1. You overthink everything.
And by everything, I mean everything. From the words your partner says down to the food he or she orders on dates. Everything is a reason to dissect, overanalyze, and imagine every possible scenario. You end up overthinking so much that you actually create a problem that didn’t even exist in the first place. You spew so many thoughts that, at this point, you can’t even tell what’s real or not. Overthinking can lead you to being jealous, pessimistic, needy, angry, and defensive. This rarely goes well with your partner, especially if they don’t understand your mental illnesses. But how can you expect them to when it’s so difficult even for you to understand?
2. You think negatively.
This goes hand in hand with the overthinking. I mean, you wish you could be overthinking positive stuff, but that’s just not how it works. Depression and anxiety cause you to have a negative thought process, and you can’t help but think the worst in every situation. You try, you really do, but sometimes it’s just not enough. It’s hard to control how you feel when you’re feeling and thinking so many things at once. You try your hardest to remain positive in every situation, but it doesn’t work all the time. This isn’t very helpful in a relationship because it can make a simple disagreement turn into a huge altercation. You sometimes act or say things on impulse that you instantly regret the minute you take a step back. Or you shut down and withdraw and say nothing at all. Once the fog clears, you realize that maybe a lot of what happened was due to your negative thinking.
3. You’re self-conscious.
All your overthinking and negative thinking naturally causes you to feel self-conscious. You’re a captive of your own mind, and it’s so hard to be confident when you’re tearing apart at the seams. Because of this, maybe you’re a little insecure or always worried. You have thoughts like, “How could they love me?” “Did I do something wrong?” “I’m probably going to fuck up this relationship just like I fuck up everything else.” You really try to ignore these thoughts and work on building your self-esteem, but it almost feels impossible when you’re suffering from a mental illness. Your partner may find this unattractive. They may not understand how and why you’re self-conscious. They may try to say or do things to make you feel better, but they don’t understand that this is something YOU need to work on and something you’ve been actively working on. If your partner doesn’t have the patience, this may become a nuisance for him or her.
4. You need time alone.
Not many partners may understand this, but when you have depression and anxiety, it’s vital for you to have time to yourself. Self-care is and should be a priority. This is the time you take to relax, meditate, reflect, and do things for yourself; this is the time you do things that help alleviate your anxious and depressive symptoms. You need this time. And if your partner gets upset because you have to take time for yourself, just explain to them that it’s less about them and more about you. You’re not trying to spend time apart from your partner (even though it’s healthy to do so in every relationship). You’re not tired of them. You just need to be alone sometimes, and that’s okay.
5. You may not be up for everything all the time.
When depression and anxiety get the best of you, it’s hard to always be ready to go out and be social. It’s extremely fucking hard. The idea of having to talk to people gives you even more anxiety, and the idea of letting your partner down makes you even more depressed. But you just can’t help how you feel. You try to overcome these feelings, but sometimes it feels like it’s impossible, like you’re trapped and suffocated all at once. You hope that your partner understands and doesn’t get annoyed at all the times you’ve copped out of doing things with them. This can cause friction in the relationship and arguments you can’t escape from.
It’s hard enough battling anxiety and depression alone, but when you’re in a relationship, it’s not just you battling these illnesses. It’s you and your partner. It’s important to maintain open communication and to allow your partner to be a support system for you rather than an extra stressor. It’s also important to educate your partner on your illnesses so he or she understands what you’re feeling and why you may be feeling that way. Some people may not be up for the challenge; they may not want to deal with all that comes with your illnesses, and that’s their prerogative. You shouldn’t ever have to force or convince someone to be with you or to accept your mental illnesses. The right one will come when you least expect it, and you’ll never have to ask him or her to do any of these things. They’ll just do it because they want to. Because they care about you. Because they love you.