Long Distance Relationships: Living Without Your Personal Therapist

Hello, interwebs! Today I am going to be talking about my experience thus far with my long distance relationship and the struggles we’ve both had along the way. Particularly, I wanted to touch upon the idea of mental illness and how you are deeply affected by the lack of your significant other.

They never said that this was going to be easy. I knew that the moment I left home we would be in an uphill battle that most people had deemed we would lose. We both were very fervent about staying together and we knew that if we worked hard that we would make it out okay. That being said, we underestimated just how difficult it would be not seeing each other every day. In High School, we were around each other constantly with allowed us to share our struggles in school with the other person as well as our mental struggles.  He was always there to stand there and hug me and tell me that everything was going to be okay.

As I’ve started the new school year in college, I was optimistic that my issues with my Anxiety wouldn’t return. I was in a place I loved, surrounded by new friends that truly care about me as well as teachers that were looking out for my well-being and the state of my mental health. At first, I was great. I was going through school like a piece of cake, everything was soaking in; until recently. School started getting tougher and I could feel my anxiety making it more difficult to learn things. Like any dedicated student, I sought out tutors and increased and diversified my studying habits. Even though I did all of these things, I wasn’t getting the results I had hoped for, which of course, allowed my Anxiety to come back in.

Besides school, I’ve always been someone who has been very conscious of my diet. Not in a way that I limit what I eat ( besides the normal trying not to drink soda and what not) I am just conscious of what I eat and try to eat the healthiest I can while still enjoying the food. Now that I am in college, I am very aware of the “freshman 15” which basically stands for Freshman gaining 15 pounds by the end of the first semester because they don’t know how to eat properly. While I was at home if I wanted something I could make it. I cooked all the time, making salads, rice bowls, fish, chicken; anything I wanted to make my body and me feel better. In college, you no longer have that luxury. I have a kitchen downstairs, but that being said, Gordon Ramsey would pass out looking at it ( not exactly built for actually making good food). Therein lies the dilemma, trying to scrounge for healthy foods inside the dining hall, or eating salads for every meal ( not fun). My point being, the lack of healthy foods leads to an anxiousness about the look of my body which in turn makes me want to go to the gym more as well as allowing that not so body positive side of my anxiety to come back.

While I was at home if I wanted something I could make it. I cooked all the time, making salads, rice bowls, fish, chicken; anything I wanted to make my body and me feel better. In college, you no longer have that luxury. I have a kitchen downstairs, but that being said, Gordon Ramsey would pass out looking at it ( not exactly built for actually making good food). Therein lies the dilemma, trying to scrounge for healthy foods inside the dining hall, or eating salads for every meal ( not fun). My point being, the lack of healthy foods leads to an anxiousness about the look of my body which in turn makes me want to go to the gym more as well as allowing that not so body positive side of my anxiety to come back.

After living through this for about a week and a half now, I’ve made some conclusions. One, even without my boyfriend to help me be less anxious and body positive I have some amazing friends that have reached out and cheered me up to make sure that I’m doing okay ( which is really refreshing). Two, I am not perfect nor am I meant to be. I think as a person with an Anxiety disorder, we want ourselves to be perfect in order to make up for the fact that we have a mental illness. However, that’s the point right there – we don’t have to make up for the fact that we have a mental illness- It’s something that is apart of us and we have to accept it and learn to love it like the rest of ourselves. We also have to remind ourselves that we are human and we are not meant to be perfect, it’s just not how we were made. Lastly, the fact that I am communicating with my boyfriend about these struggles and he is too only makes the idea that we really do need each other to survive more prevalent. I know most people would say that is a bad thing but, I’d have to disagree.

I don’t mean to say that I am completely dependent on my boyfriend for emotional support. That being said, it is more of an interdependence. I need him to help with my anxiety and he needs me for his own set of issues and struggles. It allows us to communicate more as a couple and also allows us to remember to open up about our struggles so that your partner can share and help in times of need. As my advice for this post, if you have a significant other or not, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends, family and trusted others are there to help you get through rough times and surmount them with power and confidence, so that you can be the person you want to be. Never be afraid to fail, never be afraid to struggle.

As always with love,

Lia

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