You've got a friend in me: supporting yourself and others

I would definitely agree that visiting psychological services is an important step to recovery. However, in our case, it probably would have helped to have communicated more prior to the appointment, about how to proceed afterwards. 2. Overstepping boundaries Sharing a life with someone with mental health problems can be an overwhelming experience, especially as you are likely to become your partner’s pillar of support. In my case, I tried to do things that were beyond my capabilities in order to provide support, to the point that it was affecting my mental health as well. Suffering from depression, my partner’s social life was almost non-existent, and there was limited support from their family, as they were an international student. I felt a sense of responsibility, as the loved one, to do everything I can do to help, but on many occasions, the time periods that they would become stressed would be the same as my own, both being university students (exam periods, new academic year, applying for internships/jobs, etc.). In addition, my lack of expertise as a ‘therapist’ only added to the struggle, causing me to question whether I was doing the right thing for them. I found that open communication was really important, and in a relationship one person’s mental health isn’t more important than the other person’s. Sometimes it’s important to just be there for one another, and not try to fix the situation. 3. Not having enough empathy towards my partner and his/her experience What would you do if your partner is rejecting therapy? This was the question that made me commit the biggest mistake: being frustrated rather than being empathetic. I thought that doing something was definitely better than doing nothing at all, and thus I had tried to impose that on my partner, instead of communicating a lot more with my partner to find out how the condition has manifested in their life, and why they are reluctant to receive therapy. It’s really easy to impose your idea and thoughts to your partner ‘for their own good’, even though in reality that could have the opposite, or even adverse effects on them. This made me realise that you have to be very patient and understanding when facing mental health problems. In conclusion, it can be upsetting and difficult to find out the ‘right thing’ to do to support your significant other. I’ve certainly felt on many occasions that I’ve made ‘mistakes’ along the way. However, she often told me that she was glad to have me close by in this fight, and in retrospect, that’s probably what matters the most.

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