At some point, when a person with mental illness is in a close and personal relationship of any kind, they begin to wonder and worry about the fortitude of the relationship. How many times will this person be willing to listen to me talk about my fear/sadness/anger/etc? How long will this person hang around while I’m sad? How often will this person dry my tears or help calm my nerves? How many nights will my partner sit on the couch next to me because I don’t want to do anything else? At what point will my lack of reason, irritability, sadness, and misplaced anger send this person running?
I can almost guarantee that every single person with mental illness has had or will have thoughts similar to these. Trusting people with the full weight and depth of mental illness is terrifying and extremely difficult to do even once, let alone on an ongoing basis, whether it be with friends, lovers, immediate family, or anyone else. I think I know that you would rather not talk about it. I think that you would prefer if I pretended it didn’t exist, because then you could too. I am afraid that you will not love me, want to spend time with or talk to me, or even see me ever again.
This makes me hesitant to tell you the truth when you ask me how I’m doing. Even if I know you are sincerely asking. I don’t want to burn you out. If I am not having a particularly bad day, I am inclined to fib a little. I don’t want to waste your willingness to listen on a less than devastating day. I don’t want to wear you out.
All of this makes relationships even more difficult and can make communication one-sided or non-existent. I often find myself swallowing what I’m really feeling or thinking when E asks me how I’m doing or how my day was. My reasoning is that there are only so many times he can come home and have me burst into tears before he can’t stand it any more.
I wrote a couple of days ago about the necessity of patience in my relationships. That post and today’s post are reminders that everyone needs courage and faith in relationships. I have to trust you when you say you love me. I need faith that you will stay the course of our relationship. I must have the courage to tell you the truth as often as possible. And we all need to remember to be kind to one another.
I finished these socks.
I have a new sock.
Recognize the yarn? Yeah, it was supposed to be the Guggeren Muetze, which is a gorgeous hat and a gorgeous pattern written for someone who doesn’t knit with a death grip like I apparently do. I wasn’t knitting it because I was dreading the finger cramping cables, so it was frogged and these were cast-on. I’m trying my hand at writing my own pattern for these. Wish me luck.
I’m going to replace my couch with this teddy bear.