They say, marriages are made in heaven. And if the dreamy wedding dresses; elaborately-decorated venues; a sweet-smiling, to-be mother-in-law; and a promising would-be husband showering you with gifts and surprises are anything to go by, you might actually give in to this misguided belief.
No, this isn’t a rant that’s going to make you have convoluted or perhaps, second thoughts about this very institution. However, this will surely make you aware of the possible effects of marriage on your mental health.
Better still, if you’ve already jumped into this train, this can help you be better equipped to deal with your mental health issues possibly resulting from your ‘marital bliss’.
First off, accept that marriage can affect your mental health
Validating this, Dr. Prakriti Saxena Poddar, CEO of Mind Over Image, says, “Although marriage is considered to be a happy and important life stage, it might not always fulfil its commitment towards bringing happiness, love, and harmony and can sometimes trigger mental health issues in women.”
“Much like any other life-impacting decision, marriage can be both exciting and challenging,” she adds.
Dr. Amoolya Seth, psychiatrist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad, seconds this idea and warns, “Many stressful events after marriage can lead to severe mental conditions like anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal tendencies, and drugs and alcohol abuse.”
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Look for these signs if you think your marriage is wrecking your mental health
Just like it’s silly to assume that marriages are a sure-short path to depression, it’s silly to think that every negative emotion resulting from a once-in-a-while argument with your spouse/in-laws is an alarming sign.
However, if the toxicity is prolonged and is making you miserable, so much so that you can relate to the following symptoms, then beware!
To begin with, fatigue, sluggishness, and a low-energy mode, as well as changes in appetite, weight, and sleep patterns are to watch out for.
Additionally, body aches, muscular cramps, or gastrointestinal issues without any clear cause could haunt you too. Not to mention, a racing heart/sudden palpitations/muscle tension happening frequently could also be indicative of anxiety.
You might face a difficulty in responding happily to positive stimuli, or so a research conducted at University of Wisconsin-Madison says. Basically, just like general depression, the one resulting from your marriage can also make you demotivated enough to make you stop enjoying the things you really loved once.
Additionally, persistently feeling sad, empty, pessimistic, or hopeless along with uncontrollable panic, anger, restlessness, and irritability are also signs of danger.
Why is this happening to you?
Nope, this isn’t a spiritual answer to your question. Purely based on mental-health experts’ opinion, here are some of the factors that might be impacting your mental health negatively post marriage:
“A lack of consensus or communication with your spouse, getting dominated most of the time, living with an abusive or an emotionally-detached partner are some of the major factors that can make you depressed in a marriage,” says Dr. Seth.
“A cheating spouse, lack of physical intimacy with your partner, stress caused by difference of opinion regarding issues like children’s upbringing, and interference in the marriage by third parties, say in-laws or friends can also impact your mental health negatively,” Dr. Poddar adds.
Not to mention, adjusting to an entirely new household with an entirely different set of principles or values could give you a hard time too. Apart from this, coping with the difference between what you had expected married life to be and how it actually panned out for you can have an impact as well.
But you know the worst of all factors? Losing your sense of self while trying to adjust or make it work.
Reality check: What you need to work on first is your mental health
Now that you are aware of your condition and the many possible reasons for it, how about solving them one problem at a time?
An open communication with your partner is key to solving most of the problems, according to Dr. Poddar.
“Have an open dialogue with your spouse specifying a clear agenda of a successful relationship and work as a team towards the goal of a harmonious, happy relationship,” she says.
As for coping with a new environment, Dr. Poddar recommends allowing yourself some time and maintaining some patience to get accustomed to the newness.
In the meanwhile, you could ask your partner to help you get a hang of things and you can also communicate with the members of your new family defining your roles and responsibilities clearly.
Additionally, Dr. Seth suggests confiding in someone to share your feelings instead of bottling them up or indulging in self-pity. Trying to keep the spark alive in your relationship can also help.
Not to mention, doing what you love and giving yourself some much-deserved care can take you a long way. So yes, pursuing the hobby/job that you love and working out can basically help you get through the trickiest of the situations.
However, if you think that your condition is out of control and you have frequent suicide thoughts, please, please, please see a counsellor and undergo a treatment/therapy.
Needless to say, if your partner is an abusive jerk or is more toxic than cheap plastic, then walk the hell out on him. Because you know what? Nothing is worth compromising your peace of mind for.