Despite the open discussions, mental health is still a taboo in many ways.
Especially if you are a parent, a man, or someone with a diagnosis that steers clear of the more common anxiety and depression.
If your mental health has a significant impact on your life and the way you live it, it might be a mistake not to share your diagnosis with a new partner — but it can be intense.
“It can feel intimidating to talk about your mental health for the first time with a partner,” Dr Elena, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Psychology Clinic Chelsea, tells Metro.co.uk.
“A lot of people will feel vulnerable sharing the things they’re struggling with,” she adds — and she’s right: Sharing a diagnosis of your mental health can feel like you’re blocking out a part of your soul that’s meant for you and those closest to you.
But should you share it with a partner?
As Dr. Elena notes, it can be beneficial for both of you and is a good opportunity to connect on a deeper level.
Not to mention, mental health issues can have an impact on how you act in relationships and what kind of space or care you’ll need from a partner.
“At the end of the day, it will help your partner understand you better,” she says.
“By learning more about the things you struggle with, your past experiences and your triggers, they will be able to support you in the way you need it.”
In addition, adds Dr. Elena, about one in four people suffer from a mental health problem each year.
“Chances are, they know more than you think, whether it’s from direct or indirect experience,” she says.
So, on to the question whether You should tell a new partner about your mental health condition, and the answer is: Most likely, yes — but whenExactly, do you have to tell them?
“There are no hard rules,” says Dr. Elena.
While it’s probably not first date material (although there’s nothing wrong with sharing it, either, if it feels right), I’d avoid putting it off for too long.
It goes without saying that the right person will accept you for you.
“The most important thing is to make sure this is someone you feel safe with and trust.”
How to tell a new partner about a mental health issue without going overboard:
- If you’re nervous, it can help to prepare what you’re going to say in advance – write some notes on a piece of paper or on your phone.
- Make sure you’re in a comfortable setting – somewhere where you feel comfortable and safe and won’t be interrupted. Alternatively, if talking face to face seems intimidating, going for a walk can be less intimidating/formal.
- Calmly and clearly explain what you’re struggling with and how it’s affecting you day-to-day and in your relationships.
- Describe the steps you’re taking – if you’re currently in therapy, let them know.
- Let them know how they can best support you – and bring resources too, if you have any.
- Give them space to ask any questions.
Dr. Elena Turoni, Psychologist
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