Is there me without you?

The Impact of Relationships on my Mental Health

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This is my first post on Thrive. I had tried previously to post something but I always stopped short because I didn’t know what would be “worthy” of posting. What pushed me past that barrier is the “Weekly Prompt” that I got in my email. The challenge is to discuss the relationship that has had a significant impact on your mental health.

So, being a social worker and recognizing the platform, I immediately began thinking about the relationships that have had a “positive” impact on my mental health…nothing. I’ve been thinking about this for at least a day and I have nothing. This gives me anxiety because it speaks directly to the quality of the relationships that I’ve had during the 48 years that I’ve been on this planet. All of them feel superficial now. This is not to say that none of these relationships gave me joy at some point in my life. But I cannot name one that has contributed, consistently, to enriching my mental health. I am responsible for this reality. I am a firm believer in our subconscious minds attracting what we most desire. So, in some sense, I have gotten what I have always wanted. Although, unhealthy thoughts will always produce an unhealthy reality.

Also, I don’t trust. I don’t open up much. I don’t share relevant facts about who I am, what I love, who I love, my dreams/vision, or anything else. I’ve known people for years and many did not even know that I have children. When they discover this information, you can see the hurt and disappointment in their faces…their faces say, “I thought we were close enough for you to have shared.”

For me, relationships have always been about trust…and I have honestly never felt compelled to trust enough to be completely open with someone. I have often said to my therapist that if I could put all of the people in my life together they would make one whole friend. Meaning I have shared different pieces of who I am with many different people but no one has all of those pieces. Some pieces have never been shared. So, I’m releasing just enough of myself to maintain some semblance of mental and emotional health but not saturating any one person…this is my subconscious way of protecting/guarding myself but the flip side to this protection is that I’m disconnected from a source of support, love, friendship…

So, I’ve been committed to opening up, being vulnerable, and embracing loving relationships with people. My mental health depends on those relationships. It becomes fragile under the weight of being someone that I’m not in order to please others. It becomes fragile with the weight of unrealistic and unspoken expectations.

For those of you that I love and who love me…please don’t take anything that I’ve written personally. It is simply my reality. One that I’m trying to shift and one that you can help me shift…thank you.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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