How Would You Deal With Mental Illness In A Marriage?

Posted: June 7, 2014

How should one deal with a partner’s mental illness? This insightful article has thoughtful suggestions on dealing with tricky times.

If 1 in 4 people in the world will suffer from some form of mental illness, it impacts every 4th couple in this world, if not more.

Hopefully, this will be reason enough for society to look at the subject of mental illnesses a lot more seriously. Yes, relationships fail irrespective of illnesses. But they also do fail because of ignorance (deliberate or otherwise) towards the subject of mental illnesses. If only we could look at someone suffering from a mental illness as just another patient.

In no way do any of my posts mean to make myself and others like me sound like victims. A person with diabetes or high blood pressure is not regarded as a victim. Similarly, neither should someone with depression or schizophrenia. All one is trying to do is spread awareness, put forth a different perspective and let the reader ponder over a few facts.

Empathy evaporates

A diabetes patient needs to be careful with their diet, stress levels, medication, and certain other lifestyle choices. Haven’t we seen partners support each other through this? There is empathy from every concerned party. In such cases, abandonment of the patient by his/her partner is frowned upon by the society. The same society insists a man/woman leave her partner in case they are diagnosed with a mental illness. Why?

Be thoughtful: replace the word ‘depression’ in any situation with the word ‘diabetes’ before displaying any strong reaction(s).

To disclose or not to disclose?

Disclosure is tricky business  There is, of course, no simple answer to the question. Disclose, and you run the risk of being rejected straight off. Who wants a mentally troubled partner in this already troubled life? Yes, this could happen with disclosure of any kind of illness. When you disclose, you are giving someone ammunition. Do not disclose, and I believe the risk is bigger.

When you disclose, you are giving someone ammunition. Do not disclose, and I believe the risk is bigger.

It is important for those with a mental illness to be understood. Not being understood definitely makes things worse. And most importantly, we deserve to be with someone who will love us as a whole. Right?

Rise of the lonely

Statistics say 90 per cent of marriages in which one partner is suffering from Bipolar Disorder end in divorce. That is 5.7 million people on earth. In the earlier ages, those with a mental illness like Bipolar Disorder were termed as ‘difficult partners’, and life still went on. Today with diagnoses and names to every condition, it is easier for us to walk out of a difficult relationship without anyone raising an eyebrow. True? Please think about it.

Pic credt: Melvin_Es (Used under a CC license)

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