Mental Health in Relationships: Fights

Alright, another installment of Kori giving relationship advice. If you have anxiety or depression or any other mental health disorders, you know that arguments can be rough. All couples have fights in their relationships, but they can be heightened if one or both partners have a mental health disorder. It is difficult for me to try to explain this but I think it is important for me to touch on. For me, a lot of my “relationships” have been riddled with fights related to or because of my depression or anxiety. It is hard to avoid because it impacts every single part of my life. The smallest little comments can set me off like no other, and unfortunate for whoever I am with, I go off. I will bring up everything that has ever gone bad in my life because its what I do. Most of the arguments I can remember having vividly have started with things that people don’t think are big deals. And they probably shouldn’t be a big deal. However, my depression takes over and my mind will think of the worst outcome and reason why you haven’t texted me back. If you tell me that you can’t see me that night, I will think it is because you actually hate me and no one likes me cause I’m an awful person. That may be true, but it probably isn’t the reason you couldn’t see me that night. But my brain goes to that place always. And it will always cause a fight. Going back and forth with them saying “why are you thinking like that” and “you need to stop this” and “you’re being dramatic”. I usually answer with “because that is how my life has been and always will be” and “everyone will abandon me” and “I’m broken, why would you want me”.  Time and time again, having the same argument every week. Now, it is important to note that most of my relationships have been with individuals who do not suffer from major mental health disorders. I can not speak to those who both have depression or anxiety or such. I understand that it can be difficult to be in a relationship with someone who’s life is this way but here are the things I wish I would have had in my relationships.

  1. Acknowledge their struggles are real. It is the most heartbreaking thing when someone who you truly care about and want to be with doesn’t believe that you are in pain. If you tell them that you believe their struggles and disorders, I promise it will go a long way. Just that will help immensely in the trust and communication of the relationship.
  2. See it from their perspective. Try to put on glasses that allow you to see in their mindset. When you have depression, it can be hard to think rationally sometimes, especially with the people you love. If you understand their point of view on the world and relationship, it may help ease the tensions and problems. Understand their side of the argument, because they probably know yours.
  3. Ask them how you can help them in these situations. I know that when I had arguments in my relationships, I wish that I had communicated better on how we could avoid these fights in the future. Most of the fights started because there wasn’t clear communication between me and them. If I had explained how I felt in a rational manner and asked them to say something differently next time, there probably wouldn’t be as many fights. But when you are in that moment, you can’t think straight so I didn’t say anything. If you ask, it shows that you want to work on the relationship and stand by them through whatever they are going through.

I know that living with a mental health disorder and being in a relationship can be one of the most difficult parts of life. I understand this first hand as I have been through all of this before. It takes a lot of strength on both parts to move past these difficulties to have a healthy relationship. I am working on myself right now so I can’t put these into use right now. However, after my previous relationships, these are the things I wish I had expressed to my partner. If you have any other tips or suggestions to help with fights in relationships, definitely let me know. I would love to have some in my back pocket if the situation ever arises.

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