January 31, 2013

Roisin blogs for Time to Change about depression and body dysmorphiaFocussing my mind enough to start writing has already meant that I've deleted and retyped this sentence many times; we're talking double figures here. I will look back at this blog and scoff at myself for the words I have written. My brain likes to do that. But that is me all over. Unfocused dismissive, hesitant but ultimately here.

At the risk of sounding like a lecturer, today's topic is: Relationships!

So what springs to mind with that word? Commitment, love, soul mate, companion, lust, happiness? How about: Insecurity, self-doubt, pointless arguments, paranoia and self-loathing? Not so much?

I suffer from depression and body dysmorphia...

Any relationship has its ups and downs. It's normal to bicker or be annoyed by each other and I'm certainly not trying to set myself apart. To put a label on it, I suffer from depression and body dysmorphia. My loving and kind boyfriend is constantly being questioned about who that attractive girl is that's liked his comment on Facebook (and yes, I seem to find myself scrolling through their pictures just to put the paranoia cherry on top of my self-loathing sundae).

He also is used to having his sleeve tugged at if I see a provocative advert I don't want him to look at, or better yet, putting me to bed after having a small meltdown because my brain basically over-heated and caused me to go into hysterics. The embarrassment is still there the day after having a meltdown. He is still learning what I need from him during those moments and we almost have a little feedback exercise the next day to say what worked and what didn't work – from what I can remember anyway.

Voicing these questions can take away some of their power...

None of this is particularly romantic but yet I still hold the title of girlfriend. Why? Because I damn well make sure I can give back all the love I get. Deep down I know I am worthy of this man's affections and hell, on a good day when I know my worth, I make sure I tell him! I have no doubt that what I put him through is hard but I also don't doubt that he loves me. I know that if it's getting too much he'll say and that I can openly talk to him about the stupid thoughts that pop into my head because it helps.

Voicing those questions that repeat themselves over and over in your head can take away some of their power; make them seem smaller somehow. If things are getting hard for him, his timing is sometimes awful when he chooses to shows the strain and I will react. But time just calming down and reflecting often sheds some light and realisation on the situation; often from both parties.

I would never say that being in a relationship is a cure for a mental health problem, sometimes it can make it worse. You absolutely have to be ready to put up with annoyances, sacrifices and demands (as well as giving them). Even as I type this my boyfriend is sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for my attention, having just cleared his throat. But please just know that if you want to get in or stay in that relationship and they love you; you are so worth it.

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