Finally talked to my boyfriend again tonight, after receiving only a text or two a day, most of which were pretty inane. I know he’s trying, but texting just… I don’t like it. I would much rather talk to people. I hate it when people text when I’m out with them (and my boyfriend is notorious, as was my former roommate, especially to her now-husband) and other than my boyfriend, I don’t text much. It’s more of a “hey look at this funny thing I just saw” conveyance or a quick memo thing for me, not a primary means of communication. Communication is 90% body language and intonation and so many other things that are lost in texting. I want at least the part you get from a phone conversation if I can’t see someone in person; at least I call tell if you’re kidding, or serious, or being condescending, or whatever, on the phone.
Anyway, so I talked to my mom for a long time today to get advice, because I want things to work out, but they aren’t working as they are. I cried and talked about how I hold people at arm’s length, including my mom, because I am afraid I’ll scare them off. I compared it to the lifelines in Who Wants to be a Millionaire; you only get three in the game, and that’s it. When I talk to people about my illness, and they offer to help in times of need, I only have so many lifelines with them. I’ve lost countless friends, and every boyfriend I’ve ever had, as a result of using those lifelines, so I’ve learned not to use them unless it’s dire. I’m even afraid they’re limited with my mom and sister, so I will instead suffer in silence than reach out for help. (There’s also that component of it that is my illness telling me horrible things and that they won’t care anyway, which does not help in any way.)
I am afraid to use my lifelines, because my game show never ends. I never know how many lifelines I have with each person I know, and I never know which one to use- there are multiple lifelines, after all. Tearful call in the middle of the night, call that I need to be taken to or picked up from the hospital, having to cancel on something because I cannot handle it at the time due to a lack of spoons, etc. Each of these lifelines could have a very finite number attached to them, before that person is officially spooked and leaves.
And yes, I count my family in it, too, because after all, my mom left my dad (or rather, kicked him out.) Yes, I know he was noncompliant with medications and treatment whereas I am a poster child of compliance. Tell that to me at two AM when I’m scared out of my mind to call and wake mom up, or get something reassuring like the time there was a bat in my room and she thought it must be a junebug (it was a bat, my stepdad declared, once it left my room and flew into theirs), or when there was a mouse in my room and she told me “Call him George and be his friend.” (My mother is oh so supportive in events that have me on a chair and clutching at my proverbial skirts.) I have to counsel families all the time on setting healthy boundaries and limits with their ill loved ones. Again yes, I know, there’s a difference, but again, those differences fall away when it’s 2 am, and I’m tired and irrational and panicking, and convinced that the world would be better off without me because I’m a failure and a terrible person and everything is my fault.
I tried to convey this to my boyfriend. I spent the whole hour on the phone crying and trying to explain while he listened quietly. I think he sort of got it, but he doesn’t live with this in his head, and he’s never had a loved one with a mental illness, either. He wasn’t able to articulate it back in a way that tells me he completely understands and will magically be able to cope with me. I wasn’t expecting him to, but I still just want him to *get* it, instead of fumbling around in the dark, looking for the light switch.
I’m starting to think I’m just going to become a hermit.