Mental Health and Relationships

Mental Health and Relationships

The state of our mental health and ability to cope when things get rough can play a big role in the way we show up in our relationships. Experiencing periods of poor mental health is mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing. It’s no wonder that it can affect us so profoundly.

It’s frustrating to struggle with your own thoughts and emotions. It feels even more defeating when you can’t always show up for your relationship the way you want to.

Don’t lose hope. You are not alone in your struggles. Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are incredibly common. Becoming aware of the challenges our mental health can place on our partners and employing coping strategies can lead to healthy, fulfilling relationships.

How Does Mental Health Affect Relationships?

Conflict is an inevitable part of relationships. There are no two people on earth who could come together and never experience some sort of disagreement or argument. Mental health struggles, depending on the severity, can add a layer of complexity.

Whether or not you’re the one struggling, disorders like anxiety and depression affect both people. Below are just a few ways the darker side of mental health might be making a mark on your relationship.

Keep in mind that not all problems are a result of mental health. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you are still worthy of a healthy, supportive relationship. Communication, mutual respect, and seeking treatment will also play a role in the way that mental health will affect relationships.

Taking responsibility for our mental wellbeing and engaging in therapy when it’s needed can greatly benefit relationships by helping us get to the root of the issue, improving communication, and coming up with personalized solutions.  

Untreated mental health issues often get worse with time. If you’re aware that your mental health creating a rift in your relationships, you deserve support. Never be afraid or ashamed to reach out for help.

Shame, Insecurity, and Resentment

When we’re in a mentally bad place, we often experience emotional blind spots. Our thoughts become skewed and we can’t think or react from an emotionally sound place. This lack of perspective is frustrating, and we end up feeling insecure and shameful as a result.

Struggling to keep up with stuff like daily house chores, self-care, and socializing can leave you feeling defeated and burdensome. Without communication and compromise, this can create a vicious cycle of shame and resentment.

Codependency

If our anxiety or depression is severe, it’s possible to adapt negative behaviors within our relationship. Becoming overly reliant on our partner to fix our issues, denying our own needs, and problems communicating those needs just to name a few.

If these behaviors aren’t addressed properly, it continues and presents itself as codependency. Codependent behaviors increase the risk of abuse, manipulation, and can worsen our mental health.

Lack of Intimacy

It’s important to understand that intimacy isn’t just physical, but emotional too. The level of intimacy in a relationship determines the depth at which we can express ourselves and be vulnerable. Mental health has a close relationship with intimacy and the way we show up physically and emotionally.

If our mental health is especially struggling, it can be hard to feel safe within our bodies, let alone with another person. Low self-esteem and fear of vulnerability can cause you to become physically and emotionally unavailable.

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Wondering what to do when your mental health is affecting your relationship? Mental health struggles don’t mean you’re incapable of healthy and strong relationships. Every relationship comes with its own unique set of obstacles and compromises.

In fact, being in a supportive, healthy relationship can have healing effects on the person struggling. It can be helpful on our mental health journey to have someone who is willing to understand our struggles and create a safe space to heal.

Seeking help for our mental health should be a priority. If you’re looking for a therapist, we have a team of counselors in Flower Mound and Southlake who are committed to your healing.

Set Boundaries

A great deal of relationship problems are caused by a lack of communication. Relationships aren’t simple. Setting expectations early on can help avoid a lot of confusion and feelings of disrespect.

Develop a mutually agreed upon protocol during a mental health crisis. Be clear and approach with mutual trust and respect.

Maintain Self-Care

Anxiety and depression can have a direct effect on our self-worth. In a relationship, codependency can develop as a result. To combat this, it’s important to maintain a sense of individuality.

Imagine the result of caring for someone else and never caring for ourselves first. Mental health struggles are often a team effort, but we must be an active participant in our healing journey.

Maintain a self-care routine and embrace your independence. This can help you avoid unnecessary stress and ensures balance within the relationship. 

Develop a Support Plan

One of the ways mental health can be strenuous on a relationship is when we expect them to be our only source of support. While our partners can be really supportive and helpful, we can’t expect them to be our healers.

Developing our own coping skills, enlisting friends and family for support, and getting therapy when it’s needed takes a lot of pressure off of the relationship.

Seeking Therapy

As always, our team of counselors and psychiatrists are dedicated to solution-based therapy and want to see you thrive in your relationships and life in general. You can find us in Flower Mound and Southlake, TX, providing expert, compassionate care.

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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