How To Be A Good SO To Someone Dealing With Mental Illness.
Start writing a post

How To Be A Good SO To Someone Dealing With Mental Illness.

Loving someone can be easy, not letting mental illness get in the way is a lot harder.

Selfie of boy and girl
Source: Renee Pabalate

I knew before my boyfriend and I started dating that he was dealing with serious anxiety. He was extremely open about his struggles from the very start, and we still often have conversations on how he's dealing with it day-to-day. Throughout the time we've been together, I've strived to make sure I'm being a good significant other not only in just everyday things but also in how I help and face his issues alongside him. I'm far from perfect, and every case is different I know, but here are some things I've learned from my own experiences that I feel have improved our approach to it.

The first and most important thing I've learned is to never think you can be the solution or the end to the struggle. I knew this early on and so do many others, but there are still cases where people will invalidate their relationships because their SO is still dealing with mental illness. It can be easy to think this way but try not to let yourself fall into this trap that mental illness can set within relationships and fight it by creating understanding instead. To have a better understanding of mental illness, you need to know and always keep in mind that there isn't always a solution, or it isn't as easy as just being with someone who makes you happy. Mental illness is deep-seated, it can show up when people least expect it, and can sometimes overwhelm the happiest moments of your life. Accept that you cannot strive or aim to heal them perfectly just by being their SO, sometimes mental illness just doesn't care.

You can still be open to helping them however possible, as it is an important aspect of making the relationship work, but know the limits. Instead of trying to get rid of the mental illness in one sitting work on finding things that help your SO feel less anxious or depressed, whether it be helping them find a therapist that suits their needs, finding activities that make them feel fulfilled, or just being there to talk.

On a more serious note, make sure to at least try to ask your SO how to deal with episodes, like anxiety attacks or bouts of depression. Knowing for certain how I can help my SO has helped us both a lot in being more comfortable and at ease if an anxiety attack were to happen, or even when his anxiety just pops up in smaller ways.

Keeping that in mind always try to help your SO to the best of your ability, but be able to acknowledge your limitations. If you are not a licensed psychiatrist or therapist never try to diagnose them or give them advice regarding medication, treatment, etc. Sometimes, people think that looking up issues or taking a couple of psych classes gives them the right to diagnose or tell people what to do and this is extremely dangerous. As much as you love your SO, if you cannot help them with certain issues, it is always safer and better to refer them to an educated and experienced medical professional who can.

Mental illness is not an easy topic, and it certainly is not painless for those struggling with it. Mental illnesses can take on so many different faces and names, but when it is your SO dealing with it, you have to learn to accept it and work with it. Being there for someone can seem easy when you care about them, but mental illness can make it feel like a struggle or a true challenge. When or if it does feel that way, always make sure to remember the person you love beyond the illness, the SO who is always there for you, and be there for them in whatever way you can.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments