Friday, 3 March 2017

What being in a relationship has taught me about myself and how its affected my mental illnesses

Last January I entered a relationship with my bf. Being in a relationship, being in love, can be exciting, exhilarating, fulfilling, just fucking wonderful really. This isn't a post about how wonderful my boyfriend is, even though he is. This is about how being in love, how being in a relationship, this relationship has changed me, affected my mental health. 

I've spent a large portion of my life with abusive people in it in one form or another. The two previous relationships I've had plus the few 'friends' I've had were abusive either physically, mentally, emotionally or all of the above. Therefore at the grand old age of 31, finding myself in my first healthy relationship I wanted to offer some insight.

That what I say is worth listening to
This doesn't just apply to Sam, but the people who are now in my life because of him, his family, his daughter. Being able to talk for the first time freely and without fear of judgement, to know that people are listening to me, engaging with me, involving me in conversations? Well it's bloody marvellous.
I'm not broken
Contrary to popular belief I'm not broken, I have the ability to love, to be loved, to care selflessly, to be responsible, make decisions. BOOM
That habits can be broken
A lot of my mental illnesses have large elements of compulsions due to a long history of OCD. I've spent all my life at home or in hospital. I have a routine ways I have to do things to feel safe, OK to be able to go about my day. It is absolutely impossible to maintain this when in a relationship, more so when you don't live together. I spent the first few months with Sam mainly at my house as I can't travel due to my disabilities (what other word can I use). Then when I got my car it switched and we now spend a large portion of the time together at his house. Being without the things that make me comfortable, being in a place that isn't where I'm used to where I can engage in behaviours in a way I'd like to, it forced me to cut down and in some cases full on cold turkey stop a lot of the habits that I had, my routine went pfft. That's not to say that it was easy or my head didn't make it (makes it) difficult for me, but if I didn't loosen the strings of my tightly wound up brain, quite simply we wouldn't be able to spend time together. 
That making someone happy is more important than appeasing the voice in my head
This is very much linked with above. I'll be honest there's been times in the last year when my mental health has been so overwhelming I've felt like giving up, giving into the very dark thoughts in my head. Admittedly sometimes I have but I accept that giving in to them means making a sacrifice, one which I'm not willing to make. I have to be OK enough to drive to Sams, to feel as physically OK as I can as so much of my physical state is out of my control I need to do as much as I can to stop my pain getting worse.
I cannot thank him enough for everything he's done and does for me. I bloody love him

That love doesn't cure mental illness but it makes life with one worth the struggle
In the past I've fooled myself into believing that being in a relationship would fix everything. id be cured, it'd be a miracle! But sadly it doesn't work like that, if anyone possessed the ability to cure me with love it'd be Sam, but whilst having someone who loves and respects me helps my self esteem, my self worth, mental illnesses don't just disappear because a part of my life is now fulfilled in a way it never has been.
My ed makes me feel selfish I am not
This is a double edged sword as i haven't quite got the balance right yet between being selfless and putting my own needs first. When you love someone you go out of your way to make it a priority that they're happy, that you're doing what you can to provide happiness. However I've been doing this but sometimes to my own detriment, i need to work on it a bit but its hard as i don't feel my feelings and me don't matter.
That people can be trusted
Don't get me wrong there are a crap ton of arseholes in the world. But tarring everyone with the same brush closes yourself off to some of the wonderful beautiful incredibly kind thoughtful people there are.
More open to learning new things 
I've always been quite closed minded in some ways to new experiences. If there was a chance I might not enjoy something I'd be too scared. But when you spend nearly all your time with someone, you share things that you enjoy with the other person. films, TV shows, books, music.... Sam has introduced me to several TV shows that have since become all time favourite...

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