Talking to Your Partner about Your Illnesses

For those of us with mental illness, navigating relationships is a special type of challenge. Our illnesses are extremely personal. We also tend to keep a lot of it bottled up inside because our battles are internal. This is one reason it’s so difficult to outwardly express ourselves when it comes to mental illness, but open communication is crucial. This is important in any relationship, but it’s especially important to those of us who are mentally ill. This doesn’t mean discussing every single detail of your illness/ therapy sessions, etc.— a supportive partner will understand there may be extremely personal sides to your mental illness that you don’t want to share with them. And if you choose to discuss everything with them, that’s fine too. It’s your decision. What I mean is… if you had a rough day and need time to yourself, say so. If you want affection, say so. If you’re going through something and need extra support, say so. Again, a supportive partner will understand, but they can’t read your mind. Of course it’s a two-way street, and a relationship is all about balance. It’s important that we don’t retreat so far into ourselves that we emotionally neglect our partners while prioritizing ourselves. It’s possible to do both. So communicate openly and transparently, regularly check in with each other, and be honest about your feelings/ expectations.