“You can’t have a proper relationship at all!”
“With your problems, you should take care of yourself first.” “In all your mental crises, you break the others!” “You don’t care about others anyway and just revolve around yourself.” “Manic depressives cannot have normal relationships at all.”
Ah, yes? Is this the case that, as a sufferer with a mental illness, I cannot have a normal relationship, can’t give love and receive it? What is a “normal” relationship? Do I really need to listen to reproaches and uninvited comments simply because, as a mentally ill person, I have to tackle one or the other major challenge? Does that make me incapacitated? Incapable of love? Not adorable?
Those who do not know me should not judge me either, and in general one should inform oneanother in advance about the individual psychological challenges of those affected. Accusations, generalisations, prejudices: none of this is constructive and certainly no help. They nip a conversation in the bud even before an exchange has taken place.
I have always been annoyed and hurt by these comments and lump sums. In my case, I am quite capable of relationship. I can give love and accept it now. No more and no less than others. Admittedly, I can be very exhausting. I am tough, challenging and sometimes impulsive, arrogant, wistful or melancholy, not easy to convince and often pugnacious, I can be stubborn and stubborn or sometimes demonstratively arrogant. But I can also be a good listener, a loving critic, I caress and I stick patches on emotional wounds, I take myself back and just be there when you need me.
What exactly distinguishes me with these exemplary, not always popular characteristics of unaffected persons? Some idiosyncrasies are fine, others I know they’re not always great. When I then asked the critics why they attribute this or that quality especially to mentally ill people, whether they had one or the other feeling themselves – then usually came a entered pressure and small-bite. “Well, I just thought…”
Yes, I’m not perfect. Who is that? Yes, I have to be careful not to overshoot and then do stupid things. Yes, I have to be careful not to fall. I’ve made many mistakes and I’m not immune from making them again. I pushed people in front of their heads, gave no love, got no love, made trouble, threw everything out the window. I trampled everything in the ground, injuring others and myself. I did not blame only my illness for all my mistakes, including in terms of love; it is an explanation, but not an excuse.
I am manic-depressive, in other words bipolar, but this has little to do with my character traits, even if my history of illness has of course shaped me here and there. But just because I’m manic-depressive doesn’t mean that’s all my person. The illness certainly accompanies me more or less my life; but it therefore does not deprive me of the ability to love and the opportunity to be loved.
I love my children and my husband, my sister, I have friends for whom I feel or feel friendly love, and there is a horse, a cold-blooded, to whom I always whisper in his big ear “I love you”, quite simply because it is. I tell the people I love that I love them. Love can also be shown by being there for your heart people, listening, hugging them, leaving them alone when they need it. When it comes to love, you can set limits and let fives be straight.
It is wonderful to be able to meet and love as we are. I am like that, and you are like that. And by the way: I have people around me who love me, in whatever way I am, with my quirks and mistakes and with my disorder. To all those who feel addressed here: I too!
This article is dedicated to D. You know why. Thank you for giving you and for allowing me to learn so much from you.
Text: Tina Meffert; Photo: Maximilian Laufer