I believed I was doomed to be alone forever, until I took control of my depression.
Relationships can be difficult for everyone, but they can be even tougher when you have a mental illness, like depression. Each relationship I had suffered as partners found it difficult to be around me. They never knew which version of me they would be greeted with.
I didn’t have a serious relationship until I was twenty. I met someone on a night out and we instantly clicked. At first, it was fun and we both looked forward to seeing one another. We went out for meals and nights out dancing together, and we went on trips away together. We were happy, but it didn’t last. She told me she could no longer cope with my unpredictable moods. She had enjoyed spending time with me and could look past my irritability and low mood I had often displayed. But that now I had changed. I was no longer fun to be around and it was bringing her down. She wanted an easy going relationship but had realised now that I was too intense, too high maintenance.
I quickly found another partner, and we formed a bond online. It was a long distance relationship, We made it work and I admired her sense of humour and vibrant personality. Suddenly though, she expressed exasperation over my lack of motivation and my lack of concentration or planning that was needed to see her. My inability to listen to her concerns about my behaviour didn’t help, and she felt it was best to just be friends.
After two failed relationships in a row, that both ended because of my behaviour, I began to see my personality as flawed. I felt I was doomed to short term relationships, that sputtered out when they realised just how difficult I was to be around.
Then I met Jimi. We met online, then chatting occasionally on the phone when we decided to meet in person. We ended up having two dates in one day. Our love is bonded on all things nerdy, and our similar tastes in music and literature. Our personalities were very different, but it worked. He was a calming influence on me and taught me to be more patient. I taught him to have more confidence in himself and to be less socially awkward. He has stuck by me through some of the most difficult times in my life. When I had a breakdown and had to leave my dream job. When I’ve been terribly low and when I’ve been suicidal. He has taken it all in his stride and remained his compassionate, caring self.
Taking control of my mental health
I decided that I needed to take control and focus on my mental health to avoid another ruined relationship. It is my responsibility to look after myself. I started to go to therapy, eat well and exercise. I found therapy helped me work through how to communicate better with my partner when I was depressed and how to manage the intense feelings I was experiencing.
We’ve now been together for eight and a half years and two and a half years ago we married. My Dad summed him up in his speech when he called Jimi “a true gentleman”. I’m proud to call him my husband. It is possible to have a healthy, long term relationship with someone when you have a mental illness. I am proof of that. It’s not easy, but never settle for someone that doesn’t understand your illness. You deserve to be loved and cared for.