The “Catch 22”- A Comical Look at Relationships Between We Who are “Mentally Afflicted”

First, I want to apologize for my brief “disappearance.” I was attempting to be a noble citizen among the mental health community by offering my volunteer services.  It’s a fantastical thing really, but it’s been slow going. I’ll admit, I also became momentarily distracted in both a negative and a positive way.

It must have been more positive than negative though, (whether I’m willing to see it that way yet or not is another question) because recent experiences have inspired me to write this post. Actually, that’s not entirely true; this is an issue that has been present in the back of my mind for quite sometime-now I have decided to document it.

A Quick Disclaimer:

Some of you may not find my sense of humor to be very tactful-but you have to understand, when you have lived with mental illness as long as I have, often witnessing the darker side of life, you have to find “light-hearted” humor in the situation just to keep your head above water-to keep from drowning-both literally and figuratively speaking.

So, without further adieu….an Annabella’s Epiphany moment, just for you.

Catch 22

A few days ago I “re-opened” a discussion about the catch 22 associated with relationships among those with a mental illness. You’ve all heard the saying “birds of a feather flock together”, and in no way is there more truth in this coined phrase than there is with the mentally ill. We’re like our own personal homing device, lighting up cherry red and beeping manically anytime one of us is near another. We might as well have a massive flickering neon light tacked to our foreheads reading- PICK ME! I’M MENTALLY ILL!

The problem with this is, when two people with a mental illness become an “item”, or begin to show any signs of passionate emotion, it generally ends up looking like this…(pay special attention to the beginning and end of the clip, no seriously.)

At the other end of the spectrum, it’s nearly impossible to date someone who is “normal.” I shouldn’t have to tell you why, but I will anyways.

When dealing with some of the better known mental disorders, (bi-polar, BPD, and anxiety related disorders) you can be sure to count on at least three symptoms; severe depression, mood swings, and high anxiety or mania. It is, understandably, extremely difficult for a person who is not mentally ill to understand the dichotomy between the two sides of a person who is mentally ill.

 On one hand, it is enticing and exciting. The often obnoxious and spontaneous behavior displayed during a mood swing can rub off on a person. On the other hand, during the lows of the disorder, the “normal” functioning person can’t understand why the “mentally ill” person can’t just snap out of, or get over it.

“Why can’t you get out of bed today?”  “Why can’t you motivate yourself, I go to work all the time when I don’t want too, I hate my job, but I still go every day,” they often say. “Why don’t you want me to touch you?”  “Why are you being so distant?”  “Why do you cry all the time?”  “Why are you so mean to me, what did I ever do to you?”

These are all questions that ultimately end the relationship. It generally ends up looking like this…(This clip is fairly long, but trust me when I say it’s worth it-it is a perfect description of the reality of the situation.)

It’s  “Mad Love” indeed.


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