Dualities, contradictions, and mental illness

Just last night, my wife turned to me and said, “Remember that my love for you isn’t transactional.” Immediately I slunk lower into bed, and my initial reaction was to want to turn my back on her. With conscious effort, I pulled myself up, and made a little noise instead.

That’s progress already. Two years ago, I would have begged, insisted, maybe yelled, that she not say something like that. It would have felt pointless and it would have made me feel way worse than I did. I didn’t know back then but my critic would have raised a stink. As it was, last night, it tried to – but I managed to actively remind myself that this was her viewpoint, and I had to respect it.

If I were to be honest and talk to her about my love for her, I would say the same thing. I love her for who she is, and not what she can do for me. What she does for me is only a bonus and an outworking of the person she is. But yet, applying that to myself is not something that’s possible or easy. There exists in my mind a duality, also a contradiction. Others whom I love don’t have to earn that love, but in *my* case, I need to earn my place in the lives of others, or I do not deserve their love. I am a hypocrite.

And therein lies a contradiction and duality in people struggling with mental health issues that I hope to explain a little with this post. Warning – this is also a rather Christian post, if you are someone coming from a secular background. I still hope it can help a little – feel free to take the Christian taugeh (beansprouts) out.

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Overthinking overthinking

The thing about depression – as with many similar conditions, or even for people without depression, is this thing called overthinking. Along with oversensitiveness, this is almost unanimously something that everyone seems to want to get rid of. “If only I could stop overthinking!” “Am I overthinking this again?”

So I want to make it my unenviable task – to reclaim overthinking from the annals of the “DO NOT TOUCH” books, and see just how depression and overthinking are linked, in a layman way, and what to do about it – if we don’t aim to get rid of it.

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When a call to help, helps me

I find it hard to blog nowadays, as my therapy inches along. For the first time ever, I’ve struggled to speak about the issue we’re dealing with, whether in therapy or to my long-suffering wife. In therapy, I force the words out while clenching on to my plush toy. To my wife, I’ve tried to speak, but failed miserably, staring at the laptop to avoid looking at her because the words just would not come out.

I changed therapists again recently, as my therapist resigned from the institution. I didn’t ask where she’s going because even if she’s going into private practice, that’s not something I can afford. My new therapist and I have had some growing pains, but she told me something I struggle to agree with. Even turning up for therapy – despite being scared, despite feeling like this might be more trouble than it’s worth, no matter how tired I am, was something that she said was brave and worth acknowledging.

I struggle with this concept.

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An apology and an update

One problem with this blog is keeping track of the chapters and what not… trying to organise it as a book has been a reason not to blog as much, because well, a living book is hard to keep track of, in terms of the dates and trying to work around WordPress’ limitations.

From this post onwards… I’m gonna declare I’m lazy. I’ll just blog, and ignore the chapters. It’ll help me to blog more frequently, when I just feel like it.

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