-knit bond than ever before.
Just make sure that the activity of choice is a healthy one that would count as self-care. Fitness and creative work are great options, but there are many other things to choose from.
How Robin Bryant, Ph.D. Can Help You Deal with Anxiety and Depression
Whether you’d like to deal with your mental health issues in a personal or interpersonal setting, Dr. Bryant offers individual psychotherapy as well as couples’ therapy that can greatly improve you and your partner’s quality of life.
Rest assured, anxiety and depression are both treatable and manageable, and Robin Bryant, Ph.D. can help you learn to better deal with them in your relationship as well as your personal daily life.