How to Suck at Relationships

I’m going to be honest here for a minute – I have not always been the best at relationships.  I know, it’s mind-blowing.  Unless you knew me in college, then you’re probably nodding to yourself right now.  Regardless, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes when it comes to love.  Now that I’ve found the most amazing partner and am happily settled in a healthy relationship, I feel I now have the right to judge other people’s relationship flaws…

I’m totally kidding!! That was a joke…sort of.  I’m not here to judge, no one is perfect and neither is any relationship.  However, I am here to tell you that there are ways to suck at being in one.  I know from experience, either as the perpetrator or as the unfortunate witness, so I’m here to help.  If you do these things, you probably suck at relationships but don’t worry – there’s hope!  Just keep reading.

You micro-analyze

At 3:30pm (s)he took 3 minutes to respond to your text so that means they must be cheating, right? No!  That means they were at work!!  He came home from work and barely said hello, that means he’s mad at me, right?  No!  That means he probably had a shitty day!  Don’t read into every little thing your partner does or you’ll drive yourself (and them) insane.  If you think something is up then ask them.  Don’t become a psycho detective to get to the bottom of it.  Trust me, if you’re dating a guy and he says nothing is wrong, then nothing is wrong.  They’re not like women where “fine” actually means “I’m going to stab you”.  Relax.

You never stop talking about your relationship

Whether it’s positive or negative, it’s still annoying.  You should certainly talk about your relationship to your friends and family, but if you start every sentence with “OMG guess what she/he did”, your friends and family are going to learn to instantly tune out the second you utter that phrase.  If you’re upset about something your partner is doing, try journaling about it or even try a relationship counselor (solo or together).  If you’re really happy with your partner, then tell them.  A lot of people don’t tell each other they love enough so give your friends a break and share the love with your partner.  Besides, you have other important things to talk about with your friends, like last night’s Game of Thrones and Drag Race.

You blowup everyone’s social media feed with your relationship

THIS IS THE WORST. If you have posted more than one picture of you two kissing I guarantee I (and many of your friends) have unfollowed you.  This is also a red flag that your relationship is not all it’s cracked up to be.  A #mcm is certainly cute once in a while, but if you find yourself constantly posting about everything your partner does for you and everything you do together, ask yourself this – who are you trying to convince?  The internet or yourself?

You fight in public

This is just mean to your friends and people commuting on the subway.  It’s awkward for everyone involved and a really quick way to ruin brunch or someone’s birthday party.  If you’re having an issue, either table it for later or leave.  Either way, do it in private or you will become to couple no one invites anywhere.  Then you’ll have no one else to each brunch with and that would just be the worst.

You get too serious too quick

You moved in after three months.  You got engaged after six months.  Slow down crazy!  Sure your relationship seems fine now…but what about in the future?  Have you ever gone through a crisis together?  Or airport security?  These are the moments that determine if a relationship will last.  Enjoy dating each other without trying to achieve milestones because your friends did or you reach a certain age.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Like day drinking.

 
I’m telling you these things because I love you and because they’re preventable.  A relationship should not define who you are as a person, so don’t let it.  I see people disappear into their relationships and I know I’ve done it too.  But instead of letting your crazy get the best of you, try to be awesome at relationships instead!  How do you do that?  You take care of your needs first (more to come on this), you treat your partner with respect, and you put down the Instagram and enjoy your time together.  It’s a simple as that.

Don’t Stress, Do Less

I know that’s corny and it rhymes, but I thought it was clever and it might have made me giggle when I thought of it.  Don’t judge me.

I just got caught in what I like to refer as a “mind trap”.  A mind trap is basically when a thought goes awry and spirals out of control leading to stress and (potentially) a panic attack .  Like I started thinking that in three weekends I’m going to get to see my friends again (good thought).  Then I thought about the fact that we’re going to need a car (bad thought).  Then I thought about the weekend after that weekend where I’m either going to need a car or muster up the patience and serenity for a very long train ride.  Then I thought how am I going to get back in time for dinner with my family or if I should even say I’ll be there. And then I noticed that I was panting and my eyes were bulging out of my head.  Instead of continuing to fall deeper into the mind trap, I took a deep breath and said to myself –

“Do less.”

Two simple words that can have a tremendous impact.  I could have let my mind keep running wild and let the racing thoughts spiral into a panic attack, but I didn’t.  I chose to do less, and what that means is I chose to focus on one thought.  One that was the most relevant and easiest to control.  In this case, I chose to think about this weekend.  This weekend is simple – I’m not going anywhere and the only defined plan I have is to get my hair cut.  Easy, low stress.  But then I could think about the stylist fucking my hair up and what if the prices online were wrong and it ends up costing a shit ton of money and then – PAUSE.  Deep breath.  Do less.  I’ll just think about today.  What is going on today.  Not tomorrow or in two days, just today.  Just this hour, even.

Much better.

It can be easy to fall into mind traps and let your thoughts race and take over.  Well, it’s easy when you have bipolar disorder and you’re still adjusting to your medication, but I assume this type of thing happens to everyone.  Right?

