Me and My Mental Illness – Relationships Part 3

I like to think that I am easy to get along with. I am getting over my trust issues and do my best to take people at face value. Where I used to let people walk all over me (hence the lack of trust), I now am able to see that they are taking advantage and either stop it or choose to ignore it.

So, why am I letting people or situations get to me lately? I got upset when a friend didn’t take things I said the way I meant it and when my husband was trying to help me do something I thought I could do myself.

I see other “old” traits of mine happening all over again such as procrastinating on promises to other people, getting sick when I have responsibilities to others, feeling anger and not being able to identify the source, wanting to binge on food I shouldn’t have at all. These are all symptoms that I know well. They belong to my bipolar mood swings, food intolerances and low self-esteem.

Why am I falling back into these patterns? I really have no idea. The “old” me would blame it on others – it must be them, it surely can’t be me! Or I would just chalk it up to the fact that I have mental illness and can’t help myself. Well that is pure B.S. Just the fact that I have come so far despite my illnesses and have changed both my attitude and opinion of myself speaks for the fact I can help myself and have.

Whatever is going on is NOT about my relationships with other people. It is my relationship with my moods, pain and other conditions. How can you have a relationship with something intangible like poor health? That’s just it. Health is as tangible as the paper a prescription for it is written on.

There is a lot of talk about “invisible diseases”. However, they are only invisible to those who do NOT suffer from them. My bipolar, OCD and fibromyalgia are as real to me as a cast is on a broken leg.

Someone asked me recently how I dealt with joy. Do my mood swings hinder me from truly experiencing the joy of a situation for fear that I may go manic? It was a very good question. In the days when I did not have control over my moods, this could indeed be a problem. I remember wanting a guy I worked with to like me so bad that I fantasized that he really did. So afterwards, I started reeling in my emotions to a point where I wouldn’t let myself get too happy. Now, I have a better understanding of how the mood swings work and I am able to feel true emotions without worrying as much that they will get out of hand. But that is not to say I am not still mindful of it.

On top of all of that we can throw in some chronic pain for good measure! Fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis are two ailments that cause great pain in many parts of the body. Through chronic pain clinics and life experience (not to mention a strict regime of medications) I have learned how to manage the pain and allow myself to live a fairly normal life. However, if I get an acute pain such as a toothache, or as happened last year appendicitis and gall stones, it is very difficult to deal with it all at once. So my relationship with pain is one of give and take. If I give it even a chance to get out of control, it will take it!

Pain and mental illness are very jealous partners – they really don’t want to allow the person to have a life outside of them. But once you learn how to take control, it gets easier to keep it. It just takes a positive attitude and the will to stay in charge of your life.

So, why am I allowing illness to take control of our relationship? To be honest, I think I have just been tired and frustrated. I will admit that this is one relationship I would like to end in divorce, but I know it will never happen. I just need to let it know who is boss!

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