Not necessarily for the younger or easily offended reader…
We all have different communication styles and ways of perceiving information that comes our way. We draw from past experiences and references and interactions that have shaped how we process and assimilate information and feelings and emotions that we experience.
Depression, other mental illnesses and so many more things impact how we communicate and how others can communicate with us. There are the brutal and derogatory phrases that float around like “don’t’ stick your dick in crazy” which essentially captures the sentiment that people with mental illness are incapable of having mature, coherent and meaningful interactions because of their mental health status.
It’s a crude way of stating what is done every day. Someone who is identified as mentally ill is marginalized very often. I mean, let’s face it, loving with and being partnered with someone with a schizo-affected disorder isn’t easy. Neither is living with someone with OCD that controls their lives. Even “just” depression puts huge strains on a relationship and even the most amazingly supportive partner(s) will run out of what it takes to dance that dance. PTSD has a knack for tossing grenades of hell into a seemingly great day or moment just for the hell of it with no rhyme or reason – that always makes for fun. It clouds a person’s ability to sequence thoughts and formulate emotional reactions at times. Everyone is affected differently by any myriad of mental illness.
I can attest that living with depression and PTSD is exhausting. It’s a rollercoaster that you don’t want to be on and that you are so sorry when you look around and see that the seats are filled with other people being dragged along.
Being in the life of a partner who has a mental illness is a daunting task. Dealing with emotional swings and drops is one thing but just watching what the person afflicted is going through is hard too. I used to cry just watching how much pain Willie was in with his mental illness… and that I couldn’t fix it. Now being the one who has partners and friends who I see are dealing with me – the guilt and self hatred for what I put them through is horrible. The urge to isolate and just not be around anyone gets overwhelming sometimes.
I have always considered myself a good communicator and someone who not only listens well but also is able to express myself clearly and rationally and with a lot of thought given to making sure that I’m not clouding communication with emotions rather than getting what needs to be conveyed out there. Recently a partner brought to my attention that because of my PTSD and depression, there are “ways” to communicate with me that will take into account how those issues affect my ability to communicate. Does this mean that I’m not actually able to communicate and interact as well as I think I am? AM I living in a delusion that I am a functional partner in a relationship? Maybe the fears and worries I have that I am the problem is true – regardless of how many times they try to assure me that I’m not.
This has made me think … was my original thought last year that I am too damaged and “broken” to be in a relationship accurate? If there is a “way” that I need to be handled and communicated with so that I don’t fuck up communication in a relationship…. Should I even try? Maybe I should be keeping it at light and fluffy and friends with benefits rather than trying to establish and maintain a committed relationship.
I ask myself if I have been deluding myself that I do communicate well… maybe my own judgement is so altered by depression and ptsd that I actually AM the problem in relationships and that maybe the “don’t stick your dick in crazy” isn’t such a bad idea after all. Maybe I am too “crazy” to be on the receiving end of said member. Not that any of my relationships are at that point anyways… I am still too messed up to get that close to anyone.