My Boyfriend Made Me Feel Loved When I Found It Hard To Love Myself

My Boyfriend Made Me Feel Loved When I Found It Hard To Love Myself

I realized someone can still love me despite my mental illness.

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I was diagnosed with my first mental illness when I was 20. I saw my doctor, started taking meds, and briefly did some therapy before returning to college for my junior year. I met my now-boyfriend the first weekend back, and we instantly clicked. things were so easy. They just felt right.

The only problem was that I was terrified to tell him that I was struggling; that I was setting up appointments at the counseling center and with a psychiatrist. My friends at the time tried to talk me into keeping my anxiety a secret, that it would be too much baggage and that he'd want to leave when he found out I wasn't "perfect."

I decided to tell him anyway. He was so completely understanding it took my breath away. He walked me to my first counseling appointment, holding my hand and introducing himself to my therapist. I couldn't believe that I had this amazing guy who not only wanted to be with me, but also was so supportive of my struggles. I felt really lucky.

Things were not always easy, especially in the beginning when I really didn't have the words to speak about how I was feeling. There were many nights where I just cried, and he sat with me, so patient, even though he didn't really understand what I was going through. There have been times that we've gotten frustrated with each other because he can't help me if he "doesn't know what's going on." And yet, he never once left or made me feel more alone.

I think our communication has improved tenfold since I've been in therapy and treatment. We've both come to realize that he doesn't have to totally understand what's going on to be supportive, and I've come to recognize that he's my person, and telling him what I feel and what I need isn't a burden.

Through my most recent relapse this past winter, I really saw just how challenging and straining mental illness can be on a relationship. I was so scared to tell anyone besides my treatment team that I was struggling, so I kept things a secret from my boyfriend. He obviously was more intuitive than that, though, and knew I was having a hard time again with food. He'd call or text me throughout the day, asking if I'd had breakfast, what I had for lunch, how my day was going. This kind of gentle support made the biggest difference, where I felt like I wasn't alone, and I knew I had someone to keep me accountable to my recovery.

There are still the hard days. I think the most challenging part of dating with a mental illness is realizing that someone else can love you deeply, even if you're having a tough time loving yourself. This extends through my eating disorder, which constantly tells me I'm not good enough for anyone and that my body is not attractive to anyone, especially my partner.

Nick has been the best partner in crime through my recovery, assuring me that my eating disorder is lying to me and that he can love me enough for both of us, while I'm working on getting there myself. I know that my mental illnesses aren't the easiest to deal with, but I think we've become a stronger team because of everything we've conquered--together.

Three years later, I'm happily in love with this wonderful human, and in the best place mentally that I've ever been in. I don't think that's a coincidence, and for all of the support always, I am beyond thankful.

Cover Image Credit:

Photo credit: Charlotte Kurz

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11 Lies Your Anxiety Tells You Daily, And How To Combat Them

"Hello, I'm anxiety here to ruin your day with thoughts you can't control."

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"Hello, I'm anxiety here to ruin your day with thoughts you can't control."

For those of those who suffer from anxiety disorders, thoughts are often the root of the problem. Whether it be reliving negative experiences or memories, the worst case scenario, or simply worrying about what other people think of you, these thoughts normally seem perfectly logical to you at the moment.

Even if you recognize they aren't, it can be hard to roll back those thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. This list contains common thoughts among anxiety suffers as well as my own thoughts and how I have learned to combat them.

I am not a professional. I am simply writing from my own experience with generalized anxiety disorder. I cannot speak to other disorders and am simply trying to share the ways that help me cope in the hopes they can help someone else.

1. "You're a bad person."

To combat this thought I actively try to do good things. I tell myself that I am certainly not as bad as [insert objectively bad person here]. I distract myself with media and games I like.

2. "Nobody likes you."

To combat this thought I start by telling myself it isn't true. I tell myself I like myself (this works wonders if it isn't true). I reach out to friends and talk to/ hang out with them as normal to concretely show myself this isn't true.

3. "You aren't as smart as everyone here."

To combat this thought I do one of two things (depending upon my mood and overall mental health at the time).

First, I pose a challenge to myself to become as smart as the other people in the room and actively listen and participate to do so.

Second, I go back through past accomplishments to prove that I am smart and just because I didn't get or understand something immediately doesn't mean I'm less smart than anyone else.

4. "I'm going crazy." 

This is a common thought of anxiety. To combat this one, I look up the symptoms of anxiety and screenshot it to prove to myself that it's just my anxiety and that I am in fact not going crazy.

5. "What if..."

"What if this headache is really a brain tumor?"

"What if I go to the doctor and they think I'm crazy/ faking it?"

"What if my friends are just pretending to like me?"

"What if I'm really just a fraud?"

Whoa, whoa, whoa — stop. As you can tell, this thought process can get out of control quickly. The best way I've found to combat this one is to turn the what-ifs into positives. "What if I get a promotion?" "What if I just have really awesome friends?"

I'm still extremely bad at this, so I typically just have to ride these thoughts out. I often talk to someone without anxiety to see if my thoughts seem logical to them. If they don't, normally it helps to differentiate my anxiety talking vs. my actual thoughts.

"They probably hate me." 

Whether your friend hasn't texted you back for hours or your recent Tinder match seems to be ghosting you, this is almost certainly not true. The best way to combat this is to realize that you are projecting your thoughts onto someone else and that you can't read that person's thoughts. You have no idea what they truly think, therefore, it could be the complete opposite.

