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Archives for June, 2011


The Warning Signs of Partner Suicide: Is the Path Warm?

Most people, including many mental health professionals, shy away from discussing suicidal thoughts with someone who is clearly struggling with life challenges. After all, having someone you love and care about decide to end their own life is devastating. But the reality is that if someone is considering suicide, your talking about it is not going to exacerbate the issue; if anything, the person may be relieved that someone else recognizes their agony.

According to
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Anxiety and Panic

Fear of Being the Life of the Party: Your Partner with Social Anxiety

Going out to eat, socializing with friends, participating in after-hours work functions, and maybe attending events at your kid's school are usually all part of being in a healthy relationship.

But for some people, instead of the above situations being fun, pleasant events, they invoke terror. Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, strikes fear in the hearts of millions of Americans every day. Although women with social phobia statistically outnumber men, it is...
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Considering Divorcing Your Mentally Ill Partner? Tips from an Expert

Today I am pleased to bring you an interview with Susan Pease Gadoua, founder and executive director of the Transition Institute of Marin, based in San Rafael, California. Susan is the author of two books: Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go, and Stronger Day by Day: Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce. Susan also writes the blog Contemplating Divorce on...
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Why You React Like You Do To Your Partner with Mental Illness

Your partner didn’t go to work again today, and is still in bed at 5:30 pm, when you get home. Or he forgot to pay the bills. Or she spent way more money than you had in the bank, and now you’ve got a huge credit card bill that can’t be paid.

Scenarios like this can happen in relationships that don’t involve mental illness. However, when a partner has a mental illness, these types of scenarios...
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Substance Abuse

When Your Partner Has A Drinking Problem

This story may resonate with those who question whether they have a partner with a drinking problem:

If you put a frog into a pan of boiling water, it will jump out immediately. But if you put the frog into a pan of water that is the frog's body temperature, and then slowly turn up the heat, the frog will stay in the water--even to the point of boiling alive. Why? Because the frog...
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Partners In Wellness with Joan Winifred

Your Partner on Psychiatric Medication

When your partner has a mental illness, it's likely that they have been prescribed medication to help manage their symptoms. While of course it's up to the patient to take the medication as prescribed, often that is easier said than done.

Busy doctors often don't have the time to thoroughly explain what the medication is and does, possible side effects, and when to call for help. Ambivalence about...
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Back to the Beginning: Preparing for Partner Relapse

For a while now--maybe a few weeks, months, or even years--your partner has been doing well. They take their medications, attend therapy, are employed, and your relationship is going well. The harrowing days when the clouds their illness overshadowed everything in life have long parted and the sun is shining on you and your partner again. The future forecast is for sunny and mild temperatures.

Relapse can hit a relationship like a thunderstorm that appears out...
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Crossing the Line from Caring to Codependent

When you have a partner with a mental illness, it's natural to want to do anything you can to ease the stress in your relationship.

The problems start to creep in when your helping is actually hurting, and it's because you've crossed the line from "caring" to "codependent." In an earlier post, I talked about the "F-word in mental illness," which is fear. Codependent relationships are built upon fear, and...
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