A Note On Emotional Stability And Mental Illness

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About a week ago I wrote a piece about my husband. I’m definitely not here to take back anything that I wrote, but I will admit that I fibbed a bit.

Aleks DOES support me, and love me, and make my life wonderful. But this morning we got into a “fight” (I rarely call our loud discussions fights- we mostly just yell out our concerns until something gets solved.) and I realized something. I do not feel 100% safe in my relationship. I don’t know how anyone feels 100% about anything, I find that nearly impossible, but this isn’t a fault on my husband’s part, or my marriage by any means.

The more I explored it on my own, the more I felt like it was something I needed to share.

My husband – and arguably a lot of other people in my life- see me as a very brave, very strong, determined, independent person. I really don’t like excuses, or lack of accountability. I feel like there is answer for everything. So when, I wake up and lay in bed crying for upwards of an hour with no real explanation to give, that is really challenging scenario for my partner.

I grew up in a house where mental illness was no doubt talked about, but not well understood. It was also an environment where things like depression, or bi-polar disorder, or even loss were used as an excuse for causing hurt. I don’t accept that. Another thing I have a hard time accepting are words like no or can’t or won’t. Just because struggle with things that some people don’t understand doesn’t mean I can’t do something or I won’t do something, or that my behavior is excusable.

That being said, I push it away. I push away my depression, and my anxiety, and anytime I “feel sad for no reason”, I hope with everything in my heart that it will just go away. I don’t want to ever hurt or impact anybody in a bad way because of something that I feel. Unfortunately, there are going to be days where I wake up and I just can’t wish or pretend it away.

I have had vivid, painful, real thoughts about hurting myself. I have been so thoroughly engulfed in sadness that I feel like I can’t stand up on my own. While I don’t see this is as a weakness on my part, I do see these sentences as things I cannot just simply say outloud.

It’s very difficult to wake up next to someone who I love and admire and respect and say: “Hi I literally feel like I want to die. I feel like my insides are crumbling apart. I feel like I want to punch something and cry and scream and I can’t stop it.”

I have nothing but admiration for people who openly talk about mental illness, and I myself have nothing to hide, but I am ashamed sometimes. I’m disappointed in myself. I’m mad at myself. I just want to feel better. I want to feel NORMAL.

I know that there is medication that exists that could take this all away, and maybe make my life easier for my friends and loved ones, but I just won’t go there…at least not yet. I don’t want to make excuses. I know that my husband, and my friends, and my mom just don’t understand. And that’s totally okay. Creating a safe space for me to hurt is not their responsibility. My vulnerability and balance is on me.

I guess I just want everyone to know, whether they have a support system or not, or whether they struggle with mental illness or not, that it’s okay to feel lost and shitty and ashamed. And that there are going to be people who love you SO much that still won’t get it. They have no idea how you feel.

It doesn’t mean I love these people any less, or think of my relationship any less. It’s going to be a challenge for us for the rest of our lives.

I guess I’d just say to those of us who are putting on a good face 90% of the time, we really need a hug and love and comfort for that other 10%- but the chances of us asking for it are almost nonexistent. Because we are scared and maybe a little ashamed.

Not really sure how to wrap this one up? 😉

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An Uncomfortably Emotional Letter To My Husband On His Birthday

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Unfortunately, as good as I am at getting my feelings down in black and white, saying them out loud without sounding sarcastic (no,that shirt looks REALLY good on you) or condescending is nearly impossible. So, on the anniversary of my husband’s 28th trip around the sun, I decided to write him a little something. Feel free to use any of my lovely words for your own special someone- just don’t forget to give me credit.

Dear Aleks,

Happy birthday! Your birth is probably one of my favorite things that has ever happened. I am so insanely grateful that our paths crossed and you became my husband. It is bizarrely easy for me to picture us as parents, as semi-functional middle-aged adults, and even as old people. I think about taking care of you as a funny old man and it makes me smile. I never thought that I would experience such a peaceful, honest love the way I do with you.

I am so proud of all that you take on, from your music, to your acting, to your insane work ethic- you are a tornado of talent and I am so impressed with your energizer bunny-like momentum. The accomplishments and goals I have seen you reach in such a short period of time are nothing short of amazing.

They always say opposites attract, and while I think our humor, our values, and our hearts are extremely similar, you are my polar opposite in all the best ways. You are so wonderfully social, outgoing, brave, patient, and full of life. You make every person that you encounter feel valued. You always listen, you always include, and you are one of the most generous people I know. Thank you for helping me come out of my shell (I had suffered from crippling social anxiety for years and it had damaged many, many relationships and my own self esteem), I couldn’t have done it without you.

I am constantly impressed with your love for the female energy. I have never met a man so respectful, so understanding, and so patient with a woman as crazy as me. Thank you for allowing me to feel so brave and safe. I think in the past I tended to tone down my femininity, my intellect, and my pain for men. You encourage every part of me, or at least tolerate it with a smile, which is pretty damn impressive.

When I am with you, I feel like I’m with my brother. I know that sounds creepy and totally not romantic, but what I mean is, I’m so completely myself. I don’t feel judged, or like I’m trying to be impressive, or interesting, or whatever. I feel comfy and warm; I feel like I have a love that’s unconditional, which is something I’ve never felt that from someone outside of my family.

Thank you for encouraging my intelligence. My thirst for knowledge and love of books was a safe space I retreated to alone for most of my life. I never really had a lot of friends, and it was hard for me to feel good about myself for a long time. You fell in love with my mind, you listen to me, you never cease to remind me of how smart I am, and continue to build me up when I feel like I’ve failed.

You always remind me not to keep score. You’ve taught me patience, and graciousness, and a love that speaks volumes. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me insanely angry, but you’re slowing down for me, you’re sitting still with me, and I feel very lucky.

For a girl who has spend most of her life being harsh and weirdly angry, you have no idea how rewarding it is to hear people tell me that I look happy. Since I met you, I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone, I’ve tried new things, and I’ve found some of the most rewarding successes in my young life. My relationships with my friends and family have improved, and the shitty, heavy fortress that blocked my heart away for what felt like so long is starting to be broken away.

I know that I’m going to piss you off a lot. I know I fall asleep really early, I know I make too much noise in the morning, I know that I nag you. But I love you more than I ever thought I could love anybody. And even though I’m really bad at showing it, I hope you know how happy you make me and how grateful I am for your big heart. I’m so genuinely happy that you’re my husband. You’re my best friend, and I am so excited to share my life with you!

Thank you for being born. I’m so happy you exist(: I hope you have the best birthday ever- you deserve it!

I love you,

Kalee