Here’s How You Can Help Your Partner With Their Mental Health


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Health

It doesn’t have to be something huge to make a
difference.

We asked members of the
BuzzFeed Community to
share little ways their partners have
helped them with their mental health. Here’s
what they had to say:

Keep in mind that while you could
potentially do a lot to help your partner
through the tough times and maybe even help
manage their symptoms, mental health is
incredibly complex. Be sure to reach out to a
professional if you or a loved one could
benefit from it.

ID: 10523525

1. Make
them feel safe and heard.

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NBC

“My partner does a great job of reminding me
that I’m loved and that I’m important. He makes
it clear that I can come to him about anything,
no matter what I’m struggling with. And even if
I can’t go to him right at that moment, it’s
very comforting knowing I can go to him at
all.”

—alexandriam40d14a271

ID: 10523333

2. Take
classes that will help you understand what your
partner is going through.

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“The best thing my partner did for me when I
got diagnosed was ask questions and sign up for
classes at his work that discussed anxiety
disorders and depression. I know it’s difficult
for significant others because they can feel
frustrated and powerless when they don’t know
how to help. But my partner began to realize
that he couldn’t understand exactly what was
going on inside of my head all the time
(neither can I), and even better than that, he
accepted that that was okay.”

—alexandrad4d4d77c68

ID: 10523434

3. Help
them do the things you know they really
struggle with.

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“My boyfriend will always order at restaurants
for me because he knows how anxious it makes
me”

—mackenzief42719fb7e

ID: 10523391

4.
Deliver their favorite foods to them when you
know they’re having a shit day.

Deliver their favorite foods to them when you know they're having a shit day.

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“When my boyfriend can tell I’m a bit cloudy,
he’ll sit down next to me and cuddle up, then
whispers, ‘I ordered you a blizzard.’ Not only
does ice cream always help, but the fact that I
don’t even need to say a word and he’s working
to cheer me up makes me smile instantly.”

—tammielynnf

ID: 10523313

5. Remind
them to take their medications and schedule
therapy appointments.

Remind them to take their medications and schedule therapy appointments.

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“My girlfriend is extremely supportive and
understanding, which is all I could ever ask
for. She remembers the small things that I
can’t, reminding me to take my medications and
schedule therapy appointments. She makes me
feel safe when I’m anxious. Having a loving
partner will never change that, but with her, I
feel comfortable to be anxious.”

—kyrac4ec3bc38e

ID: 10523508

6. Leave
them sweet voicemails that they can listen to
on those stressful days.

Leave them sweet voicemails that they can listen to on those stressful days.

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“My girlfriend will leave a message for me
while I’m at work, saying she loves me or that
she hopes I’ve had a good day. Work stresses me
out, but those little messages make me a lot
more relaxed and calm when I read them at
night.”

—alexd41e3d2eb2

ID: 10523375

7. Help
them get things done around the house when
they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Help them get things done around the house when they're feeling overwhelmed.

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“I have an incredibly stressful and demanding
job that requires me to work 10 hours a day and
commute two hours a day. Since my boyfriend
lives with me and has more free time, he gets
up early to help me pack my lunch and is always
cleaning up after our kitty and taking out the
trash. He knows my time is limited, so he
always tries to make life at home easy on me.
It definitely makes me breathe easier knowing
I’ve got him there.”

—sbdoesadulting

ID: 10523491

8. Help
them feel beautiful when they’re having trouble
remembering how.

Help them feel beautiful when they're having trouble remembering how.

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“I have systemic lupus, which manifested itself
in my kidneys. My treatment included
chemotherapy, which made me gain 30 pounds of
water weight in about 15 days. I developed
horrible stretch marks all over my abdomen and
back. Seeing my body go through such a drastic
change and having to deal with the weight gain,
then trying to lose it all again, took a huge
toll on my mental health.

Through it all, my boyfriend never failed to
make me feel beautiful. He was so supportive.
He bought me every oil, body butter, and lotion
he thought would help my stretch marks and gave
me so much positive reinforcement when I was
going through a really tough time in my life.”

—camarinc

ID: 10523426

9. Let
them vent when they need it and really, truly
listen.

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“When I’m really stressed or crying, my
boyfriend just lets me vent and cry and holds
me until I’m ready to talk. And sometimes, he
takes me out to eat Chinese food, even though
he originally hated it (but now he loves it!)”

—heloisacmg

ID: 10523318

10.
Celebrate all their little victories with them
and let them know how proud you are.

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“My partner doesn’t understand depression or
anxiety at all (and that’s okay, I wish more
people would realize that). But he tries his
hardest to listen, motivate, help, and love me.
He understands that I don’t need to be told
what I can/should do to ‘fix’ myself. He
celebrates all of my victories, from taking my
pills, to eating in public by myself.”

—brennanicoleu

ID: 10523338

11. Give
them a really tight hug when words won’t
suffice.

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FOX

“The best thing is a hug. And I mean a really
tight hug. It’s still one of the best things my
boyfriend does to help with my panic attacks
and general anxiety.”