While it isn't always comforting to "not know," in this instance, allowing yourself to recognize that your own thoughts are blurring onto your projection of someone else, it can help ease the worry a bit.

7. "Why can't I just calm down? What is wrong with me?" 

Ah, the old, having anxiety about your anxiety. These thoughts are in fact the reason you can't calm down. The best thing to do is to self-calm as much as possible. Take multiple deep breaths. Close your eyes and meditate for a few moments. Distract yourself, if the moment calls for it.

8. "What if I die?" 

This thought can come in many forms. "What if the plane crashes?" "What if I slip on icy roads?" It can also lead to worries about family (both for their safety and leaving them behind), etc. Honestly, I've noticed many things work for this one. If you're on a plane or something similar, statistics can help. Knowing that planes crash very rarely can help you understand that it's very unlikely.

Other things are to accept the prospect of death. This isn't nearly as dark as it sounds. Recognizing you have no control over when you die can help you calm yourself knowing you have no other control over the situation. If all else fails, rely on calming exercises and distraction.

9. "Are they upset with me?"

Again, projecting your worries onto another person can be a dangerous cycle. However, if all else fails, ask the person if they actually upset with you. If it is obvious that they are not upset with you based on other factors, try to tell yourself that you can't read minds and that you are simply projecting your worries about them becoming upset with you onto the person.

10. "I don't deserve to be here/ loved."

This one can usually be defeated with some logic. "I was invited here, I do deserve to be here." "Everyone deserves love, including me." "Lots of people love me and they aren't wrong to." However, this can be extremely hard to believe, but even if you don't believe the thoughts, if you keep telling them to yourself and actively work to believe them, you will.

11. "I'm going to get stuck here." 

Whether your phone is about to die at night in the city, you're in a rickety elevator, or the subway seems to be moving slower than normal, the best way to combat this is just to stay alert and take precautions to avoid the situation. (Turn your phone on low power or airplane mode, take deep breaths, and stay alert). Also, using calming techniques can help until the situation is over.

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Thanks To The Jonas Brothers, I Never Regret Not Dating A Teenage Boy

Ya'll made it drama free.

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All thanks to three guys from New Jersey, I never regret not having a boyfriend in Middle or High School. I started listening to the Jonas Brothers when I was in 6th grade. I was awkward, I wanted to fit in simply because I was the minority in my mostly white school district. I also wanted to feel more independent since I was reaching the ripe age of 13.

Eventually, certain things came to me where I was able to gain that independence. I had no problem talking to certain adults simply because I would just be myself, and they would have absolutely no issue with it. Then came Nick, Kevin, and Joe. They already had one album out called 'It's About Time', and too contrary belief became a classic for them to date. Eventually, as they made their approach to the Disney Channel, their popularity increased more and more. Soon enough, everyone knew of them. Even if they didn't even listen to their music, they still knew about them.

I was what you called the stereotypical 'fangirl.' I was overly protective of them whenever I would hear any guy in school call them 'gay' 'ugly' or 'untalented'. In fact, I'm very thankful that social media was not as big yet. I could not imagine going off as much as I would imagine. But there were other ways to vent. I still had some of my friends relate, but even with that, a good portion of them would tell me to stop being obsessed with them. But that only allowed my obsession to grow.

Everything that they did was a news update for me. I had to keep up with them ALL the time, no matter what the condition was. I had to know what they were doing every single day. Okay, not to a point of stalking but you get the picture. My point is that no other boy mattered at the time other than them. Joe was my favorite one so I had to keep up with him the most. Especially when he was dating someone. Yes, I will admit that some of Joe's exes were not my favorite, yet I shipped the hell out of the other ones. But I will say now that as a grown woman I am no longer interfering with his relationship. I was always wondering what it would be like to even go on a date around that age.

I never went on one considering how weird teenage boys truly are. Some of them want a girlfriend simply just to have one, and others just had their hormones go all nuts. The reason why I wasn't heavy on dating during that time was simply that I was trying to focus on myself and who I truly was. I did not want to deal with any of the drama that came with a relationship because I had a lot more than I needed to worry about.

Yes, did I want a guy that I thought was hot to date me of course! But it turns out looking back on it, I'm grateful that I decided to not give him the time of day. Considering that nowadays he's not exactly the right person to be with anyway. Even in general, I'm glad I never had to worry about fighting with another girl about another guy. A total complete waste of time, and not worth sacrificing anything.

I realized that there was so much more to life than just having a guy like you. Even if you did get those weird feelings every time he was around. Also if it was the other way around where a guy liked you, and you just didn't like him back. What a complicated web the teenage years hold. But back to the Jo-Bros. I'm grateful that these guys were in my life because it distracted me from the realities of how teenage boys truly are. You know, the ones that don't sing to you and tell you-you're beautiful every five seconds.

I'm grateful for all the memories that I had with these guys, especially making endless books and PowerPoint presentations on why I loved them so much. Although I'll still keep up with them once in a blue moon, it doesn't mean that I'll forget my first love. Just because I'm not in a room where they've plastered all over the walls anymore, doesn't mean that I didn't cherish those times when I would beg my mom to get me the latest teen magazine. If they were not in it, I didn't want it! Plain and simple everyone remembers their first teen crush. But I'm grateful that these three brothers allowed me to not get distracted by the teen dating scene. Also, I think it helped out my father as well.

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