Within the last 3 months I have changed jobs, gone through a breakup and moved to a new city. My last post was me trying to stay above water. This one is to let those who read this know that I made it through to the other side.
A few friends of mine have partners with mental health issues or with disabilities. We often have conversations about their feeling the need to be a less authentic version of themselves in order to hold space for the individual they love. My friends feel the need to go out less or speak and hold themselves differently to properly convey their ideas in a safe way.
I outwardly encourage autonomy but I know what it is to want to perpetuate a relationship with someone who is not carrying their share of the emotional labor. When those of us with mental health complexities are our most authentic selves, do we then require those around us to be less so?
I am 30 years old and have been married (and divorced) twice. I am officially THAT person. Obviously I find myself questioning the losses in my life. Can we have life long relationships when our mental health creates controversy? Asking the people in our lives to hold space for the somewhat volatile nature associated with PMDD feels like a lot. My symptoms often mimic Borderline Personality Disorder or essentially crippling panic that every partner I have will leave. There also seem to be some somewhat abrasive problem solving techniques when I’m feeling vulnerable. I’m working on the last part, but the first (crippling panic) feels well founded most days given the circumstances.
It takes a reasonable amount of emotional labor to maintain a relationship with people like me. We need partners who are capable of establishing and kindly asserting safe boundaries for themselves. Boundaries are useless if you do not communicate them effectively. Self-care is something that our partners must learn but do individuals who have their shit together genuinely want to engage in a relationship that they have to have more aggressive boundaries?
I have come to the conclusion that until I figure out what I need, it is important that my romantic interactions maintain a certain fluidity. Whatever form that takes.
Have a partner with mental health issues? Leave a comment and let me know how you and your partner manage your dynamic.
This cup of coffee is not doing the job for which it was intended but I think it is important for me to start writing again. This post will be a bit more “stream of conscious” than filled with purpose. Narcissism and self-analysis is all that I have in me right now. Sleep is sporadic. My brain is determined to make me re-live a painful experience that happened six years ago and it is starting to effect day to day life.
I think being back home in Virginia triggered some sensory stuff that I was not prepared for. Because of this, I have not been eating like I should. I have been waking up at 6 am after drinking to make myself sleep and my brain instantly turns to my stressors.
Lately I have been feeling like I lack substance. I work. I sleep. I eat. I exist solely for the benefit of those around me (ie: my kids, my job.) When I told a close friend about this idea he scoffed at me as he often does when I get existential and said, “Substance isn’t real.” The concept is comforting but the more I think about this idea and work to create a life full of experiences and lacking regret… the more time I spend in my big chair with a glass of red wine watching Queer Eye.
This blog is a perfect example. There have been partially written pieces in my drafts folder for months now that I cannot make myself finish. A determination exists to prove that despite this ridiculous thing that my brain does once a month, I have thoughts, ideas and goals that matter. Who am I trying to prove this to? I am not superman. I obviously have limits and capacities. They just keep getting overshadowed by the potential that I have convinced myself I must have to keep this life from being a waste.
I am tired. I think it is time to take a look at my self-care routine again. Spending more time with people who want to get out and do things that are fun was helping. They do not need alcohol and terrible food to enjoy themselves. The presence of mind does not always exist to create these circumstances for myself. Simply being in their orbit has helped bring a lot of balance to my life.
It may be time to start looking into a therapist again. I cannot rely on others for my own self-care. It is not their job to take care of me when I do not have the presence of mind to choose the vegan option, put that bottle of wine back on the shelf or get more exercise. Every dark day I have, I cannot flood their text messages with how lackluster I find this existence to be.
I know it is important for me to take ownership of this. Rationalizing the effort required to take care of myself would not be quite so difficult I think if it all didn’t feel so futile. Another month. Another dream. Another bad day. Another therapist appointment. I want to fix this so I can move on to the life I was meant to live but are we owed anything by this universe that we live in? There are individuals suffering much more than I.
I suppose I will take it one day at at time and celebrate my tiny victories.
“That’s all there is. There isn’t anymore.”