—elisenower

ID: 10523424

13. Sing
to them and try to calm them until the pain
starts to fade away.

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“I have pretty difficult gender dysphoria and
anxiety issues that I deal with on a regular
basis. When I’m in a really stressful
situation, my girlfriend will wrap me in a
blanket, make sure I’m safe and warm, and hold
me and sing to me until it passes. Her voice
calms me down like nothing else does.”

—butwhyisallthecoffeegone

ID: 10523519

14. Try to
get them to laugh when you can tell they’re
struggling.

“My boyfriend helps me get out of negative
mindsets by distracting me. When I’m having an
anxiety attack, he does funny accents to make me
laugh. When I’m catastrophizing, he asks me to
plan a dream vacation. When I’m depressed, he
sends me photos of cute dogs.”

—rachaelt45443c068

ID: 10523412

15. Tell
them that it’s okay to say no when they have
too much on their plate.

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“I had become the go-to girl in my department
because I was super eager to please and said
yes to almost everything. One day after work, I
mentioned to my partner that a coworker had
asked me to cover an assignment for them, and I
was dreading doing it. He replied, ‘So say no
if you don’t want to do it and it’s stressing
you out so much. It’s their problem, and their
responsibility, not yours.’ I had literally
never been told it was okay to say no to
something before. It was the most illuminating
moment of my personal and professional life.”

—Emily Mason, Facebook

ID: 10519013

16. Help
them get their mind off things and bring them
back to the moment.

Help them get their mind off things and bring them back to the moment.

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“If I’ve had an anxious day, my partner will
take me outside and encourage me to breathe
deeply and watch the sunset. Having someone
that helps bring you back in to the present
moment is really great.”

—laurag4ae299ac9

ID: 10538703

17. Make
them feel special by showing them you remember
the little things about them.

Make them feel special by showing them you remember the little things about them.

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“I have fibromyalgia and sometimes the pain and
soreness makes it nearly impossible to do more
than go to work. On one bad pain day, my
boyfriend came over right after work bringing a
super plush blanket and food with him. He made
hamburgers on the grill, took care of my dogs,
and made sure I didn’t have to get up all
evening. He even brought my favorite chips!”

—lizw42dc3f80d

ID: 10523354

18. Take
them to a quiet, safe place and assure them
it’ll be okay when they have a panic attack.

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FOX

“My partner always makes sure to get me to a
quiet corner somewhere if I’m having a panic
attack. He’ll sit and rub my back until I feel
a little bit better and then he starts naming
all the things he loves about me.”

—achamberlain12

ID: 10523476

19. Find
ways to be supportive of their recovery in any
way possible.

Find ways to be supportive of their recovery in any way possible.

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“I have struggled with anorexia and bulimia for
most of my life. When my then fiance, now
husband, found out how badly I was struggling
at the time, he plastered our kitchen with
photos of everything that makes me happy,
namely our kids and extended family. He also
blacked out the nutrition labels with a Sharpie
on every single item of food we owned. I went
to inpatient treatment shortly after, and
having those little reminders of how very much
my recovery meant to my partner was the
motivation I needed to stay well when I got
home.”

—kayleee4bc76a8c5

ID: 10523401

20.
Practice coping skills with them.

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“My partner has taught me the importance of
coping and how to use coping skills for myself
during times of need. Whenever I’m struggling
through panic attacks, major depression, PTSD
triggers, or overstimulation, I think back to
the mantras that they made up specifically for
me, such as, ‘Getting over this is easier than
jumping over the moon,’ and I can imagine them
saying it to me. It immediately makes the
situation better and makes me happier just
thinking about them. It’s a little thing, but
it really helps.”

—Caedyn Bushay, Facebook

ID: 10519043

21. Don’t
focus on fixing their problems, just try to
help them feel better.

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“Instead of telling me how to fix my problem,
my partner asks what he could to make me feel
better.”

—fayew42793c542

ID: 10523481

22.
Remind them how wonderful and capable they are.

View this image ›

“I have anxiety and depression. I constantly
panic about being a terrible wife, and thinking
that one day my husband will find someone
better and leave me. Whenever this happens he
looks me in the eyes, holds me close, and
reminds me how much he loves me and that I am a
good wife.”

—Katie Ruiz-Leon, Facebook

ID: 10519016

23. And,
above all, make sure they know they’re loved.

And, above all, make sure they know they're loved.

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“I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for as
long as I can remember, including suicidal
thoughts. All of these negative feelings led me
to turn to self-harm and alcohol to escape.
Rather than being scared, angry, or trying to
shame me into stopping, my partner stood by me
and loved me anyway. He showed me through his
actions that I was worth loving, even at my
very lowest. I went from seeing myself as a
lost cause, to respecting myself enough to get
help. Now, whenever I’m having a bad day, I
openly tell him and he listens and tells me how
much he loves me.”

—Julia Clark, Facebook

ID: 10519008

Note: Submissions have been edited for
length and/or clarity.

ID: 10523528

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ID: 10523529

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Tagged:relationships,
anxiety, bipolar
disorder, depression, marriage, medications,
mental health, therapy

 

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