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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How to best live with someone with GAD PTSD & Depression?

    Hi there. I'm after some advice on how best to manage and support my relationship with my partner who suffers PTSD, GAD and depression. These have come about following a terrible and abusive relationship (both mentally and ultimately sexually). I want to ensure I'm supporting her as best I can and also avoiding anything that could worsen the situation with the ultimate goal of improving her mental health. Conditions are improving however binge drinking is being used as a coping mechanism which is alarming and becoming out of hand. Psychotic medications have been prescribed by a psychiatrist. After a stint of not taking them, regular consumption has resumed. Any recommendations,advice, hints or tips would be much appreciated.
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    Agree

    John Bal

    Counsellor

    As a counsellor I am interested in an interactive conversation with people about their lives and the problem(s) which have brought them to counselling. I … View Profile

    Hello, thanks for your question and know that there would be many other people like you, in a relationship with someone with significant mental wellbeing issues.  Firstly I would like to acknowedge just how hard it is to be a partner and a support to someone struggling with mental health issues.  The two roles are often in conflict with each other. No doubt you have already found this out, but I want to acknowledge that the struggles you encounter are more likely to arise from the situation, than any personal shortcomings.

    Ironically one of the best things you can do to support your partner is to seek help for yourself!  Let me explain; the stress and strain of being partner and support to a person with the problems you list is profound and takes a significant toll over time.  You will be less able to be supportive and express the care and concern you feel if you are getting tired, worn down, bitter or resentful.  These are all experiences that do happen to carers.  If you can look after yourself then you will be in a better position to cope with the rollercoaster of experiences likely to emerge in the relationship.

    In terms of supporting her, this is hard because people are at such varying stages of willingness to hear and accept help.  (I guess you already knew that too).  At those times when she is more receptive, ask her what she thinks she needs most, and ask her if she wants to hear your opinion on what you have observed and what you think might help.  By seeking her permission to offer suggestions you avoid strong resistance to useful suggestions. If speaking quickly gets bogged down in conflict, consider getting help to write her a thoughtful letter about your care, concern and thoughts about her, the relationship and the problems that have beseiged you both.

    The bottom line though, is to seek support for yourself as a carer.  There are organisations that offer free support to mental health carers; seek them out, and both of you will benefit.

    Warm wishes to you.

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