Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Feeding off each other?

11 posts in this topic

Posted

I know it's possible for two people who are dating (who both are mentally ill) to feed off each others disorders. I'm worried that my boyfriend might be picking up on my anxiety, which worries me because I don't want him to be non-functional like I am currently. But then again it could be his own brand of anxiety that he has. I have OCD and he may have social anxiety. I love him dearly and he's been very understanding and supportive of me. I'm just scared that I am making him worse, could this just be the OCD toying with my brain? Possibly. I'm curious if any of you have dealt with being in a relationship with someone who is also mentally ill.

side note: To be honest, I'm glad he and I have similar experiences. I feel that he can understand where I'm coming from and I can understand where he comes from. Most of the guys I have dated seemed to take a hike when my disorders made themselves known. I can understand why someone without mental illnesses would have trouble dating someone with them. It's a complex thing to understand if you've never experienced it before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I can certainly understand your worries, having been in relationships like that a time or two myself, and the following is some hard-won wisdom.

I've found that the most important thing I can do while I'm in a relationship (and somewhat counter-intuitive) is focus on what I need, what I can do, and what I can bring to the relationship. That way I'm actually thinking about things I can do something about.

Trying to read someone else's mind-- worse than that, trying to figure out if someone else's "possible" disorder is 'getting worse' because of what you are doing or not doing-- is just an exercise in futility and frustration. Take it from me: if it's reached the disorder stage, he needs to find a therapist and possibly a pdoc. It is NOT, however, your fault.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

That makes me feel a lot better that someone else has been through this. Thank you for the input it's greatly appreciated!

He wants to get to a pdoc asap. Then go for out-patient therapy regularly.

While I am concentrating on my CBT.

The only thing I was worried about bringing to the relationship was my OCD, but he's turned out to be my own personal cheerleader. Minus the frilly skirts and spankies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It sounds like he is quite supportive of you, which is a good sign.

I think in some relationships, people can enable each other's conditions, in that they engage in unhealthy behaviours that exacerbate symptoms. For instance, there can be relationships where neither partner encourages the other to get help when they need it. It doesn't sound like this is happening in your relationship because you are seeking help and your partner wants to get help for his issues, so I don't think you have anything to fear about you enabling him, or increasing his symptoms in any way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

That's true, I guess it was just my OCD getting to me. Whew. Thank you for helping me to realize that. It sneaked past the filter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

yes, I think that a lot of what is going on is just anxiety, generally.

I worry about this sometimes too, I'm in a shitty mixed episode and i know it puts a lot of pressure on Mr. A, who is currently dealing with PTSD, anxiety, and depression, but you know, we support each other, really.

And we are both getting treatment (seperately) so that's just the best we can do atm. I help him during his bad days, he helps me during mine.

Anna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I hope that I have understood your post correctly.

MI is not contagious. I have a couple of friends IRL with depression. Their depression does not rub off on to me, and nor does my psychosis rub off on to them (much as I think it does when I am mid-episode!).

It is probably that your partner has his own issues that he needs his own treatment for, as least from how I see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

EP, I understood her to mean her BF also had a diagnosis, and she was worried about their feeding of each other's neuroses, not that she was afraid he would catch "the crazy" from her. But I am sure she can clarify that for us.

It is definitely possible for two mentally ill people to have a good relationship. But what doesn't work is if one of you doesn't want to at least try to get better (you didn't say that, I am just giving an example from my own experience). What made my relationship with my Evil Ex even worse was that he lied to me, and said he was getting treated. Well, he was going to p-doc appointments, but throwing out his scripts, and then telling his p-doc his meds didn't work.

And you may be surprised to hear things coming flying out of your mouth in frustration that you know are ridiculous: "Why won't DH STOP with the seizures," "Why can't Crtclms see how much fun this thing she usually adores will be?" We know the answers, but we are human, and it is a natural thing to feel frustrated, especially about things that are harmful or upsetting to our SOs.

