As we experience mental illness and disorders, we start to become more aware of their symptoms and signs. We are more acute to the signals of how they can begin to surface. We see them more clearly in others as our senses have become so much more aware. Of course, it’s possible to be too assuming and jump to conclusions. We can see someone’s night of restlessness and jump to the conclusion that they are experiencing anxiety as we experienced the same thing. It can give us a sense of paranoia as we not just scared about it manifesting itself in us again, but also in the people around us. The very signs of it can be alarming for us, so we jump at every chance to head it off when we can. There is more to be said about this fear and allowing yourself to let it go. We have touched on it before in earlier articles but we will repeat it once here: don’t be afraid of the signs and things that remind you of your disorder. What we want to talk about today is how we feel when we see the symptoms we have trained ourselves to watch out for in the person we love. 

Mental illnesses are rough, and they create a certain way of living that can be more taxing than usual. Often, a person with a mental disorder is in need of very specific support and help when they are in an episode or instance of a flare-up. This means they need someone who is outside of that world, someone who can stay calm and be there for them, helping them utilize the tools they need to get through it. But when that person has their own examples or signs of mental illness, there can be fear that comes with that. We have all been involved with other people who are suffering from things like us. As we go through recovery, we meet all kinds of different people who have different styles of coping. This can create a sort of butting of heads, as many people feel very strongly about how they approach mental disorders. There is validity to all of them but that doesn’t change someone from truly believing in their methods. As similar as we may be, there can be a clashing between us and someone with our same disorder. For various reasons, we can find it difficult to connect and be with another person like us. So when we see our partner exhibiting signs, we can begin to worry. What kind of strain will this put on our relationship? How will it impact it? Is it going to cause the relationship to crumble? A lot of us don’t want to necessarily be romantically-involved with someone who has a condition like ours. That is neither wrong nor right; you are entitled to pursue whatever kind of relationship you want to pursue. 

 

Making a Relationship with Another Person Who Has a Disorder Work

But we do want to tell you that it can be fine if two people in a relationship both struggle with some kind of disorder. It doesn’t have to mean that the relationship will fall apart. You can make it work and it can even be healthy. As long as both people are aware of what the other needs and doesn’t try to control the attention, then it can work just fine. As with anything, it all depends on your ability to understand and accept the other person for who they are, and ensuring that they are doing the same for you. While your illnesses and conditions can certainly change things, it really is about approaching it in the same way. Both partners can feel supported in the relationship and like their feelings are heard. It is easy for us to assume that it will be a mess of conflicting mindsets and coping mechanisms, but they can work together as long we maintain the right methods. 

As we have said before, mental illness doesn’t have to completely change everything in your life, and that extends into your relationships when both partners are struggling with one. You can and should use that similarity to form an even deeper bond. Understand what each person needs and be there for each other. Worrying or stressing about it isn’t worth the time. You can manage it without any more difficulty than normal. If you truly care about each other then that really is all that matters, as cliche and cheesy as that may sound. We want you to be able to exercise your power over your disorder and not allowing it to erode your relationship is one such way you can do that. In the end, you have control over how it affects you and your partner, and you don’t have to let it ruin something good. Just stay true to yourself and your loved one, and everything will be fine. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness,

do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery at (866) 399-6528.