It's not always one side...
Me and my boyfriend have OSDD-1 and psychosis, respectively, amongst other disorders. Sometimes we struggle to see eye-to-eye, but generally we manage to be a better leaning post for each other than anyone else we know.
Both me and my boyfriend are severely mentally ill, sometimes it's a wonder we're both still alive. Between his psychosis and my OSDD-1 ("Multiple Personality Disorder", but don't let me catch you calling it that), we don't really have a connection to ourselves as individuals, and even less of a connection to the real world. However, I find myself connecting to him in a way that I don't connect to others. Not just in a lovey-dovey smushy romantic way; it's even different to how I felt about my last boyfriend, or any of my love interests, for that matter. It's a bond that almost grounds me. When I first met him, he was "The Me I Wanted Me To Be", and over the course of getting to know him, I realised there were far more similarities between us than I ever could've anticipated. This meant I was actually able to process myself as a real person for the first time in ages, because I no longer saw the traits I possess as fabricated and non-human.
And on his part? His psychosis? He says I've done much the same. He's no longer stuck in a constant state where he only thinks about his ex who did nothing but cheat; he no longer gets (the worst of) his psychotic episodes, where he can't do anything but follow along with it. I understand what it's like to dissociate nearly constantly. I understand what the average chain of thought whilst in such a state can be. I understand what it's like to be stuck in your own head with nothing but your horrifying thoughts, just because everything else doesn't feel real. And knowing that at least one person can even marginally relate to that experience is exactly what we both need.
A few years ago, I was emotionally and mentally abused, gaslighted and manipulated. I became horribly suicidal, repressed myself for the sake of my abuser, did nothing but drink neat vodka for days and months at a time just "as a thing to do" (but actually as a stress response to the aforementioned abuse), flunked school, abused myself and lied to everyone. Over one person. That trauma has carried over to even now. It likely won't leave. I'll hear that name and suddenly my insides want to be on my outside and I try to claw at my fully-clothed thighs or across my stomach. Not to hurt myself, just as a gut reaction.
When the first of my boyfriend's friends died, he blamed himself. He started drinking unhealthy amounts of alcohol and taking drugs. Suddenly, his friends were depressed and suicidal and needed his help - which he gave but got nothing back. Girlfriends came and went, walking all over him. Friends and family died - more than you can count on both hands, in one year alone. He tried for so long, and eventually disconnected just to stop himself from feeling the guilt. He lost more. He hates himself and everyday wishes he did more for them.
Sure, we might be a two-man burning ship, many miles out to sea with no-one to spot the smoke but, hell, if we go down at least we're going down together.
** The included picture? That's a diagram of my mental disorder. I drew it to explain to my boyfriend what having OSDD-1 is like, for me at least. Tiny fragments inside a shell. **
This post was submitted as part of 'Madly in Love’ campaign. Take a peek at our other submissions and get involved by creating your own content!
Sexual consent and the law
Confused about consent and the law? We ask a top lawyer ...
How to spot unhealthy behaviour in the bedroom
If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
I received 100 calls a day from strangers after revenge porn
Anna* asked her ex to delete her photos, but he ...
How to cope when Mother’s Day or Father’s Day is difficult
Not everyone feels like they can celebrate their parents...
I was raped but I didn’t realise
Chloe* didn't realise that an unwanted drunken sexual ...