flowersSometimes you get so lost and fall so deep into another person’s illness, you become trapped.  Especially when you struggle with your own mental illness and it impedes your ability to take care of yourself and see things clearly. Your illness can slowly chip away at what‘s right, and make excuses for what’s wrong. You develop a high tolerance for pain or have an acute understanding for other people’s conditions because you know how hard it is to manage any mental disorder.  When bad things happen, you end up making excuses or living in denial, then one day you wake up and don’t recognize yourself, and wonder how that happened or where to start to find your authentic self.

Five years ago I met someone.  Due to a long mild depression, I had been living alone more or less in isolation from the outside world, then one day it changed.  I was watching Oprah and she was discussing the importance of visualizing yourself in a place you want to be. Whether it is physically, mentally or emotionally, you try and see yourself in new surroundings. So I visualized myself in a new environment.  I saw myself in a place with exposed brick and cement floors with just my books and my desk facing out of a window where I would write.  And it happened.  I moved to another area, met new people, and my darkest hardest love entered my life.  He was charismatic, sharp, generous, and thoughtful.  He was perfect.  As a friend.  Then one day, like most, When Harry Met Sally friendships, we crossed the line. When friendship became something else and the line turned grey, it jump started my own downward spiral to an unknown place in my being. Communication fell short, and I became hidden in the mist.  It was a place that haunted me, scared me, and loosened my fierce self.  We became a dark Romeo and Juliet.  I struggled with manic depression and he had his own demons intact. Sometimes two wrongs don’t make a right and you go back and forth and back and forth in a bipolar relationship and the fear that the next person won’t accept your mental illness or your “issues” makes you hold on. But, when it becomes toxic, it becomes lethal.  Bad things and bad behaviors happen when you cross lines with a dark Romeo and Juliet. Two star crossed lovers battling two different conditions is hard. Especially when there’s love brewing in the eye of the storm.

I’m not saying this for everyone, this is just my opinion. And the best way to rediscover your old self is to take a good look in the mirror and stop making excuses or live in denial.  It’s hard, but taking it one day at a time gives you hope.  Hope fuels change, so you keep on trekking.

Romeo and Juliet image available from Shutterstock.