Under Your Feet – You Win Some, You Lose Some

A huge part of our Leather, and our lives in general, is our ability as humans to forge relationships with one another.  It separates us from animals who mate out of instinct because we actually choose our partners based on personality, appearance, and common life goals.  However, just like animals, we sometimes find that people use a mental health diagnosis as a reason to avoid a relationship.  And while that hurts initially, you’ll win some battles while others are lost.  But should a diagnosis prevent you from pursuing a relationship?  In this article, we’ll go over when it’s best to walk away as well as when a relationship is possible.

To be brutally honest, as a person living with a diagnosis, I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum.  I’ve had relationships that ended because the person was unwilling to work through treatment.  I’ve left relationships after noticing warning signs of mental illness that posed a health risk to myself.  And I’ve left relationships because the person could only see my “problem”.  Finding a healthy relationship is heavily dependent on honesty, communication, and being willing to be involved in treatment.  If your idea of treatment for all mental illness involves medication alone, you are likely not ready to pursue a relationship with a person who has a diagnosis.  I personally am non-medicated (except in cases of extreme stress) and rely on patterns, textures, and therapy to mediate mood changes.  There are many other combinations of options available for treatment to provide the best response for each individual.

So when should you stay?  You should stay when the person matters more to you than the strain of a relationship with additional challenges. That being said, you should only stay when you’re prepared to put in time and effort.  No relationship is easy (nor should it be), however, you may find that as part of treatment, you have to monitor your partner’s moods or ensure that they maintain their medication schedule. You may find that your partner cannot always communicate their feelings or that they shut down.  If you’re likely to be hurt as they process their emotions, the relationship may be more likely to end in heartache.

When should you go?  This is always the hardest question to answer.  If the diagnosed partner does not admit to an issue or seek treatment, the relationship is unlikely to survive.  In the case of a partner who is abusive towards you whether through words, emotional manipulation, or physical harm, you must leave for your own safety.  Do not stay because you are afraid that you will not find a new relationship because of your diagnosis – you will.  And finally, if your personal habits cause the treatment to be unsuccessful, you should discontinue the relationship for the health of both parties.

In dealing with all relationships, it pays to remember that personalities, baggage, and habits will all play a part in how successful a relationship may be.  While mental illness at first will seem a scary hurdle to climb, a partner who is successfully being treated is often much more aware of their own behaviors, triggers, and stress points and are able to help steer clear of difficulty.  Don’t let the unknown scare you away from a possible princess or prince.  After all, we all have our flaws when we undress, don’t we?

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