If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you know how isolated these disorders can make you feel. With anxiety, you are overwhelmed with worries and fears that control you. Depression makes it hard to do even simple, everyday tasks. These problems are difficult enough if you are single, but when you are in a relationship, it can sometimes be even harder.
Depending on how long you’ve been together as a couple, you may still be struggling with opening up about your illness. Or it may still be difficult to communicate your needs when you are having an anxiety attack or feel the onset of depression.
You just know how debilitating the episodes make you feel, and how they affect you. A couple’s counselor such as myself can help you both learn how to handle these disorders and navigate those moments they intensify.
Anxiety can be triggered by certain stimuli and can manifest in different ways. One half of a couple I have worked with had terrible social anxiety, which was made worse in large groups. Her partner had a job which put both of them in frequent social situations – parties were a nightmare for Sara.
Luke knew she didn’t feel comfortable at the events, but thought it was because she didn’t know anyone. He never understood why she would often try to slip off into the restroom or suddenly become ill and need to leave.
During therapy, it was established that Sara’s anxiety was making her feel overwhelmed and causing physical symptoms, such as stomach upset.
Anxiety is real, even if your partner may not think so. You may not have even been properly diagnosed by someone as having anxiety, you just know how it cripples you. Sometimes, it is a matter of hearing a therapist not only tell you, but your partner as well, so you both can work on the illness together.
Depression can be just as disruptive on your relationship, not just with your spouse or partner, but with all of your relationships. When you are not feeling like getting out of bed or even brushing your teeth, it is hard to want to focus on your partner, or even be present in your relationship.
Therapy can help you talk about how you feel and learn how to communicate with your partner so they will understand how to help you when you are having a particularly low episode. People often think those suffering from depression have a choice in their moods. As if someone wants to be depressed!
By attending couples therapy, you can have a safe place to express what you are going through, and have someone there who can help mediate so your spouse will understand.
The only stigma is your own judgment about how you are viewed, but it can be hard for others to understand. As I mentioned before, no one chooses to be depressed no more than anyone chooses to have anxiety.
Depression and anxiety both can interfere with how you live your life, and how you interact in your relationship. You may not want to go out, be intimate, or just withdraw from everything if you suffer from one or both of these illnesses. It’s not your fault, and it’s not your partner’s fault. It is something you both can learn how to deal with, and therapy can help.
By talking openly about anxiety and/or depression, how it’s affecting you, and how you can work around it, you can have a fulfilling relationship. You shouldn’t be ashamed of having anxiety or depression – we can work through it. Call me today and let’s get started.