When music executive Teebillz had a meltdown in 2016, many were quick to blame his estranged wife, Tiwa Savage. In the same vein, Ariana Grande was blamed for the recent death of ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller who had a struggle with depression and sobriety.
Most times, we do not address the impact of mental illness on a couple’s relationship. We fail to understand that individuals who have a mental illness can have a negative impact on their spouse’s mental health, and vice versa. It is possible for both partners to struggle with symptoms that have developed because of the original illness in one of the partners. Research on psychiatric illness in romantic relationships has found a correlation between one partner having a mental illness and the other also suffering from one.
Helping someone with mental health is tantamount to walking on eggshells without making a sound. It requires a lot of sensitivity and more of empathy than sympathy.
It is, therefore, important to educate yourself, prioritise your own well-being, and avoid taking responsibility for your partner’s diagnosis. Directing a loved one to seek expert help ensures that you as an individual do not begin to internalise what they are going through.