This week has been hard. I can’t put on my smiley cheerful face on any longer. Let me just sit and not think about a single thing.
Except I can’t really do that. I’ve come across a very real problem I’m facing and feel it’s something I personally haven’t heard much about. Sure, living with mental illness is hard enough. Being in a relationship, too? It’s a challenge that is truly testing me. Because it’s not just the little responsibilities that you feel like putting aside or times when taking a shower or brushing your teeth is your biggest accomplishment of the day. Instead, there’s somebody else very directly involved. As in this person specifically chooses to be with you, not just family, and a little more than just a friend. It’s a lot of pressure.
The problem is where to find that balance. Obviously before you can focus and take care of somebody else, you have to take care of yourself. You have to find some stable ground, or everybody will fall. And in a time where I feel precariously on the edge of just wanting to curl into a ball forever, the last thing I want to do is bring someone I love into the mix.
I’m lucky enough to have found somebody is beyond patient and understanding and caring, and I could not thank him enough. At times I feel unworthy of him because our schedules are very different and after a long day of classes, I give up on functioning. Except he is still a priority. I automatically want to isolate myself, but there’s a person here who wants and needs me. It’s two instincts in my mind directly clashing.
Like anything else in a relationship, it’s a two-way street. You yourself need to figure out how to cope and manage your health, and your partner needs to be supportive of what you need and need to avoid. Except in my case, I usually just want to avoid people in general, no matter how much I love them. In that certain mood, I act and feel like a zombie. To the public, I tend to still manage a cheerful and pleasant facade, but when it comes to the people that know me best, they see it all.
But for a significant other in this case, I almost just want to avoid that altogether. When we don’t see each other as often, the last thing I want to be when we do meet is my ugly side. The side that is simultaneously jittery and yet eternally tired, who can’t focus on anything but is hyperaware of every little detail that probably doesn’t matter. All I want to hear about is how he’s doing, except it’s hard to hear through the fog in my head.
So somewhere, I feel like it’s my responsibility to figure out how to best balance everything. My mental health is important, but so is my emotional and social health, and those are usually the aspects of wellness I toss out the window first. It’s not like I don’t love spending time with him. Heck, I want to spend a very long time with him in general, if you catch my drift. If we lived together or saw each other more often, I probably wouldn’t feel as guilty. It’d be a chance for me to breathe, really. But when it’s outside of the schedule I strictly make in my head, outside of schoolwork & across campus, it just seems daunting. Something so little. It actually disgusts me that I think that way.
Hopefully I can work things out, especially once this week is over that is jam-packed with assignments and little tasks I have to get done. After that and a long sleep, I better return to normal. I’m thinking about more than just me now, something I’m not necessarily used to. I’m so independent by nature that I don’t think too much of the times when I need a breath. Obviously during the semester I need them more often, but when college is the only place my partner & I are in the same place…it’s a challenge I wasn’t planning for, but I want to take it on. I’m going at it a little blind for that reason, and I expect to continue to make mistakes, but I’ll still keep on trying. He deserves it. I deserve it.
And for anybody else I might be scaring right now over getting into a relationship with mental illness, when you’re with the right person, it’s a challenge worth facing.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie