So you guys know I host a podcast called Balanced Broads with my friend, Sage. On our latest episode, we had our boyfriends on as guests for the first time to discuss how they came to understand and learn to manage our mental illnesses. Sage and I both have anxiety & depression, whereas our boyfriends are both mentally just fine (lucky for them, am I right?). But there’s two sides to every story, so we knew we had to share their perspective…especially because our listeners are so used to ours!
So here’s a few little nuggets of wisdom from our conversation….
⫸ It’s not easy for them, either. Just as tough as it is for us to deal with our struggles, it’s hard for them to watch and basically feel helpless. They want to help and they want to make it better, and until they learn exactly what makes it better for you, specifically, it will be one of the hardest things for them to experience happening to the person they love.
⫸ They will get frustrated. Let’s face it, their minds don’t work like ours. In the episode I joked about how my boyfriend used to just tell me to “think positive thoughts” or to just calm down when I was in the beginning stages of an anxiety attack. In his mind, when he’s starting to feel anxious he is able to just tell himself to calm down and that everything is fine. So why wouldn’t that work for me, too? It took him awhile to understand that just isn’t how my mind works. Think positive thoughts…why haven’t I tried that one before?
⫸ They will take it personally. When our depression hits, even when our lives are going perfectly fine and everything seems to be good, a thought may pass in their mind where they believe it’s their fault. They might think they’re doing something wrong as a partner, or are just not good enough. Even if all signs point to that being false, it’s just normal to doubt yourself, if even for a second.
⫸ If they love you, they will figure it out. Oftentimes, dealing with mental illness is a true test for a relationship. It takes a lot of patience and communication from both partners to navigate its turbulent waters. What they discover at the other end is that your mental illness actually is a part of you. Not an ugly part or a shameful part, just a part…as much as your leg or your compassion for animals. And they will come to understand it and tolerate it, just as you do.
It was nice to have an open conversation with our boyfriends…on a podcast that we release for hundreds of strangers to listen to. It made me realize that while we always talk about how my anxiety or depression is, we don’t really talk about his side of the whole ordeal. I’m lucky where he puts the focus on me in that moment, but I’ve realized that there is kinda two sides to this thing.
Just as much as we have to deal with our mental health…so do they.
Tune in to Balanced Broads‘ episode 17 “Home Alone 3” to hear the rest of the enlightening conversation…and also why the episode is titled after a Christmas sequel. Byeeeee!