Relationships can be hard, especially if you suffer from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness. Don’t worry though, I’ve accumulated a list of tips that I’ve learned during my current relationship in order to help!
1. Look presentable and clean up nicely for the first few dates.
- Because we all know you’re not gonna have any energy or motivation to even brush your teeth in the future, so at least let them know that you are capable of looking nice sometimes. Also, they’ll have good pictures of you to show their friends despite you feeling (and consequently, looking) like shit most of the time.
2. Worry! A LOT. Here’s a list of suggestions of things to worry about:
- Them getting fed up and leaving you because of that time you were sad for no reason and thought they were frustrated even though they really weren’t. Because, let’s face it, no matter what they say, the likelihood of people being able to tolerate your shit is probably pretty low, right?
- If they’ll like that bracelet you made them because you don’t know if you’re being overly sentimental with your gifts. What if they don’t like it? Did you get the colour scheme all wrong? Does it–well fuck, you made it too big. Now you have to make another one.
- How often you say “I love you” and tell them cheesy, sentimental things. Like how you really appreciate everything they do for you. And then you worry about whether they’ll start getting desensitized to it, then bored, then annoyed. Hell, even start worrying about if saying “good morning” is getting old. That must be annoying, right? To get a “good morning” and an “I love you” every. fucking. morning. Who would wanna wake up to that every day?
- If you’re bothering them. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing. You might not even be talking to them. You might not even be in the same city as them. You’re still probably bothering them. Oh, and don’t get me started on if you want to Skype them. Like, why would they want to waste their bandwidth on you and your shitty Internet when they could be on Netflix?
- If you’re a burden to them. You already find your own mental struggles extremely taxing, so they must be really fucking shitty to impose on someone else, eh? They’re probably approaching their tolerance threshold and only putting up with your shit because they’re nice.
3. Blame yourself for everything. Literally everything.
- Because how could your significant other possibly have been at fault when they’re so perfect compared to you? Even if they fucked up somehow, you’re still probably at greater fault than they are, so apologize profusely. Apologize to the point that they may just start getting cheesed at you for apologizing so much even though they’ve already said it’s okay. Then you know you’ve said sorry enough times. Say it one more time to be sure.
4. Never EVER think you’re worthy of anything.
- You know that quote from The Perks Of Being A Wallflower? “We accept the love we think we deserve”? Well your partner is really amazing and you feel like you’re quite the opposite so that saying must not be true then, right? You don’t deserve their love, nor their concern, nor their time. You don’t wanna go thinking too highly of yourself. That would just make you conceited. Your partner just feels bad for you; that’s why they’re being so nice.
5. Co-dependency is key.
- You finally found someone willing to pretend to care, so latch on to them like there’s no tomorrow, because they’re gonna want to back out whenever possible. They actually make you feel happy despite the cloud of shit in your brain, so what’s the point of trying to be happy by yourself if you have someone to do it for you?
6. Assume that your partner’s parents, friends, bosses/profs, dog, etc. secretly don’t like you.
- Because they probably think you’re a bad influence or an obstruction to their aspirations. Not to mention that they definitely think their son/friend/employee/student/owner deserves someone better than you. Refer back to tip #4!
7. The most important thing to remember is that your partner is at least slightly, if not completely, delusional.
- All the things they say about how happy you make them, how you’ve shown them what love really is, and how they couldn’t ask for a better partner are probably all manifestations of that delusion. Especially if you’ve talked with them about getting engaged, or married, or having kids. How crazy would that be? They must be insane. It’s the only explanation.
Clearly, it’s not that easy being in a relationship when you have a mental illness (granted, I have exaggerated on quite a few of the points above). But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a shot, especially when love can be so spontaneous and unexpected. You don’t choose who you love, when it happens, or how it happens. However, it’s important to remember that your world is bigger than your relationship; your partner shouldn’t be a crutch. But they can be a shoulder to cry on when you need it (and primarily a ray of light in a dark, dark world). And while it’s possible to feel like you’re entirely dependent upon them, it’s equally as natural to fear that feelings are not reciprocated. But it’s true: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And you deserve it.
Herro! I’m a student going into my second year at the University of Toronto studying Psychology and Neuroscience, with a little bit of History and Philosophy of Science thrown in the mix. I’m an executive member of the clubs Active Minds UofT and AFTER UofT, and I contribute to other mental health advocacy efforts on campus. I’m also a bubble tea barista, an avid podcast listener, and I kinda wanna get back into graphology again. I have depression, generalized anxiety, and a slight lactose sensitivity 🙂