Overwrought by uncontrollable tears. I’m lying in the bath feeling alone and desperately sad.
My boyfriend who was living with me simply didn’t ‘do’ emotion, or ‘my’ emotion at least. He would dismiss my feelings, ignore me when he got home at night, telling me he needed quiet time.
He had chosen a lively, talkative young woman as his girlfriend, full of love, life and gusto, however, it didn’t take long for him to find these attributes too much for him to handle.
I look back on this particular relationship with a lot of disappointment. He wasn’t kind to my heart and didn’t care for my emotional wellbeing.
I had no idea I had bipolar disorder; it went undiagnosed for many more years. I was a happy outgoing 21yr old, living it up in London. I found ways to self-soothe, build my confidence and enhance my life; I was an addict. I used alcohol, drugs and men to fulfil my needs to make myself feel better. I had operated like this for a long time, but it was at an all-time high when I moved to London that year.
From the outside, I looked like I had it together. I managed a Hairdressing Salon in London and I had my own flat. I was an explorer; I travelled many places both with friends or on my own. I was a chatterbox who never had trouble making friends. I partied hard and was always in the middle of a damn good time. From the outside, I looked like a confident young woman making the most of being young and free.
On the inside. I woke most days feeling like utter rubbish. I would call home nearly every morning alternating between my best friend, my Mum, and my Dad. That was how I started my day. I guess living alone had its disadvantages but I felt living with a stranger would be equally problematic.
I socialised a lot. I would go out and have a great time and boost myself the best way that I knew how. I always had a great time. People only saw the ‘fun’ Bex. But the next morning I would wake up feeling terrible again.
Over the years that low feeling in the morning fluctuated, and one of those points was where I started this post when my boyfriend was living with me. It was morning, I was trying to get myself together so I could go to work. I was lying in the bath sobbing, not just trickling tears, chest heaving sorrow. That morning, my boyfriend popped his head in and said: “I’m going”. I asked him “do you have to go right now?”, I was desperate for some love and kindness. He grumbled and left. He didn’t even acknowledge my emotional state. The after effects of that gesture were everlasting and corroded what little love we had left.
When I think of the lowest times in my life, that one always jumps to mind quickly. It was an awful situation I had myself in. Our relationship had been on and off due to his inability to decide if he loved me or not.
Everything I have done in my life I can look back on and see what I gained from it, often it is a lesson. I don’t have regrets, cause I see no point in regrets. It’s self-damaging. I own my mistakes and learn from them. So what did I learn from this man? It wasn’t as much as I have learned from other relationships, I will say that, but I have never ever since then been in any type of relationship where I am not valued and cared for. To have let him walk away from me that morning like my emotional wellbeing meant nothing to him, and then return that night and sleep in my bed, was me accepting behaviour that was damaging to who I was.
I do recognise that perhaps it was hard to live with me back then. I lived on a daily emotional rollercoaster and didn’t realise how incredibly messed up I was nor that I had a mental illness. Half of me was the picture of a fun, hot, sexy girlfriend, and the other half was a hot mess. Either way, illness or no illness, I accepted him dismissing me, and I own that. We were not a match made in heaven.
When we have a mental illness we generally feel unworthy of love. We feel like the biggest burden on earth, and sadly that is often the reason people commit suicide, they believe their loved ones would be better off without them. This is how we can end up in relationships that treat us less than we deserve. We either cannot see we deserve more and just take what we are getting, or we aren’t in the headspace to make a positive change for ourselves and NOT accept it.
A person who loves you completely will continue to support you through it and keep showing you that you ARE worthy.
That was at a very turbulent time of my life, and the height of my addictions. It is now, 17 years on that the story is incredibly different. I gained a beautiful life by dealing with the addictions and the underlying reason why I was self-soothing and I remain stable by using healthy coping skills, taking medication and by keeping my wellness as balanced as I can.