The most difficult storms we face are sometimes not just physical ones, but those within our close relationships. When your partner experiences depression or anxiety, it can be very challenging to navigate these issues together. It is important to find ways to help them while also taking care of yourself.
Assuming the role of anchor when all around you is being tossed by a chaotic tide, this can be truly exhausting. But without the right self-care techniques, you too will become adrift in that sea.
Acknowledging these turbulent emotions is the first step towards regaining control, for you and for your partner. Many people feel embarrassed, scared, or ashamed to admit they are struggling with mental wellbeing, but it is essential to start by having an open conversation about it. It is natural to feel powerless in the situation, so being proactive will help you take back ownership.
Having a plan of action in place to tackle the particular issues is essential. Different coping strategies will work for different individuals. It may be helpful to brainstorm what options are available to your partner, offering up advice that has been effective for other people who have had similar experiences. Introduce the idea that it can be beneficial to visit their doctor or therapist so they can begin to work through whatever worries they are facing.
It is inevitable that the journey you’re both on will have ups and downs. You don't have to pretend the emotions and the atmosphere of the relationship haven’t changed; however, it is important not to get lost adding fuel to the fire. The precarious balance between understanding and confronting the issue is one of intense negotiation, both with your partner and also with yourself. It is perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed, but focus on the steps you can take now for improving the situation.
In the midst of this tumult, it is essential to remember self-care and finding time for yourself. Take breaks from the situation and go do something that you love, the same way you would if there were no extra pressures present. If your partner would like to join you in doing a hobby or activity then that can be great - but if they wish to pass on a nice opportunity, don’t pressure them into participating.
Above all, remember that you will get through this together. When the thunder and lightning seem greatest, and the wind is howling around you, stand firm and remember the strength of your partnership. Holding onto hope is the steel rope that ties you both together when the ocean air threatens to pull you apart.
It is tough to navigate the waters of depression and anxiety, but with an open dialogue and strategies in place, it is possible. You and your partner must cultivate a sense of solidarity, even through the roughest of seas, because above the storm clouds, a beautiful new day will come.
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