Happy Valentine’s Day - Or Not?
My grandparents amuse me. They believe that a “pretty girl like you should have you a boyfriend by now” and they ask “why aren’t they all after you?”.
Well Nana, well Pa, it is because I may be pretty but I am also apparently pretty unlovable.
While that may seem harsh, it makes sense. It’s not that I am unlovable, but it seems that there is a real barrier as to why I haven’t had a serious relationship (or basically…any relationship).
To me, it is because of my mental illness. That may sound like an excuse but it is probably the truth.
When all of my friends were obsessing over guys, I was obsessing over food. I was caught up in feeling such despair on my lonely planet that I barely noticed my own existence, let alone the existence of hot guys. Plus, I truly believed I was ugly and fat, in other words to me - unlovable.
My longest relationship has been a month. I mean, I beat the girl who wrote a book about never having a date. To be 28 years old, working with adolescents who have more meaningful relationships than me, well it leaves me feeling pretty pathetic- especially on Valentine’s Day. Yes, even though I do know that it’s just a day for chocolate and flower companies to make millions.
Being hospitalized over and over again from age 17-24ish did not help my love life. I had one 60 year old man fall in love and stalk me. I had another guy (sex addict) tell me all about his inappropriate tattoo - which side note, I do not believe he had for a second. The thing is, mental illness impacts your relationships and it is often left unnoticed in our patient’s plan of care.
I have heard and felt it all. I even once carved the word “broken” on my arm.
Unlovable, unwanted, broken, needing to change in order to find a partner, too much baggage.
We are loveable, we are not broken, we are wanted…
I have come to learn that before we can let anyone love us, we need to have internal acceptance of our true selves. We are not minions to our illness, we are people who can love and be loved back. We have beating hearts too!
Just a reminder this Valentine’s Day to let’s encourage our patients to understand that relationships and mental illness are not incompatible. We are all compatible for that certain someone. Yes, sure it may be a delayed process but the potential to find a soulmate is within everyone, whether you have a diagnosis of mental illness or not.