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.