Relationships, whether with family, friend or loved ones either works or doesn't work. There isn't a magic recipe or special list that will make a relationship work, last or be something for the history books. Relationships boil down to people. A mother and daughter. Best friends. Siblings. A father and a daughter. Close friends. Mother and son. Dad and son. Grandparents and grandchildren. Cousins. Bible study group. In-laws. I could go on and on but you get the point. We all want these relationships in our lives. Even those of us they say we are FINE on our own. The first person we have to start with is ourselves.
|This is me, earlier this month, this was a good day. No faked smile here.|
Yes, I know it is the corny - you have to love yourself before you can love another - main idea - but this is with a twist. A mental illness twist.
As someone that has dealt with mental illness for more than 20 years of my life, I am declaring myself an expert. (Take that with a grain of salt.) Relationships suck. Add in paranoia, anxiety, debilitating depression, OCD, bipolar severe mood swings, and a long list of other symptoms and what do you have? Relationship hell times 10. If you can't figure out how to love yourself on Tuesday, you could be figuring out a whole new mood come Saturday. Fall in love on a Monday and next month, you can't stand the person. One year you really want to keep your family close, the next year you don't even send a Christmas card.
For someone dealing with mental illness, we know we can't be the stable one in a relationship. We might have moments or even long stretches of stability in our lives, but that internal struggle always does me in. I have tried to choose friends carefully. They can't be scared or offended easily. They have to deal with mood swings, crying, angry rants, and my isolation. They have to understand when it is a down day and when it is a BAD day. They know where the boundary is but they also know when they need to step over that line to help me.
Sadly, we can't pick our family. We can't make them understand. We can't make them believe that our feelings are true or real. They are either great or horrible when it come to mental illness issues. As hard as it is, you have to let these people go. AND IT IS HARD. I have tried for years to make it work. I have tried to ignore the snide comments, the looks, pretend that I don't know what they truly think about me. The sad part of all this, is that it only makes our issues harder to deal with, we can not heal when we are working so hard to keep these relationships from falling apart.
I have come to a spot in my life where I am going to have to make some tough decisions. It is something I was told to do a couple years ago. I thought I could keep a loose boundary that could be pulled tighter when I needed it. I was wrong. (Big surprise!)
I am an opinionated person, I hid my feelings for so long and that hindered my healing. I was doing so well until this past fall when I was asked to keep part of my life a secret. Things went well for 5 months. I was productive, creative, full of energy, and happy. When the inevitable depression crept in - I felt like I was being tossed aside. I have been crawling myself out of that hole since April. Some new med changes were beginning to help. Too high of an increase gave me back some of that hypomanic feelings that I love. Managed hypomanic allows me to be creative. It allows me to be productive. Unmanaged hypomanic can lead to some dangerous bad decisions. The dose has been lowered but I am left feeling flat. It is so hard to find that happy medium. That perfect cocktail that makes you feeling like yourself. When you are at the top, you can't cry about something sad. When you are dipping past flat, you cry too much.
I had one of those days today. I didn't like it. It was a bad day. I spent most of the day in my room. I tossed out all my plans, We didn't leave the house for the Farmer's Market, Church or a BBQ we were invited to this afternoon. I felt like I let people down which only makes my depression worse and keeps me from being motivated to try again tomorrow.
At this point, I am not sure if anyone is even following along to this post that has turned into a rant. Are you there God? It's me, Courtney. I could use some help down here. I pray for calming thoughts, I pray for a renewed sense of purpose, I pray that I can accomplish the tasks I have set for myself this week. I pray that I can bring in some extra income to support my boys over the summer months. Most of all, I pray for those good relationships to stay strong. For the love and support they bring to surround me and keep me from falling down again. Amen.
If you believe in the power of prayer, will you pray that for me? I may not have a ton of good, close relationships in my life - but I need to keep the ones I do have. I have to fight for any and every positive thing in my life. Comment below in support. Thanks.