Mental Illness and Relationships Part 1 of 3

The legendary Greek Philosopher, Aristotle once said, “humans are by nature a social animal.” We build relationships for our well-being. As for me, with a mental disability, I have struggled with relationships throughout life. Because mental illness is an invisible disability, building relationships is like a blind man navigating the world. There were many contributing factors to this struggle of building relationships. As my ever so changing mood fluctuated, so does my trust and sometimes paranoia has affected it too. Often, when I did not feel good about myself, I took it out on others. I repelled potential friends because I was so negative. Maintaining a good and stable relationship with friends and family was challenging to handle. Even more so with a romantic partner.

As a result of childhood emotional and physical abuse and declining emotional stability, I was prone to settling with abusive partners. Before my diagnosis, I thought that this is normal for everyone. My first boyfriend was a great guy. Things happened, including my big move here in Canada. There were 16 of us Filipino nurses who came to Alberta and we all met at the airport and rode the same plane. I made friends with these fantastic people, we lived together in groups and have made the transition of moving into a foreign land less difficult. My long-distance boyfriend and I grew apart until he found someone else that led to our break-up.

I couldn’t eat for almost a month. I drank Ensure to compensate with the skipped meals. My roommate Lynch and another friend let’s call her Grace in this story (both amongst the 16 nurses), helped me get through this break-up. This experience was one of the significant mountains in my life. Lynch and I went out of town to a rock-band concert to the big city called Calgary following the break-up. We planned this trip for me to get over the break-up, and for both of us to have a little scape. I was ecstatic at that concert party, dancing and jumping up and down. Lynch laughed at me and told me that I was acting wild, but I encouraged her to dance too and have fun. We had a blast. I wore make-up and dressed up those days to compensate with what I felt. I felt like someone else. That time I didn’t know what it means to be manic.

Although I have studied it in a nursing textbook what is mania, I did not know the feeling of how it is to be like one. I have arranged parties with my friends in Alberta. I distracted myself with material things. All of these were the ways I knew of getting back to my feet and divert the pain I felt. I ran away from the feeling of rejection, sadness and the loss of a loved one. Due to low self-esteem, undealt emotions and a history of abuse as a child, this led me to a toxic relationship.

This article is the first part of 3. I changed the names of the people involved in this article for privacy reason. Please tune in for more. I would love to know your thoughts about this topic on the comment section below.

Love you all!