Message In A Bottle

Dear Jax,

I’m composing this letter to address some of the things I did while we were married. These things created a burden or caused us to separate further in our distancing from each other as we fell out of love. I want to take responsibility for my deeds enacted, because it matters to me that I have a handle on what not to do for the future. I want to be clear in objective as well: I’m trying to clear my slate of guilt and regret. I’m not here to supplicate. I know I was wrong, I know it. That’s a tough thing to swallow. I am only too keenly aware of my shortcomings in the arena of relationships.

I want you to know that I thought we “had it all,” for what it’s worth. We may have some things glaringly not synced, but the large portion of that disconnect is not vital to maintaining love. Love comes from a place of strength and reassurance within. I know now that I did not love myself when I was with you. You often told me that this was the case, often asking me how I could love you if I did not love myself. I never had an answer.

Also, from the beginning, I never gave you the space to have your feelings. You DESERVE and have the RIGHT to express exactly what you feel. I was always scared of trauma relived, because I know that trauma pain never gets any better when it gets looked over. It needs validation, and being rejected by me and argued with because of your feelings is not good either. I couldn’t handle unregulated expression, because I was not strong enough to hold your feelings and not freak out. I just thought they were harmful, not good, and rejected them rather than pay them the attention they deserve. I was judging, when I should have been listening.

We are ineffective communicators of important information to each other. We had feelings and things that were exclusive; I never told you about the real struggle I was enduring, the slow ups and downs of the disorder… and I felt like you probably kept things from me too. I believed our mutual illnesses could have been the strength that united us. Instead, we kept our mental health problems a secret and tried to pretend it was ok regardless. I know I did this to try to maintain stability, versus making myself even more of a burden on us. I know I was the needy one. I “needed” more than you did, because my illness goes deeper and affects me more than yours does to you. This is not a derogatory comparison, it’s just true. I am more needy than most, because I can’t always support myself. Sometimes things just rot, and rot some more until the pain becomes too much to bear silently.

I should have given you the space to be yourself, and sometimes I felt like I crowded your life with my presence. I had to have control, though, this issue became lees and less an issue as time marched on. As soon as my symptoms started coming back, all bets were off. I relapsed into the familiar, the need to exercise control over my life, because my emotions were all over the place and no one could keep the lid on.

All in all, I let you down. But you let me down too. You did sign up to be in a relationship with a mentally ill guy… and I thought that was a grand idea. We SHOULD be the best stewards of ourselves, and we were not when the moment counted. I disappointed, with my illness coming full force into my life and wrecking everything it touched. It went on uncontrolled and had very little in the way of resistance in it’s struggle to take over.

I know what kind of life I CAN HAVE while still being mentally ill. I need a place willing to bend with my moods, be forgiving and understanding, and above all, patient. Despite all this “me taking responsibility and whatnot,” I can’t help but wonder why. Why did this one fight, this one moment of collapse, sadness and despair have to be the thing that splattered my life like a watermelon out a window? It didn’t have to, but I sense you may have been looking for a way out for a while, and this moment happened, and it was just an opportunity taken. You could be free, and so, you chose to be free. I know it’s a hard, unforgiving reality you’ve embraced. It must be difficult to go and do your life, and I’m so unbelievably sorry to have forced you (in some part) to the decisions you made. I didn’t do the things I needed to do to keep myself healthy, let alone the both of us. So, our relationship failed.

I’m not asking for anything. That time is gone. I write this for my own reasons, to expedite the process of recovery from the deep resonating sadness infecting my life today. I expect and want for nothing. I have to go forward, bearing in mind the mistakes and problems I’ve had. I still have a life, and it still demands to be lived, every day.

I’m processing. This letter is one among many outpourings of my tortured soul to try and make sense of the harsh realities of living while mentally ill.

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