Mental Health And Love As We Know It

Written by: Samantha

Choice: a boundary that can often be blurred by our state of mind. Or so the definition that I give says. When anxiety takes over, we lose the ability to make informed choices. As I sit here typing this now, I'm spending time with the most amazing human being I have ever met. I feel love in my heart. But there are flashbacks in my brain which are making me tired. My previous partner, the one who I thought understood me and could help me, took my freedom of choice away from me at the time when I was most vulnerable. He made my illness worse.

Anxiety manifests itself in a way that forms a cage around every aspect of our lives. It prevents us from living and feeling every single aspect of a moment, second, or day. Some people are blessed with the strength to overcome battles. Others- you, me- are not so lucky. 

I wanted to explore something very personal in this post. Something that I have only just started talking about. Mental health and love, as we know it. As I knew it. 

A lot of you will see that my previous blog posts were written about my support network. I explored happiness and how love can be our strength. Now is the moment where I take off my mask (with bravery) and tell you that it was all a facade: love that I thought was strength and a support network was unhealthy. It was easier to believe something was real and magical than realize that I was heading on a downward spiral.

Love doesn't make you suicidal. I know that now. 

For four years, I was dependent on someone else to relieve my anxiety and bring me happiness. This person knew every trigger and every aspect of my life. I loved them because my brain told me that I did. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy to try and please. To earn respect. To earn love of some form. That is the time in which I lost my freedom of choice. 

I confided in him about my health conditions and the trigger points. He said he would help me. Instead he ignored the warning lights and used my compliance to his advantage. What I couldn't see was that I was so eager to please and be loved that he would say ‘jump’ and I would say ‘how high’. I felt like he was the only one who would have me and even he wouldn't stay forever.

Every anxiety I had manifested in my soul had begun to create an illusion that was so believable I couldn't walk away.

Every anxiety I had manifested in my soul had begun to create an illusion that was so believable I couldn't walk away.

Self-destruction took over, and I prayed that I would receive affection that night. The only way I could prove my worth was through sex. He told me that not fulfilling his desires for him meant that I didn't truly love him. He threatened to walk away. In a clear state of mind I would have punched him. But I wasn't seeing things clearly: I had to make him stay and prove my worth.

The toxic cycle began. Sex with him. He had sex with whoever he wanted. He talked me into having sex with whoever he wanted me to be with. He would emotionally punish me afterwards. Telling me I had been selfish and that I owed him. When I thought I was pleasing him - I wasn't. So I began to blame myself for everything.

I began to learn that the voice in my head had begun to speak his words. My anxiety had a face. His face. Approachable and friendly on the onset; but something dark hidden behind those eyes.

What I didn't realize is that the reason my recovery had come to a halt was because of him. He didn't want me to recover.  

I remember the times he had walked away, worked his way back, called me fat, said he preferred the appearance of my best friend, told me I needed to go the gym, said I couldn't dance, said I was boring, said I was selfish and even said I was EMBARRASSING him every time we were in public. I cut myself off from the world. He became my safety net.

This voice in my head was not my mental health trying to break me, but another human being. I was in constant fear - I couldn't function. I remember the time I couldn't get myself out of bed for a week, so I took sick leave. I feel like a failure for doing that. 

I know now that it was important to take time out for myself and to allow myself to ‘feel’. I had begun to cut myself off from my emotions as a way of protecting myself. I realized that I had to grieve in order to grow stronger. Grieve I did. I mentally and physically drained myself. I let the black hole of depression swallow me up. I had faith that it would pass; and if it didn't then I would ask for help.

Something inside of me was burning and gave me strength to let these feelings pass. I felt at peace.

I realized that for as long as I feel I'm suffering - I still grow. For the days where I feel like I won't make it until lunchtime - I still grow. No matter how hard things are I am still evolving. Recovery isn't matter of a fact. It's a journey. It's a journey to get to know the person lost and ‘found’ again.

I realized that for as long as I feel I'm suffering - I still grow. For the days where I feel like I won't make it until lunchtime - I still grow. No matter how hard things are I am still evolving. Recovery isn't matter of a fact. It's a journey. It's a journey to get to know the person lost and ‘found’ again. Sure I had been knocked down during the relationship and my depression was again triggered by my experiences. But I had been knocked down before, and as I already knew, only I could rebuild myself as I had before. Brick by brick. My choice.

Today, I am learning about myself. My favorite food, color, music, and holiday. The most irrelevant little choices that make up SAMANTHA. Sure, my anxiety is still a bitch, and I face her every single day. But I am learning to separate my thoughts. 

I'm learning that I have freedom of choice.

SAMANTHA DOES. 

We all have a choice each day about whether or not we continue our battle towards wellness or put it off for a rainy day. 

In the same respect, we also need to recognize that choices we make on our 'down' days can often be the wrong ones. 

Clarity comes when we accept that it's okay to make a mistake.

Clarity comes when we own our mistakes. 

I want to tell you that even though when you feel weak and helpless; you are your own savior. Never forget that. You may think that someone can aid your recovery, but actually, no one else can. It's all  you. Whilst support networks are necessary they cannot facilitate recovery. This will be your own success story. Love yourself, warts and all; don't let the illness manifest into something bigger. Don't let someone feed your anxieties further. Make that choice. No matter where you are now - you're still growing. Give yourself grace; choose to.

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