When my doctor described the side effects of Prednisone, the steroid prescribed to me to treat my autoimmune disease, he failed to include depression. The first time I took the drug was an unpredictable blow that wreaked havoc on my life and my relationships. I felt suddenly helpless; I felt no autonomy.
Relationships and Mental Illness
You can cope with eating disorder triggers even though, as I often describe an eating disorder, there is a stubborn, little monster in the back of your head. It may lay dormant for days, months, even years, but when it arises, it wreaks havoc.
Although many people struggle to set boundaries in relationships, doing so can drastically improve your mental health in the long run. For years, I would passively agree to anything that anyone asked of me. If I wanted to say no, my anxiety and depression would infiltrate into my thoughts, telling me that I had to go above and beyond to make people approve of me. I was seeking approval and admiration in the least healthy ways, and this began to take a toll on my mental health. Eventually, I felt empty. Setting boundaries in relationships has a lot to do with self-care, in my opinion. If you are feeling burnt out from a lack of pre-set limits, you are swiftly losing your emotional energy and potentially your sense of self.
My relationship with sex after trauma hasn't been a good one. You see, when I was 16, I got drunk at a concert. On the train ride home, I drifted off. When I woke up, a stranger's hand was in my underwear. I pushed his hand away and he sped into the next train car. My reaction was a feeling of shame; I blamed myself for the sexual assault. I shouldn't have gotten drunk; I shouldn't have worn a skirt; I should have been more responsible. With the support of my parents, I eventually reported the incident, but the shame remained.
There are several effects selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) might have on your relationships. Here are three common ways an SSRI might affect your romantic relationships.
My cycle of restriction has the ability to hurt my relationships. Take today, for instance.
My name is Miranda Card and I’m excited to join the HealthyPlace team as a writer for "Relationships and Mental Illness." Many of my experiences with mental illness stem from a lifelong struggle with chronic illness, a disease known as Behcet’s. Only now, at 24, am I beginning to understand the trauma of my diagnosis. I am only now beginning to acknowledge that my illness has symptoms beyond the physical; it has ravaged my relationship with food and birthed disordered eating; it inspires anxiety that affects my decisions in life; the depression that comes with my medication often wreaks havoc on my relationships. Discussing these things in writing never occurred to me before because these “mental symptoms” have always been a source of shame and denial. But someone told me recently to write about what scares you, so here I am.
Assertive communication works well when it comes to my communication styles. I have a history of vacillating between aggressiveness and passivity in relationships. Both of these styles come with their downsides and it's been an arduous journey to find an effective middle ground. Assertive communication is my middle ground.
It's good for me to self-disclose about my mental illnesses earlier in relationships rather than later. You see, when I received my diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and began taking antidepressants in middle school, I felt my identity shift. Finally, I had a name and a treatment for the frustrating and complicated symptoms I had experienced since I could first walk and talk. For so long, my identity and mental health were inextricably intertwined, and they still are.
Anxiety made me "that annoying friend" early in life. I vividly remember the first time that my generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) inserted itself, without invitation, into my relationships. I was in third grade, playing in the sandbox during recess when I found out that Jess (names changed) had invited Katrina to see the new Shrek movie but hadn't extended the invitation to me. I remember being devastated and insecure. For the remainder of recess, I moped around the chain-link fence by myself, kicking up patches of dirt while negative thoughts swarmed my head. Why hadn't she invited me? What was wrong with me? These tentative thoughts soon turned into statements taken as fact. My friends hate me. Nobody likes me. I am an annoying friend and useless. I didn't talk to anyone else for the rest of that day.