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How My Boyfriend Defies What My Mental Illness Has Always Told Me

In my life, I haven’t been in many relationships, except for the one I am currently in. Every guy I’ve met, my brain told me to back away from. My brain terrified me into thinking every guy I met would take advantage of me or use me for something more than what I wanted.

Until I met my current boyfriend.

He was the first one my brain didn’t tell me to run away from. But my heart did beat out of my chest constantly in fear and anxiety someone truly would end up loving me for me. Being loved as someone with a mental illness is different compared to others who are loved without the extra strings attached. Finding the person who loves you for you and cares for you can be important for someone with a mental illness. Our brains are wired differently than other people, which can make it hard for those we interact with to understand the way we are in certain aspects of our lives.

The lie my mental illness has always told me is I would never be anyone’s first choice. If anything, I could be their second choice, or even third. I think that’s why I’ve always been afraid to fall in love with someone, because of this idea that was embedded in my brain. My boyfriend is one of my best friends. He understands me in a way most people don’t. When I’m pacing back and forth, he hugs me and tells me it’s going to be OK. When I shut down, he stays with and comforts me to let me know I’m not alone. When I don’t accept his compliments well, he still lets me know I am beautiful and loved, even though my brain tells me I don’t deserve this from someone.

Mostly importantly, our faith is our basis in our relationship. For us, it’s been a constant in our lives. My faith has helped me cope with my mental illness, and being able to experience that with my significant other has helped me in so many ways. For these reasons, I am so thankful to him. Each day is a learning step and each day is progress.

Unsplash image by Nathan McBride