Relationships can be tricky sometimes, no matter who you are. Some mental health conditions can make it even harder to nurture the bonds that help us live our happiest, healthiest lives.
If you or a loved one struggle with symptoms like anxiety or panic attacks, or post-traumatic stress, here are some things you can do to help your relationship be a source of strength for both of you.
Be a caring listener. Let the other person share what’s going on in their lives without correcting or criticizing. Reassure them, but don’t minimize their worries or tell them they’re overreacting.
Celebrate small wins. Acknowledge positive steps, no matter how minor they may seem. Made it through a crowded grocery store without overwhelming anxiety? High five. Survived a dreaded work party? That’s big!
Keep some things to yourself. Your friend or loved one’s mental health symptoms may make you feel annoyed or angry at times. That’s normal. Just remember that their symptoms are not their fault. Acting judgmental or upset could lead your friend to isolate themself further.
Set and respect boundaries. Keeping your frustration under wraps doesn’t mean your feelings or needs don’t matter. If you have plans you’re excited about, and your loved one isn’t up for it, go anyway. Set personal boundaries too. For example, let them know you can’t answer their calls while you’re at work or after a certain time at night.
Learn about the condition. Treatment can be a key part of managing a mental health condition. Yet many barriers can stand in the way of access to treatment. For people with panic attacks or PTSD symptoms, Freespira is a medication-free option that’s proven to relieve symptoms with just one month of treatment.
Take care of yourself. Being there for someone else can be a lot. Make sure you take time to focus on yourself and your priorities too. That could mean hobbies, exercise, getting enough sleep, or spending time with other friends.
Ups and downs are part of life. And mental health issues can be demanding. But supporting loved ones benefits everyone involved. When you approach challenges with kindness, patience, and empathy, your relationship can emerge stronger than before.