I’m a bit odd sometimes. Weird to be honest. I’m lucky to have a wonderful partner who recognizes and accepts my oddities, who can see past my mental illness.

When I’m in a hypomanic state I can get too energetic. Sometimes this manifests with the tickles. My husband hates being tickled and restrained which almost makes it more fun. I can’t seem to stop myself and when he’s gasping for breath, I like to think he’s just laughing really hard instead of the reality being that he’s having a panic attack. He is so patient with me.

When I’m stressed or having anxiety, he knows I need squeezes, tight hugs to calm me down. Sometimes I need nuzzles. This is me shoving my face into his neck or elbow pit, could also be his knee pit. I press in really hard. I know, it sounds weird to write down but for some reason it’s calming, a nice warm spot for my face to hide in. Again, this is something that the hubby is not fond of but puts up with because he loves me and he’s amazing.

A few years back my depression and anxiety were at an all-time high. I was experiencing awful insomnia, the roughest sleeps. I was at a breaking point. Christmas morning Darren comes lumbering over to me with a heavy box. I unwrapped it slowly, hoping that it might be a puppy. It wasn’t a puppy (sad face). It was something so much better and definitely needed. It was a weighted blanket. I’d always wanted one but couldn’t afford it (they can be quite expensive) and I’m not really great at spending money on myself. This was probably one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received.

I think that relationships can be hard when one person lives with a mental illness. I read a lot about how people have trouble maintaining relationships, some of them falling victim to self-sabotaging during manic or depressive episodes. I realize that I’m extremely lucky to have Darren. He’s supportive of my needs as I go through this mental health journey, always listening when I need to vent. He understands and recognizes my shifts in mood. I know that he puts my mental health ahead of his own, that he feels the need to always be the rock of the family. It’s admirable and I love him for it but I worry, it’s not healthy to hold everything in.

I can’t really remember where I was going with this post (thanks brain fog). I initially wanted something light, explaining my proclivity for ‘nuzzling’ when stressed out but I think something else snuck in. I think I’d like to give a shout out to all the wonderful people who nurture, care for and support their loved ones living with mental illness. It can be taxing and relentless at times. Sometimes it’s hard to verbalize how much we appreciate you and everything you do. Having you walk with us in the sun and through the storm is sometimes what keeps us here.

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