Unpopular Opinion.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a long time.  Partly because it’s really personal, but partly because I know this is not the right ‘party line’.

I do not deserve to be loved.  Do not deserve a relationship.  This is because having cyclothymia makes me a bad person who is unpleasant to be around and takes a lot more than I can give.

Why do I think this? In a word: experience.

I had a fairly long term relationship whose ending was, in large part, hastened by my ex’s unwillingness to live with my mood swings any longer.  When we got together, she was concerned and upset to learn I had such low moods and used to do everything she could to help – offer me a compassionate ear, surprise me with little trinkets to cheer me up, hold me close as I cried.  As time went by, she grew impatient.  Why was I occasionally self harming ? Why did I wake up in the morning with a black cloud over my head with no explanation why? Why didn’t CBT ‘fix’ (her word) me? Why did I hate myself which such violence and merrily embark on an argument about how justified that self loathing was if she tried to refute it? Why didn’t I warn her I was going to be unhappy? Why did lack of sleep turn me into a bear with a sore head?

At the time our relationship finally ended, I didn’t have a diagnosis of cyclothymia.  I had been rigorously pursuing help via the endless bureaucracy of the NHS, I had been working to recognise what made everything worse and what helped, but I had come to realise it was going to be a matter of managing, not curing, whatever was wrong with my mood.  She was not willing to live with that.  So she went elsewhere and found a woman who wasn’t mad.  Months later, she finally broke it off with me.

I recently read Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive after seeing it recommended on Buzzfeed. I didn’t care for it – beyond the “on a long enough time line, it’ll get better” advice there wasn’t much in it.  What struck me was that the primary reason Haig has to stay alive is the unwavering and patient support of his now-wife.  She sits and waits for his depression to pass, she listens to him talk, she accepts that perfectly ordinary things represent overwhelming sources of anxiety and he can’t always face them, she supports him financially whilst he is unwell, she loves him without condition.

This seems absurd to me.  How can anyone ask that of someone? How can anyone accept that sort of support from their partner when they are being so utterly unloveable?

I’m single  I’ve been single almost constantly since the aforementioned relationship ended 6 and a half years ago.  I had one 3 month relationship and one 2 monther since then.  When do you tell a new partner you’re nuts? What do you do when your mood plummets? What do you do when, in the first flush of passion and excitement, you wake up one morning at their place feeling utterly wretched? (My solution has been to dress-and-run with vague excuses about having an appointment and then disappearing for a day or two).  When do you reveal that the reason you are single at 32 is because you are a dreadful human being so much of the time? A boring, argumentative, self-centred, miserable puddle of self loathing and hopelessness.

Because, when all is said and done, that’s who I am with cyclothymia when my mood plummets. My speech and thought is slow and circular.  Anxiety sometimes accompanies that low making me irrational, irritable and paranoid.  I wake up in cold sweats from nightmares (my ex used to complain a lot about my nightmares and sweats, and the sweats I got as a side effect on various medications) – not a nice person to be in bed with.

You have to be superhuman the rest of the time to make being with that depressed person worthwhile, and frankly, that is beyond me.

So, I am alone.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Unpopular Opinion.

  1. Kimberly Fitch

    Does it make it better that I identify so well with your words? I want to be filled with joy at reading that I am not alone, but this is not the truth. The truth underlying all of this is a kind of desperate aloneness even within the understanding that another has the same feelings. I have been married, 4 times. Although I have experienced the happiness of a relationship at all times there is a feeling of doom, of the ultimate demise of a relationship built mostly on a foundation of me at my peak, when I am all knowing and all powerful so to speak. The deep foreboding that hovers just out of reach is a constant reminder of the permanent flaw in the fiber of my being. That I am committing trickery to get love. That I know, given time, they will know that I am impossible to please, I am impossible to predict, and in short… I am impossible. Even in a marriage (mirage?) I suffer alone. For what it’s worth, thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and life with a disorder that makes us almost lovable, but not quite.

  2. I was going to respond but Charley expressed what I wanted to say perfectly. I believe that, – both as a sometime sufferer of depression and the husband of someone who is often depressed.

    Again it’s a cliche but I do believe that everyone deserves happiness, and there will be a compassionate someone out there for you who will love you for who you are – they will cherish the good and feel the bad is worth it.

  3. I’m feeling like my response is a little biased, but I understand your frustration. I’ve only had one long term relationship, which is the one Im still in. Neither of us knew I had cyclothymia until ten years in. It puts a huge amount of weight and responsibility on her. I can’t change but she can – shit like that. There are days when both of us think I’d have a better life if on my own, not to mention her. But when it’s good it’s good, and i guess we figure that’s enough.

    I get what you’re saying about feeling like you burden or ask too much of someone. But ruling it out as a possibility is like saying cripples shouldn’t love nor blind people nor anyone else that is more “burdensome” than “normal” people. Compassion and love are two of the few things worth having. Society pushes money, status and looks. That’s all that matters to some, but not all. There are loads of good people who are just here to live and try to be happy without getting caught up in the mainstream.

    If someone truly loves you, they will stand by you. Cliche – yes, but true nonetheless. But you have to do your part. Don’t embrace your illness. Don’t become it. Fight it and let them see that you are fighting it. I’m not saying you haven’t done these things. I’m saying that this is your contribution. They will have to understand there is no fix. But that’s okay. There’s a reason deaf, dumb and blind people still find love. It’s because there are people out there who see beyond others’ limitations and faults. When you are good, you are great. That’s what lovers of cyclos see and understand. It’s worth it to them. And that’s okay.

    I get that you are probably in a down, and that sucks. Maybe you aren’t, I don’t know. All I would tell you is to just respect that for some people love really is blind. Respect yourself and understand that you have qualities that attract people to you. There’s a reason you had those relationships. People obviously like you. Let them love you. Let them be burdened. If they don’t want to be they will tell you or show you.

    Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox. Just hang in there and don’t write yourself off as some crazy person that is allergic to relationships.

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