“Breaking Expectations” is staff writer Danielle Allsop’s firsthand experience with living with mental illness.
Going through any breakup is difficult. The longer the relationship, the harder it is to get over.
But what about when you’re already anxiety-prone, or mentally unstable (I say this with respect, not out of stigma)? Talk about hell.
After an almost three year relationship, my boyfriend “John” and decided to call it quits. We both weren’t happy and needed to take time for ourselves. Love wasn’t enough.
Although he was very supportive and understanding of my illness, it was hard for him to completely understand what I went through. He had a hard time understanding why certain things set me off, or why I couldn’t just “deal with it.”
Descriptions, explanations, and scenarios only go so long. For any partner to completely understand, they would have to walk a mile in your shoes.
It is hard for anyone to understand what having a mental illness is like, but for your partner, the person who is supposed to love you no matter what, it’s that much harder to see you suffer, and know that sometimes, there isn’t anything they can do to make it better.
After three years, suddenly not having that person, your best friend, by your side to tell you that everything is going to be okay, and hold you as you cry because you let your anxiety take over, is devastating.
Though our differences pulled us apart, not having that one person who didn’t judge me for my faults has been really difficult. I have my family and a few friends as a support system, but he was the one who I could always count on to pull me out of a rut, to push me when I needed to be pushed, and to hug me when I couldn’t deal with life’s stresses.
However, life goes on. I can’t just lay in bed because I’m sad. Work doesn’t stop, school doesn’t stop, life doesn’t stop.
Did I sulk in bed for a few days after it happened, eating one (okay, four) pints of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream? You bet. Did I sulk longer than I should have? Probably.
Looking out for your best interests needs to be a priority. Stop worrying about being judged.
If there is one thing I learned about relationships from “John,” it was to lay everything on the table. Either they’ll accept you or they won’t. Don’t settle for someone who wants to share in your peaks, yet abandons you in your valleys.