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When I told [my boyfriend], 'I need to see [a mental health professional], please make sure I see someone,' he was aware of that, but I didn’t want him to call the doctor himself.I had to make the call — I had to decide that I was going to go in.
"It wedged itself between us in restaurant booths, whispering anxious thoughts into my ear, encouraging me to overanalyze every single thing that happened during an otherwise fun night."But she and her partner have learned how to navigate the distance a mental health problem can create between two people, developing communication techniques that bridge that gap. It can be even harder when you have with a chronic health condition.
Obviously, when you go into therapy it’s different because you do really want to pull those emotions apart, but in the heat of the moment, it’s just kind of a lot to deal with."Botic: "I think a big way to help people feel safe in their relationships to communicate these things — and I know this has been true for me — is to resist the urge to apologize after you have shared something that is really challenging or really hard.
I know that there were times in the past where, let’s say, I was experiencing severe anxiety and I would tell [my husband], 'I'm feeling so overwhelmed, I feel like I can't breathe, I don't know how I’m going to be able get through the rest of the day, I don’t know what to do' — and talking to him about it afterwards when I had sort of come out of the moment a little bit, I would want to say to him, 'I'm sorry I acted so crazy,' or 'I'm sorry I can't just be normal,' or 'I'm sorry you have to deal with this.' "I think it’s so important that women don’t feel like they need to apologize for these experiences that they’re having and that we trust that our partners don’t want us to apologize for them, either...[but also,] we should all let ourselves off the hook from being 100% perfect communicators — just giving ourselves a little bit of grace and compassion when we are trying to communicate these hard things and not to go back over it and beat ourselves up and go, 'I wish I had said this differently,' or 'I wish I had done this differently' — just to let it come out the best that we can articulate it in that moment, and to let it be okay if it’s not 100% textbook perfect."The Bed Post is a series that explores what holds us back from sex and love with whom we want, when we want, where we want, and how we want — because we all deserve sex and love lives that are not only free of evils, but full of what is good.
They demand much of those who have them and much of those who love the people who have them.
To learn tools for dating while dealing with a disorder, I asked Recinos, sex and relationship therapist Vanessa Marin, and health coach Simi Botic — who has dealt with orthorexia and anxiety over her 10-year relationship with her now-husband — how those in a relationship in which one person struggles with a mental health problem can express what they feel and need. A resounding theme: Often, all we're looking for from our partners is what writer Lucy Kalanithi calls "the simple act of witnessing."What are your biggest pointers for communication about a mental health problem?