You’ve heard the saying before. You have to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s true. It’s 1000% true. With struggling with my own mental health while maintaining a long-term relationship, I can attest to this being the truth.
When you have a mental health diagnosis of any sort, you tend to feel like you aren’t worth it. Like you don’t deserve happiness until you can be a “normal” person. That you aren’t worthy or capable of a loving relationship with a partner who becomes your best friend. That’s certainly how I felt for a very long time until I could come to terms with the fact that 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, meaning I was as normal as they come. That’s 25% of the world’s population. That’s the entirety of the United States times 5! That was the first step for me; admitting to myself that I was perfectly normal, not crazy, not alone, and that there was help out there for me.
Before I came to this realization, I heavily relied on Kyle to be my support. At times, my only support. You really don’t realize the toll and the weight this puts on someone until they break and that’s what began to happen. I put absolutely too much pressure on Kyle to soak up all my anxiety and depression and OCD and bipolar and make it all better. Make me all better. That of course was not sustainable and the pressure started to become overwhelming for us both. It was totally unfair of me to rely on Kyle in that way, considering he’s only human and so am I. We are partners and best friends to continually pick each other up and remind each other of our worth, but it’s a partnership; not one person doing all of the heavy lifting while the other just keeps packing on the weight like I was doing to him.
There were times we weren’t sure if we would be able to continue on together. I was driving him away faster than I could even imagine and I was making him doubt his abilities as a partner at the same time. I made him feel like he wasn’t good enough or that he didn’t support me in the right ways because of how much I put on him. Of course, I never intended for this to be what happened. I love Kyle more than anything on this earth and I want him to know just how much of an impact he has had on my life, but when I couldn’t accept myself or take care of my problems like an adult, my intentions with Kyle never came across clearly. Quite the opposite actually. Might sound dramatic because we aren’t married, but you don’t have to be married or engaged or together for a year or ten years for this to be true and, honestly, I’m glad we are experiencing these things now instead of later.
Things that helped me included therapy, a few therapy sessions with Kyle, medication, exercise, changing my diet, getting more sleep, deep breathing, and taking breaks when I really needed them. I strongly recommend trying any of these remedies if you’re experiencing any of what I experienced and continue to experience.
Fast forward to today and I have turned into a very proud and outspoken mental health advocate. You read that all correctly above; I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and a mild form of Bipolar Disorder. I really hit the jackpot, I know. Some of these are more severe than others, but I have learned that, regardless, I am a worthy partner and human being. I have learned that I have to be able to accept how I am before I can expect others to do the same for me. I have to love myself before I can truly love and appreciate another person or before that person can truly love and appreciate me.
Until next time,