There’s no denying that part of your commitment to marrying someone means that you’re willing to support them through the good times and the bad ones. But what happens if a spouse seems to go through more bad times than good?
Have you found that, over the years, their mental health has significantly declined and has reached the point where it is impacting your marriage negatively?
If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Mental health problems affect many people across the country, yet those experiencing them feel stigmatized and are reluctant to get help.
With that in mind, if your spouse is finding it hard facing up to their mental health demons, here are a few things you can consider to help them on their journey to self-betterment:
Help Them Get A Diagnosis
If your spouse has not had a mental health disorder diagnosis, the first step to help them get better is by having a medical professional diagnose their condition.
It might seem like a small step to you, but it’s almost certainly a significant one for your spouse. Remember that they should feel ready to take that first step; don’t force them into it or give them any ultimatum (i.e., “get a diagnosis or our marriage is over”).
Acknowledge Positive Changes
One of the top ways to support a spouse with mental health problems is by acknowledging when they are making positive changes in their lives.
For example, you can tell them how proud you are of them by taking the first step to getting a diagnosis from their doctor – and continually reinforcing that.
Always highlight when there are positive changes, such as better moods, willingness to participate in family activities, and so forth.
Don’t Become Their Therapist
You need to set clear boundaries; you are their spouse, not their therapist. Even if you’re a therapist, they need to get help from another therapist – and they should take ownership of their treatment plan while you provide love and support.
Help them choose the right treatment option, such as counseling or spending some time at a behavioral health residential facility. Never assume the role of a therapist.
Look After Yourself
As you probably know by now, supporting a spouse with a mental health disorder or condition can profoundly impact your own well-being. That’s why it’s essential to take care of yourself and ensure that your well-being needs get met simultaneously.
That means ensuring you have plenty of restful sleep, spending lots of time doing things you love, like socializing with friends and family or participating in your favorite pastimes and hobbies.
Don’t Abandon Your Spouse
One final point to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t just abandon your spouse if you feel that things aren’t getting any better. They are having a tough time, and they don’t want to feel like they do.
If you’re both struggling, ensure that you speak to the right mental health professionals for advice and support and devise a plan of action that suits both of you.