Have you ever fallen madly in love, and then found out the person you love is struggling with mental health issues? It’s a hot topic across the world at the moment, with mental health awareness being at the forefront of industry and community, especially during the COVID pandemic. So how do we approach it in the dating world?
The problem is that some mental health disorders have a huge influence on how we manage our emotions at the outset of a relationship. For example, some disorders can cause a person to go through disparate mood swings as they try to navigate the early stages of catching feelings. A history of abandonment or trust issues can cause a person to run from a relationship, even though they really like you. You’ll feel them pulling you toward them, then pushing you away, as they battle with their own emotions. This can cause a tumultuous start to the relationship, particularly if one person is unaware that mental health issues are playing a part.
I think it’s important for people in general to be aware of some of the more common mental health issues that people suffer from. That way we can provide support right from the get-go, and be more understanding when things don’t go as expected. Some mental health issues bring on depression, leaving you feeling helpless and alone when trying to connect with your partner. Some cause anxiety, which gets in the way of forging ahead with a connection. The point is, what you see on the surface may not be what’s happening within, and you should consider being supportive before you let any early issues blow up the relationship. Some people need to feel high levels of trust before they will communicate rationally. Some people may seem despondent as they struggle to remain in touch with their feelings.
If you’re going through this with someone you like, be supportive, be sensitive, ask questions and ask if your love interest is ok. In some cases you’ll be given the opportunity to understand exactly why certain behaviours are manifesting, and together you can develop the mental toolkit required to navigate emotions on your way to a happy relationship.