Living with a spouse with mental illness is not something that many people envision for themselves upon getting married. However, millions of married couples experience mental illness in their relationships, which can be extremely taxing and overwhelming for both individuals involved.
One study from the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that those who have a mental illness are more likely to subconsciously seek out partners with similar mental health challenges. This serves as one of the reasons why mental illness can occur in marriages, however it is certainly not the only one. Regardless of how and why your spouse is dealing with a mental illness, it can be very challenging to cope with and create serious issues within your relationship if neglected.
Does My Spouse Have a Mental Illness?
When things start going wrong in a marriage, a number of things can come to a spouse’s mind. They might think their spouse is too stressed from work or is doing something more deceptive like having an affair. But, for many couples, mental illness is what ends up impacting their relationship.
It is not always easy to pinpoint exactly what is going on with your spouse, but being aware of what some of the signs of mental illness are can help answer some of your potential questions. If you are living with a spouse with mental illness, they are likely to be exhibiting the following symptoms:
- Changes in sleep patterns (i.e. sleeping too much or suffering from insomnia)
- Changes in eating habits (i.e. overeating, not eating at all, not eating enough, or not eating healthy)
- Extreme mood swings that are unexplainable
- Pervasive sadness and feelings of hopelessness
- Social isolation
- Decreased sex drive
- Expressing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting suicidal behaviors
If you feel like your spouse is potentially experiencing a mental illness, it can be helpful to try to speak with them about it. Do so in a non-judgmental tone and be sure to offer your help if they decide to see a professional.
Living With a Spouse With Mental Illness: How to Cope
Whether treatment is being obtained or not, living with a spouse with mental illness can be difficult. That is because most mental illnesses are complex and require a great deal of coping skills to properly manage. Those who actively see a professional for their mental illness are more likely to have an easier time coping with their condition than those who do not. The same applies for you — coping with your spouse with mental illness can be easier or more difficult based on the level of care they are getting.
So, if you are living with a spouse with mental illness, regardless of if they are being treated or not, what are some ways that you can cope?
Learn About Their Mental Illness
The more information you have about your spouse’s mental illness, the better you can understand what they are experiencing. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of a mental illness, causing you to begin developing resentments. However, taking the time to learn about the mental illness your spouse is experiencing can make everything a little easier. You can do this by looking at scholarly articles online, reading books, and even reaching out to your healthcare providers for more information.
Seek Help For Yourself
It might sound backwards, but living with a spouse with mental illness is one of the best reasons to seek help for yourself. Even if your spouse is doing all of the things that they need to in order to be in control of their mental illness, having a healthcare professional that is able to help you address your challenges in relation to your marriage can be a huge benefit to you. You can also seek help by going to local community support groups, which can offer you a group of individuals who can relate to your situation. Having that type of support can make a huge difference when living with a spouse with mental illness.
Practice Good Communication
Mental illness can make even the simplest things convoluted. Communicating with your spouse with a mental illness may be more challenging than if you were to communicate with someone who does not have a mental illness. This is normal and can be expected, but that is even more reason to practice good communication among one another. With good communication, you and your spouse can maintain compassion and respect for one another, even when the ugly side of mental illness comes out.
While living with a spouse with mental illness, it is imperative to not only follow these guidelines, but to also ensure that you are doing things that you enjoy, making yourself a priority when it comes to caring for yourself, and practice expanding upon your patience as you both work through this time in your lives.
Treatment for Mental Illness in Tennessee
If you and your spouse are experiencing mental illness in your relationship, seeking help can be the best option for you both. At Arbor Treatment Center, our team is dedicated to work with both individuals in the marriage so that everyone can benefit from the care that we can provide.
You do not need to go through this alone. Learn more about how we can help you by visiting our website or by calling us right now at 866-771-1649. We are here to help and support you and your spouse so that you both can start living the life you dreamed for yourselves.