How to heal with what I've learned?
September 9, 2013 10:07 AM Subscribe
I’ve been doing some heavy lifting lately involving my mental illness. For the first time in my life I think I’m finally facing the root cause of my problem, rather than the symptoms of depression, low self-esteem, lack of initiative, etc. More details
posted by fredmounts to human relations (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Twelve years ago I was engaged to my high-school/college girlfriend and I loved her very much. But because of my self-esteem issues and an inability to trust my own feelings, I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough for her. I broke up with my fiancée to be in a relationship with a co-worker, who I later realized would not have been appealing if it hadn’t been for my undiagnosed major depressive episode. By the time I was healthy enough to survey and appreciate the damage I had caused, my fiancée had moved on and wanted nothing to do with me.
I’ve spent the last twelve years getting healthier. I’ve learned about boundaries and what healthy relationships look like. I’m on medication for my depression and OCD and I know what it feels like when my illness makes me second-guess myself. I’ve prepared as best as possible to never again let myself behave the way I did then.
I understand why I acted the way I did. What I can’t do is get over it.
I often read stories of people who have fought through mental illness with the help of a spouse. I can’t understand how they kept their romantic relationships alive when I threw mine away. Part of the issue is that I still lived with my parents and she lived with hers, so we didn’t have that “must survive together” mentality that being on our own would have offered. We were 22 and 21 at the time, so I understand that youth played a role.
My fiancée was my first love. The relationship was always tumultuous because I was trying to balance being a loyal son and a good boyfriend. I now realize that nothing I did for my mother would have ever been enough, and that when it came time for a major life change, I broke up with the wrong person – I should have left my mother.
No matter how much I learn and heal, I can’t escape the feeling that it’s all pointless. I can never get back what was.
How do I use what I’ve learned to have a happy, fulfilling life without always being focused on what I lost? It all feels too little, much too late.
Being in a loving, committed, mature relationship with someone else doesn't seem to be doing the trick.