But if both of you had diabetes, wouldn't you just have to try it out for a while, and see how it goes? I think the same can be safely said about your two illnesses.

I also want to say, as a mentally ill person married to a person who is not mentally ill, it is possible to find partners who don't share your illness, but are supportive. I have one of the world's most awesome spouses (I think there are a bunch of us here that can say that). I had my diagnosis long before I knew him, so he walked into this marriage with his eyes wide open. He does have epilepsy, which helps in the empathy department, but is stressful. But I can't make his seizures worse by being crazy, and vice versa.

Anyway, IMO, the key to making the most of your relationship with shaky health is taking very good care of yourself as your first priority. It only sounds selfish. Really, the healthier you are, the more you can reciprocate in a healthy way. So when you make that effort to take care of yourself (and it can be an effort), you actually *are* doing something to help your SO as well.

Sorry for the garrulousness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

EP, I understood her to mean her BF also had a diagnosis, and she was worried about their feeding of each other's neuroses, not that she was afraid he would catch "the crazy" from her. But I am sure she can clarify that for us.

It is definitely possible for two mentally ill people to have a good relationship. But what doesn't work is if one of you doesn't want to at least try to get better (you didn't say that, I am just giving an example from my own experience). What made my relationship with my Evil Ex even worse was that he lied to me, and said he was getting treated. Well, he was going to p-doc appointments, but throwing out his scripts, and then telling his p-doc his meds didn't work.

And you may be surprised to hear things coming flying out of your mouth in frustration that you know are ridiculous: "Why won't DH STOP with the seizures," "Why can't Crtclms see how much fun this thing she usually adores will be?" We know the answers, but we are human, and it is a natural thing to feel frustrated, especially about things that are harmful or upsetting to our SOs.

But if both of you had diabetes, wouldn't you just have to try it out for a while, and see how it goes? I think the same can be safely said about your two illnesses.

I also want to say, as a mentally ill person married to a person who is not mentally ill, it is possible to find partners who don't share your illness, but are supportive. I have one of the world's most awesome spouses (I think there are a bunch of us here that can say that). I had my diagnosis long before I knew him, so he walked into this marriage with his eyes wide open. He does have epilepsy, which helps in the empathy department, but is stressful. But I can't make his seizures worse by being crazy, and vice versa.

Anyway, IMO, the key to making the most of your relationship with shaky health is taking very good care of yourself as your first priority. It only sounds selfish. Really, the healthier you are, the more you can reciprocate in a healthy way. So when you make that effort to take care of yourself (and it can be an effort), you actually *are* doing something to help your SO as well.

Sorry for the garrulousness.

I really loved this. I agree with the getting healthy so that our relationship is healthy.

And yes I do not fear catching an MI from him or him from me. I was indeed worried about the feeding off of neuroses.

Again, thank you for this post it was pretty much like hitting the nail on the head and I'm glad you have someone who is supportive. It always makes things so much easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It seems every relationship I've had has been with someone with MI and in every case we fed off one another, triggered one another, and ultimately split. While full of passion and even excitement and electric charge, they were tumultuous...like a horrific storm. I often look back fondly on them, covering up the worst parts of the relationships but the reality is that those relationships were doomed from the start.

My wife is the most normal person I've ever been in a relationship with and that's probably why we've stayed together as long as we have.

I echo the sentiment that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your relationship and you have to support and encourage positive healthy behaviours and patterns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

My dude has issues (we all have issues). That said, my first marriage was to a BP guy and it failed in the most spectacular way possible. We really could NOT get well together, though he does okay on his own and etc.

My guy now has depression, anxiety and PTSD. That said, prior, he was very stable.

It's been interesting to reexamine our rel. in the context of him having a dx and getting treatment. In some ways it has brought us much closer together.

No we don't feed off each other, though. We work hard at not doing that, and being considerate of each other. The fact that we had major kickass marriage counseling prior helps.

Anna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0