Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Does my partner have a mental illness?
Expert: Dr. Gurvinder Kalra, MD - 10/15/2013
Question Hi there,
I am very concerned about my partner of eight months and the state of our relationship and could do with some help. I should start by saying he's 36 years old, physically fit and to my knowledge has never seen a doctor about his mental health. There are however a number of things that worry me. The first is that he has really dramatic mood swings where he can be happy one moment then miserable the next, telling me his life is meaningless and he's a failure and trying to cause an argument between us by telling me he knows I hate him and will leave him. When we argue, he becomes quite frightening, talking about killing himself and often hitting himself in the head until he leaves bruises or draws blood. He is always apologetic after these episodes, telling me he doesn't want to push me away and won't do it again but always the same thing repeats itself within a few days. I'm also concerned that he becomes very anxious over very little - for example recently he had a whole Sunday where all he needed to do was some shopping and ironing and he told me it was stressful to the point where he didn't think he could cope. He is also very paranoid about what others think about him and is terrified of losing friends, so if a friend doesn't return a phone call straight away he assumes he's unknowingly done something to offend them and obsesses until he's heard from them. I am trying as hard as I can to support him because I love him very much, but his moods frustrate me as I'm an upbeat person and he always seems so miserable and anxious and I never know how best to deal with him and fear I may be making things worse. The constant arguing at his instigation is wearing me down and exhausting me. Do you think he may have a mental illness and if so, how would I raise the issue with him? I should add that this doesn't appear to be a recent thing as he has openly said his bad moods have ended all his previous relationships, and one of his female friends warned me when we were first dating that his last girlfriend before me had left because his paranoia and anxiety had pushed her away.
Answer Dear Annie
Raising the issue of mental illness is going to be tricky for your position. But a gentle & understanding way of putting it across to him when he is kind of stable in his mental state & saying that seeking help is not necessarily showing a weakness....but you are suggesting it only cos you care & want to be supportive is important.
I can answer questions related to Psychiatric illnesses, their management, relationship issues etc.
I have completed my Masters in Psychiatry.
Currently I am working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at L.T.M.Medical College & L.T.M.General Hospital, Mumbai, India.
Publications 1. Kalra G, Bhugra D. Mutual learning and research messages: India, UK and Europe. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52(7 Suppl 3):S56-63. [doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.69211]
2. Kalra G, Gupta S, Bhugra D. Sexual Variations in India: A view from the west. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52(7 Suppl 3):S264-8. [doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.69244]
Education/Credentials MD Psychiatry,
Diploma in Psychiatry,
Awards and Honors 1. A.V. SHAH BEST RESEARCH PAPER AWARD, at the 38th Annual Conference of Indian Psychiatry Society- West Zone Branch, Nagpur, India, 13th Oct 2007.
2. BOMBAY PSYCHIATRIC SOCIETY SILVER JUBILEE NATIONAL AWARD, at the 60th Annual National Conference of Indian Psychiatric Society (ANCIPS), in Kolkata on 4th January, 2008.
3. 2nd prize in the free paper session for presenting the paper “Sexual Attitudes & Behaviours in Individuals above 50” at the 24th National Conference of Sexology held in Jaipur in September, 2008.
4. BHAGWAT NATIONAL AWARD, for Co author of “Study of Emotional Intelligence in Medical Postgraduates”. The Study was presented in the 61st Annual National Conference of Indian Psychiatric Society (ANCIPS), in Agra on 6th January, 2009. 5. 1st prize in the Dr.S.M.Lulla Post Graduate Quiz held in July 2006 at Department of Psychiatry, T.N.M.C. Mumbai, India.
6. Won the Post Graduate Debate on “Involuntary Treatment in Psychiatric Patients is Unjust”, 2nd March 2008, T.N.M.C. Mumbai, India.