Illusions of love

Covid 19 and this pandemic has sparked a weird sense in all of us, I feel. This isolation and never ending feeling of dread has made me search for opportunities to keep my mind at ease.

As the year of 2020 closes, a year with circumstances we never expected, I have to stop & reflect. So many things came into fruition for me that I never thought possible.

We bought a farm house and I rapidly started filling it with my pigs and goats. I also got pregnant. But my one true silver lining in all of this was starting this blog.

How can starting Farmerish be more important than finding out I’m pregnant? It’s not. But it’s given me a therapeutic place to write & moreso- connect with others.

Connecting with others is vital to me. I am a highly extroverted person with extreme empathetic qualities. I let people into my life easily even when my judgement tells me not to. Some say it’s naive, some say it’s having a big heart. I’m sure I’m somewhere in the middle.

Starting this blog, I didn’t imagine the masses of people to reach out to me. It’s amazing how words can resonate so well with others. The messages from strangers, people I know dearly, and even random acquaintances over the years have piled into my inbox.

Reading articles or blogs is entirely interpretive to the reader. But the general underlying theme of my messages is that people are more vulnerable than they appear.

I know by putting myself out there also lets a lot of people with darker intentions into my life, however. Illusions of love, I like to call them. They seem just as fascinated with me but it’s all just a distraction. I can’t let people into my life that aren’t going to return the same investment that I would do for them.

Social media is fascinating to me wherein we can put a different persona out there and only expose our “highlight reel”. I decided to do something different with my blog by keeping it raw, relatable, & most of all- real. The response & validation has been overwhelming. I’ve been featured on a couple popular mental health sites, including bphope.

But the insecurity I have within myself still drives me wild. I have 3 beautiful sons and a husband who loves me. I’m surrounded with a network that supports me. Loves me. Needs me in their lives. So why this constant need for validation from others?

I know deep down it’s just a longing to be seen & heard. A feeling that has been lost inside of me for the longest time. But I need to remember my priorities.

Seeking validation should always start within. By fully loving myself I can get a clearer picture of whose intentions are true and pure.

My family. My friends. My students. These are the true people in my life who love me. Not random strangers from the internet.

To anyone who has read my blog- thank you. I’m always here to listen, give feedback, or just simply be there. It’s not easy to completely put yourself out there for the world & be on display. But to the ones who don’t really care, I see you with a better perspective.

Never confuse the people who are there for you constantly with the ones who are only there when it’s convenient. And remember- the only stamp of approval you need should always be from yourself. ❤️

Waves of love

Love, to me, is the most coveted and important emotion we can give to another person. In my marriage our love ebbs & flows like the waves in the ocean. Sometimes there’s a high tide where the love feels all consuming. It washes over me and I feel nothing but bliss & happiness. Other times, like currently, it’s low tide. The water feels shallow and murky. It’s unclear how deep it goes but I know the love is still always there.

I married someone with no clinical diagnosis of mental illness. Of course he has his situational anxiety & sadness, like everyone else, but nothing neurological that prohibits him to feel happiness like I do.

Living with bipolar disorder is hard. I recently had a conversation with him about my own happiness. I expressed that it’s difficult for me to feel joy most of the time. The highs of my mania & sudden drops into depression seep into my everyday life and ruin most experiences for me. It truly is not easy to enjoy my life at times.

I know I am blessed with a husband who loves and supports me. But like I said, love can be like the ocean. Today the waters feel rough and hard. Rather than feeling love in this high tide moment, I feel waves of judgement and resentment.

I don’t know how to explain to him that my mental illness is not my choice. I have had the unhealthiest coping mechanisms for the longest time in order to “treat” my depression. In the past this has involved drug use and even smoking or drinking. When life feels too overwhelming I’d rather numb the pain in anyway possible.

Being pregnant I know I can’t rely on those unhealthy coping mechanisms. I have my friends and support system. But what do you do when the one person you want to count on the most isn’t there for you?

I have to understand and accept him for who he is and what he is capable of giving me. I know his love his endless. It stretches as far as you can see, almost like looking at the vast ocean.

But sometimes love isn’t enough. Love can’t always sustain happiness during times of heartache and loss. I can’t rely on another person to make me happy.

As a person with mental illness, I know it’s my responsibility to make my own self happy. I read this analogy on facebook which has helped shift my perspective on love:

“Some people are ‘gallon people’ and some people are ‘pint people’. I live my life as a gallon person. I want to give a gallon, and expect to get a gallon in return. However, some people are pint people. They only want a pint. When you give them a gallon; it overflows and is wasted. Then when you expect a gallon to fill us back up, they only have a pint to give. A person is never going to be able to give you what you need; you need to find it somewhere else— or better yet, within yourself.”

Love is always something that should be given freely with zero expectations. These expectations become conditions and should never be motivations. If we get love it should be a bonus but not the sole reason and purpose of our love.

I’m sorry to my husband for not being everything you want all the time. I’m sorry that I crumble at times and feel the weight of my depression. It’s not that I want to give in to my sadness, but I truly cannot help it. But I do love you, and there is no end to that love.

Love is blind

Facebook is funny wherein it pops up memories from the past. Today my cousin sent me a quote I sent her ten years ago on FB. “The only people you need in your life are the ones who prove they need you in theirs.”

I wrote that to her ten years ago. What a profound statement for a 24 year old (at the time). I wish I could say that I held onto that sentiment for the following decade- but it still escapes me.

Why do we make people a priority when they only see us as an option? For me it usually boils down to my low self esteem. I can’t expect people to put me first when I don’t even put myself first in my own life.

Our thoughts create our reality. I have constantly thought so little of myself that in the past I’ve created relationships with people who really weren’t into me. They didn’t love me. They didn’t appreciate me. And they sure didn’t prioritize me.

For the longest time that’s what I felt I deserved. I was so stuck on the feeling of being unloved that I couldn’t fully love myself. I truly thought that I deserved to be treated this way.

They say love is blind. It’s true. A person in love can’t really see all the imperfections that an unhealthy relationship brings. I never wanted to fall in love with someone that didn’t fully love me back.

It’s like we, as people with mental illness, are addicted to the pain. We’re accustomed to it. It’s our life. Our reality. And the pain we seek is usually a feeling we think we deserve.

It’s taken me ten years but I now understand that no one deserves to feel unwanted or unnecessary self-inflicted pain. Why do that to ourselves? Because the heart wants what it wants.

It’s easy to say prioritize yourself. It’s easy to say love yourself. But where do we begin?

Take a look at your life & reflect. What’s missing that we need to fill this void with unreciprocated love? What are the actual needs you want from a relationship? And most importantly, what are your expectations?

I’ve always had low expectations. Living with bipolar disorder I’ve learned to settle when it comes to my own happiness. But that’s not how we should be living our lives.

We deserve to be loved. We deserve to be appreciated. Love is blind but we don’t have to be. Open your eyes to a situation & see it for what it really is. And please remember, don’t allow someone to be a priority when you’ll always be merely an option.