Did I lose the love of my life because of my mental illness?
Perhaps, I was naïve to believe in true love – finding the person who is compatible with you physically, emotionally and intellectually.
Blake seemed The One. Everything came together.
A few short months after we met we celebrated New Year at the local waterfront fireworks under a blue moon.
I was completely besotted.
In retrospect, I was burning the candle at both ends. Working shift work full time, and enjoying as much of my awake time as possible with Blake: this was a quick road to my downfall, but I didn’t notice.
I was on top of the world. I was working and renting my own place. Further, I had a working, professional, handsome, caring boyfriend – people could see I was doing well. Everything in my life seemed perfect. I had a future.
And then I noticed it was falling apart at work.
Once again everyone hated me. I stayed on Blake’s couch that night. Next morning he took me home. He was part of it. I rang him while he was at work the next morning. ‘You won’t see me again.’
I took all my tablets and felt myself falling into unconsciousness. Would Blake come? I doubted it. He wanted me dead, as everyone else. I was upstairs in my bed. It seemed a while for me to finally pass out, but I didn’t want to turn back.
The next thing I know, Blake was shaking me.
‘What have you taken?’
Incredibly groggy I showed him my empty tablet cases. He took them and put them in his pocket.
‘Up you get. I’m taking you to hospital.’
‘But you’re at work. Why did you come?’
‘I was worried after last night and what you said this morning.’
‘You don’t want me dead?’
‘No. Of course I don’t.’
I don’t remember what happened after this. Next I remember being in an emergency bed screaming at a senior psychiatrist’s retreating figure, ‘Just let me die, if you hate me that much!’
Despite our short time together, despite my suicide attempt, Blake stayed and supported me through the death of my father. And he wanted to share his life with me. He proposed to me in gardens in Paris.
We decided to complete our happiness. Marriage before a child was not essential for either of us. Since we were older we just agreed ‘Go for it!’
Blake went with me to numerous meetings to discuss suitable medication to have a safer pregnancy. I had to stop Epilum and started Seroquel (my namesake). Seroquel made me want to sleep just about 20 hours a day.
Blake did say to me he expected me to work to help bring in money.
I started doing voluntary work and much to my surprise they really liked me and my work. As a result the manager developed an employment role for me. It was full time and the manager refused to make the position part time, despite talking with my case manager. It was also a controversial role because it meant taking some of the role away from another worker.
I signed the employment contract one day and the manager was on a two week holiday the next.
This stressful situation wasn’t an environment I thrived in. The manager criticised how I handled the controversial aspect of my work on her return. Rather than refusing to let such a hard won position slip from my fingers, I was angry and paranoid. I couldn’t think about the situation in a rational light. I was adamant I would not go back. Blake was furious with me.
It’s easy to see now I was very emotional during the pregnancy because I wasn’t being stabilised by the optimum medication for me. I’ve also been told that I have borderline personality “tendencies” which I wasn’t aware of at the time and so I wasn’t using techniques to modify my immediate responses.
I loved my pregnancy – the rest of my life maybe not so much…
Years on and I still find it difficult to accept that Blake and I were not meant to be.
Someone said it was understandable that he left me when my mental health was unstable. Is that what you say to someone whose partner leaves them when they develop cancer?
What is your experience with relationships? Do you have a partner? Do you find your partner generally supportive?
Now I’m not going to leave you thinking I’m simply pining for the father of my daughter. I do. But it’s not the whole story.
He was judgemental and I appreciate my own space to be who I want to be. I am good enough and maybe one day I’ll come across someone who wants to be good enough with me.
Being alone is far better than always feeling you don’t measure up.
A fellow blogger, Aidan O’Connell on his post 18 People tell me why they won’t date someone with mental illness, has done the footwork to find out people’s beliefs about dating someone with mental illness. The findings are fairly unsurprising (as the title suggests) yet Aidan’s response to them is heartening.
From my twitter and blogging experiences, there are obviously those with mental illnesses who have found a supportive and loving long-term partner.
So while I am not overly optimistic, I haven’t lost all hope of maybe meeting that someone special.