Welcome back to my exasperating year of 2020. Oh, how it’s been a year of unexpected events and a very different life (thanks covid). On my previous post, I talked about how an unhealthy relationship of mine ended, and what I learned from it. All in all, the message to take home that I cannot stress enough is know your worth. The only person that defines you is you and if that person isn’t meeting you on that level or trying to at least meet you halfway, it ain’t worth it. Know your limit and stay within it (I believe they say this for gambling, but the message still remains the same).
Continuing on from where I left off, in a turn of unexpected events, I met someone new. It wasn’t planned, and completely caught me off guard if I’m going to be quite frank. I denied my feelings for a while, until I came back from back-packing in South America for 3 weeks, and finally admitted to myself that the relationship was something that I wanted. Not long after we started the relationship, a one-week quarantine turned into a 3-and-a-half-month lockdown. It was brutal. My mental health was at its worst being stuck in a house with minimal to do. As a person who is used to constantly being on their feet and constantly on the go, it was extremely hard for me. I tried working out at home, reading, finding new material to learn, but everything fell short as my motivation dissipated. Not to mention that I was spending abnormal amounts of time with the person I just began dating and that in itself presented challenges. Being stuck in quarantine together fast-tracked our relationship, but it also showed us how compatible we really were with each other. On the contrary, with nothing but time on my hands, I was stuck in my head being forced to deal with my demons.
As a person who has struggled with mental health for a vast majority of their life, coping with it is not always easy. I am not very open when it comes to it, however, I have acquired some coping skills for anxiety, especially while being in a relationship.
These learned mechanisms include:
- Being open. While mental health can be really difficult and even debilitating at times, letting your partner know that you’re having a rough time can be beneficial. You don’t have to give details about it if you aren’t comfortable, but by letting your partner know that you’re struggling allows them to gain a better understanding of where you’re at and builds respect and trust.
- When anger arises, it most likely means that there is a hidden underlying fear. Anger can be a cause of supressed emotions, and looking into it further can provide a better understanding. Relationships can be scary and we are all to some degree scared of being hurt, so we tend to guard ourselves. Being angry at a person or ourselves lets us know that there is something within ourselves that requires healing.
- Know that you are good enough. Mental health has a strong way of making us feel weak and sometimes even unloved. Know that that is just your mental health talking, and that those thoughts will pass. Our mental health does not define who we are.
- Practice gratitude. Gratitude helps ground us and reminds us that what we have isn’t all that bad. It could be much worse. I am immensely grateful for the moments that I am calm, and it allows me to remind myself that calmness is attainable. It’s about the small victories.
- Think of all the positives in your relationship. Remind yourself of why you’re with that person and how they make you feel. How has this relationship added to your life and what has it taught you?
- Journal. Journaling is a great way to make sense of our emotions and to let them out in a healthy manner.
- Take time for yourself. Whether you are a person who devotes all of your time into the relationship (I like being smothered with love too, don’t worry) or somebody who likes to only see their partner a couple times a week (as it adds to the excitement), time to yourself is extremely important. We have to remember who we are without our significant others. It’s important to keep our sense of self.
Being in a new relationship provides its challenges. You are learning about what works and what doesn’t. I have learned that I need to be more open and trusting. Being hurt sucks and as humans, we try to avoid getting hurt. After coming out of an unhealthy relationship, trust was definitely a hard one. I am just learning about my blocks and how I can foster a healthy relationship with myself and my significant other. It is important that the respect and love is reciprocated on both ends. What is not okay is when somebody takes advantage of your kindness. It is okay to say no. Setting boundaries is what is going to allow you to preserve your energy and your happiness. Patience and open communication is also key, but it does take time. We are all here to learn and grow.
If you have anything else to add to help cope with mental health while being in a relationship, I would love to hear all about it. Please let me know in the comments below!