Please Don't Stay With Me Because Of My Illness

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couple almost kissing

By Bethany Casey

Relationships can be challenging. Throw some clinical depression, and it gets a lot harder.

I always try my best to be present and be a supportive, loving partner. But sometimes I just can’t find a way.

I’m hard to love sometimes, and that’s okay. I understand why it’s difficult.

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If you’re dating someone struggling with mental health issues, it’s important to remember it is an illness, just as real and painful as a physical one. Don’t judge them for things they can’t seem to control. And don’t try to belittle their suffering because it’s getting in the way of your life.

I’m not asking for special treatment, but remember to be mindful of the issues they’re facing. And make sure to treat these issues as if they were physical.

But with that said, nobody owes me or anybody else a relationship. You are allowed to leave me, whether I’m having a hard time or not. I’m a grown woman. And while I sometimes rely on the support of my loved ones, it is not your responsibility to look after me.

If you leave me, I will not blame you if I get upset. I will not threaten to harm myself to make you feel trapped.

Anybody who does this, no matter how ill they are, is emotionally manipulating you, and it’s not okay. Yes, I might be devastated. But I will thank you for your honesty and treat this like the end of any normal relationship.

I will not blame my mental health for you leaving; I won’t blame myself or even you.

If I am selfish, you are allowed to tell me. It’s hard sometimes when you’re wrapped up in your own little bubble of worry. So many thoughts are constantly spinning around my head that sometimes it’s hard to even remember other people exist. Sometimes all people with these issues can talk about is how everything is going wrong for them because that is all they can think about.

But you don’t deserve to be with someone selfish. If I do not act like I care, I’m sorry.

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If I hurt you or lash out at you, don’t just accept it. Tell me I was wrong. Tell me I was unfair to you.

Maybe I’m lashing out because of my depression, but that doesn’t mean I have to take my frustrations out on you. Don’t let me.

If I am hurting your happiness, then please take care of yourself.

Do not let your love for me hurt you. Do not let it make your health suffer, whether that means focusing on yourself for a while or stepping away from me entirely. Do not put your life on hold because you constantly have to consider me. Be happy.

If you do not feel loved anymore, then why are we even together? If you can’t remember the last time you felt like you’re part of a couple, then maybe we shouldn’t be one anymore.

It’s easy to forget the small but so important things once you’ve been together a while. But still, you shouldn’t be with someone who puts no effort into your relationship and doesn’t value everything you do.

If you simply do not love me anymore, you don’t have to pretend you do.

Most of the time, I know I deserve love, but I cannot make you love me. Nor would I want to make you if that was an option.

Don’t stay with me after our relationship has died for you. Don’t wait for a time when it’ll be easier and less painful to leave because that time will never come.

I am not my illness. I’m a person just like you. And you are allowed to treat me like one.

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Bethany Casey is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and Unwritten. Her work focuses on relationships, mental health, and feminist topics.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.