We all get stressed.  Even fun things, like parties and other social gatherings that require planning, can be stressful.  But that stress can ruin it and that’s stupid because stress is an unnecessary evil that tries to ruin everyone’s lives.  So do yourself a favor – don’t fall into the mind trap or give into the evil temptress of stress (that also sort of rhymed ::self-five::).  Instead, take a breath and do less.  If you need a reminder, tattoo the word “Breathe” on your wrist.  I did and it’s done wonders.  Then you could get “Do Less” on your other wrist!

I may be onto something here…

Stand Tall

I had intended to post a lighter hearted blog post today, but after the horrific tragedy this weekend I felt compelled to write this.

My heart breaks for Orlando.

I spent an amazing Saturday celebrating Gay Pride with my beloved friends.  We watched the parade, we went to the festival, and we danced at one of the gay clubs.  It was a day filled with laughter, happiness, and love.  On Sunday morning we learned what happened and we all had the same thought; that could have happened here.  My heart sank thinking about all of the people who were out celebrating, causing no harm to anyone, and then had their lives taken away from them in their safe haven.

So now what?  Will gay bars have to have weapons to defend themselves should another monster come in?

What is happening in this country?  This is not a place where people should fear for their lives in bars, movie theaters, or fucking elementary schools.  I feel like we as a society crossed a line when Sandy Hook happened, a line that should never have been drawn in the first place.  When no action was taken to change the gun laws we inadvertently decided that it was ok to murder children.  That’s harsh but it’s true.

The fact that the piece of shit college kid isn’t getting the same treatment in jail is yet another failure of our society.  Just like the fact that 1 in 5 female college students WILL be assaulted.  We have nail polish that shows you if you’ve been roofied. WE SHOULDN’T NEED TO DO THAT.

We need two things – we need love and education.

Love each other, show compassion for others.  If you don’t understand the way that someone else lives their life then educate yourself.  If you have a problem with someone being gay, straight, black, white, or whatever it’s YOUR PROBLEM, not theirs.

Parents, teach your children to accept others just as you teach them to accept themselves.  Change is possible.  Despite how horrific this weekend’s tragedy was, let’s remember that just about one year ago gay marriage became legal in all 50 states.  That was a testament that we can change the world.

Let’s remember how strong the gay community is.  Let’s remember how brave women are.  And let’s remember that every single vote counts – so don’t do something stupid in the fall.

#OrlandoUnited #EndRapeOnCampus

There’s Nothing Wrong With Drugs

I think more people need to know that there is nothing wrong with taking drugs.  Psychiatric drugs, that is.  Not hard drugs, like crack.  That’s a bad plan.  Probably should have led with that.  Either way, I think a lot of people have a really negative reaction to psychiatric drugs (we’ll call them ‘meds’), because they either don’t understand why people need them or they’ve seen the negative effects they can have.

I was on meds for 8 years, then off for about 6 years, and now as of last week I am back on the wagon.  Or off the wagon?  I’ll say on the wagon because I’m getting back to being stable, happy, and healthy which is what being “on the wagon” is all about.

You may be wondering why someone even needs meds.  I often hear people say that someone suffering with depression needs to “stop being so sad”, someone with OCD needs to “stop being so obsessive”, and someone with schizophrenia needs to “stop being be so paranoid”.  Well here’s the deal – none of those people are being sad, obsessive, or paranoid by choice.  Mental illness is not what happens when you’re having a rough patch; mental illness is often due to chemical imbalances in the brain.

Certain events can trigger someone with a mental illness to feel worse.  A death of a loved one, losing a job, or developing a physical health condition can all worsen the symptoms.  But sometimes the symptoms get worse without an external trigger.  That’s what happened to me a few months ago.

Without warning or cause, my symptoms came back.  When I decided to go off medication my psychiatrist warned me that mental illness can go “into remission”, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.  After six years of med-free life I thought I had finally beaten my mental illness…and then the mood swings came back.  And the racing thoughts.  And the depression.  And the anxiety.  I was stubborn at first because there is still a horrible stigma that surround mental health, especially when it comes to medication.  But then I realized that suffering in silence was a thousand times worse than a weird look someone might give me for taking Lithium.  If people don’t understand, then they’re stupid and you should hang out with cooler people (like me!).

People think taking medication means you’re “crazy” or “unstable” but it actually means the opposite; it means you’re taking care of yourself and there’s nothing crazy about that.  People with diabetes take medication, would you judge them for using insulin?  Or cancer patients for getting chemo treatments?  Illnesses need to medicated regardless of whether you can see them or not.

If you think you might benefit from taking medication, then go see a doctor.  Just be sure to see a good one because 90% of them are horrible.  Trust me, I’ve done the leg work.  If you’re not sure, then try some lifestyle changes first.  Exercise, diet, sleep, and meditation did wonders for me for many years, but my brain hates me so I need a little extra help.

 
And there is nothing wrong or shameful about that.