Content warning: Suicidal Intent, Overdose, Self-Harm.
This blog post is a letter to my partner. Over the last four months, I’ve spent around 60 days as a patient on several different hospital wards. He has always been there for me, be it physically or at the end of the telephone. My mental illness has always been present in our relationship, but since the start of December I feel that it has stretched our alliance to its limits.
Sufferers of mental illness sometimes feel the need to apologise profusely about their behaviour or ill state. Now, if it were anyone else, I’d insist that an apology wasn’t necessary, but when the ill person is me I feel as though I definitely need to. As usual, it seems I’ve set one rule for myself and another for everyone else. My partner surely deserves to hear the words ‘I’m sorry’ at the very least, after all that me and my mental illness have put him through? I’ve apologised a lot before, and he’s told me that it isn’t my fault and so I needn’t apologise. But a lot of this – it sometimes does feel like my fault. So here we go.
To my partner,
I’m sorry about my mental illness. I’m sorry that my struggle has caused life to be so tiring for you, especially over the last few months.
I’m sorry that you’ve had to take on so much – I’m sorry that the upkeep of our home, the laundering of our clothes, and the payment of our bills, all became things that I couldn’t face keeping on top of. I’m sorry that you’ve had to do all of the work to look after our cats, when I was the one who was so desperate to adopt them. I’m sorry that making important phone calls, organising my sick notes, collecting my prescriptions, and filling in the paperwork associated with my leave from work all became solely your responsibility. I’m sorry that my income has dwindled down to nothing, and your income has had to become ‘ours’. I’m sorry that on top of full time work, you’ve spent hours by my side in various hospitals, and almost as much time travelling to and from said hospitals on public transport. I’m sorry for the amount of nights you’ve had to sleep in our bed, cold and alone, with no one to keep you warm.
I’m sorry that when I’m not in hospital, you have to spend ages looking after me, checking that I’m OK, making sure that I’m as safe as possible. I’m sorry that sometimes, I’m impossible to keep safe. I’m sorry that you went from just being my boyfriend, my lover, to being my next of kin and my emergency contact. I’m sorry that you involuntarily had to take on the role of my ‘carer’.
I’m sorry for lying about how I felt sometimes. I’m sorry that I didn’t always tell you when I felt unsafe and suicidal, or when I was stockpiling spare medications ‘in case I wanted to use them in an overdose at a later point’. I’m sorry that you now know the process of phoning for an ambulance better than the back of your own hand. I’m sorry that I disappeared in the middle of a suicide attempt whilst you were out of town, and I’m sorry that you had to call the police that day to report me missing. I’m sorry for the times I took overdoses whilst you were in the flat with me, instead of talking to you about how I was feeling. I’m sorry that I once stole the keys to the medication safe whilst you were sleeping, so that I could take too many pills. I’m sorry I lied and said I didn’t have any medications stored in secret places, when in actual fact I did. I’m sorry I sneaked out when you were at work, to buy painkillers from the corner shop only to hide them in my sock drawer.
I’m sorry I ran away from home late at night several times and made you worried sick; I’m sorry you then had to come to collect me from the railway bridge in the cold wind and rain to bring me home, when you had to be up at 7:00AM the following morning for work. I’m sorry that you’ve had to come home from work to find me unconscious (or near-unconscious) repeatedly. I’m sorry that the responsibility for saving my life fell onto you so many times.
I’m sorry you’ve had to ride in an ambulance to A&E with me so many times. I’m sorry you’ve had to sit in A&E whilst they ran tests and decided what treatment I needed. I’m sorry that you’ve sat with me, bored, lonely, whilst I’ve fallen unconscious from the overdoses I’ve taken. I’m sorry if every overdose felt like deja-vu for you. I’m sorry you’ve had to call your manager at work and book urgent unplanned leave from work, just because I’ve fucked up and needed you with me. I’m sorry for the states you’ve seen me in.
I’m sorry that I’ve locked myself in the bathroom to self-harm. I’m sorry you’ve known I was self-harming and had to just let me do it, because there was no way of stopping me. I’m sorry for the times you’ve had to help me clean and bandage the wounds I’ve inflicted upon myself. I’m sorry that I’ve made myself so grossly unattractive, covering myself in scars that will fade but never quite disappear.
I’m sorry that you’ve stayed awake with me in the small hours of the morning whilst I’ve cried, and cried, and cried, and you’ve lost sleep. I’m sorry that when I was writing a part of this blog post at 4 in the morning because I couldn’t sleep, I started crying and it woke you up. I’m sorry for soaking your pillows and your T-shirts with my tears.
I’m sorry that I’ve made you cry.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there to comfort you whilst you cried.
I’m sorry I’m so withdrawn sometimes. I’m sorry about the days where I barely talk to you, because I’m feeling irritable or depressed, or because I just have nothing to say. I’m sorry about the nights where I’ve refused a cuddle or a kiss goodnight, just because I’m feeling down. I’m sorry about the mornings and the afternoons that I’ve just spent lay in bed, unable to get up, incapable of wanting to ‘do the day’. I’m sorry for the times that you’ve reached out to hug me or reassure me and I’ve cowered away, refusing all physical contact. I’m sorry that I’m not the same as I used to be.
I’m sorry you’ve had to lie for me to my family because I asked you not to tell them how ill I am. I’m sorry that you’ve had to keep my friends updated on my condition when I’ve tried to kill myself and worried them all in the process.
I’m sorry that I pulled you away from your home county when I got a graduate job nearer to my own home county, and I’m sorry I then ended up failing to cope with the job anyway. I’m sorry that you got a job near(ish) to here, too; I’m sorry that you’re so far away from all of your friends and your family. I’m sorry that you have to do a frustratingly lengthy commute on rubbish public transport to and from work every day, because there wasn’t any work for you in the town we live in. I’m sorry I’ve trapped you here.
I’m sorry I’m so erratic. I’m sorry for being incapable of doing anything anymore. I’m sorry that I’m boring. I’m sorry that I’m difficult to be around. I’m sorry that I’m ill.
I’m sorry that, out of all of the humans on this planet, it was me that you fell in love with.
It’s bittersweet, really; every single day I spend time reflecting upon how lucky I am to have you in my life, and yet at the same time I question why you didn’t run a mile back when we were still ‘just friends’ in 2013. I tell myself that you deserve better. I wonder why you chose to be with me, despite knowing I had so many health problems. It says a lot about the type of person that you are, because not many people would stick around after all I’ve put us through. After all I’ve put you through.
I guess all of this is why they say that love hurts?
To my partner, my other half, my team mate; to the one I love
I’m sorry that loving me hurts so much sometimes.
I’m sorry that my mental illness gets in the way.
I love you, though, so much, and for now I can only hope that that’s enough.
from your Sweetie-Pie x