Loving Someone for Who They Are: Nope

I think it’s very cute for romance movies to portray love as finding ‘The One, The Only’ who would understand, accept and love you. All of you. With all your flaws, freakiness and mental illnesses. I think it’s cute. And bullshit.

Romanticism ruins our lives. It draws in your mind a misleading portrait of yourself, and sets unrealistic expectations about others. It says no matter how flawed you are, don’t change yourself. Someone would think the same way you do. Someone would share the same interests with you. Someone would love you so much that they accept and embrace all of your weaknesses.

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However, in reality, we get mad at each other for the smallest things: the nail-biting habit, the hair in the bathtub, yesterday’s half-full coffee mug…and disagree on tougher issues: on acting out each other’s sexual fantasies, monogamy or polygamy, LGBTI rights. No, we can’t love anyone for ALL they are. We are horrifying human beings.

All of us are crazy in very particular ways. We’re distinctively neurotic, unbalanced and immature, but don’t know quite the details because no one ever encourages us too hard to find them out […] A good partnership is not so much one between two healthy people (there aren’t many of these on the planet), it’s one between two demented people who have had the skill or luck to find a non-threatening conscious accommodation between their relative insanities.

 School of Life , “On Marrying the Wrong People” 

The idea of “You’re perfect just the way you are” also romanticizes mental illnesses. What happens is that, whenever someone goes through a panic attack, depression, or a mental breakdown, people take away their meds, leaving them suffer in physical pain and suicidal thoughts.

“You are fine,” people say. “You don’t need those pills. You need to embrace you true colors.”

This argument leads to a dangerous consequence, especially when the one with the psychological issue is close to you: your parent, your friend, your significant other: People refuse to believe in medical prescription.

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Look, I’m not your therapist, your fairy godmother, or your God. I’m willing to listen to your problem, give you support and advice. We’ll use reasons and facts to build arguments and list down solutions.

But if you refuse to take your prescribed antidepressant, you blow off with your anxiety and cry hours after hours after hours, and expect me to accept you for who you are because I’m your friend and that’s what friends are for, hmmmmmmm………………. I’m going home.

If not handled carefully, coming off your antidepressant medication can cause disturbing symptoms and set you up for a relapse of depression.

Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 2015

I’m available today to console you, not my whole life. You’re being irresponsible to yourself. You experience a mental breakdown and ignore doctor’s help. Maybe it’s less about what happened, but how you perceive it — which is strongly influenced by your anxiety attack. I agree that only the drugs won’t help, but you can’t reason someone who are bleeding their brain out, right? Gotta treat the physical pain first. Until you calm down, we can talk.

If you’re going down a bumpy road, you need some shock absorbers. Otherwise, you’ll feel every pothole. Therapy is like a set of emotional shock absorbers. If you do the work, you learn how to create patterns in your thinking and behavior that can help you be more resilient in times of stress. If you’re only taking meds without also seeing a therapist, you’re not learning any new skills, so when you stop taking the drugs, you’re not really any better off. I encourage—borderline insist—that my patients go into therapy. I want people to adopt healthier coping strategies so they can get off meds. That’s the goal. You’re not meant to stay on these drugs for decades.

Julie Holland, MD, a psychiatrist in an interview.

Bottom line is, we are not perfect. The purpose of life is NOT to remain flawed and problematic then go search tirelessly for someone who would finally love and accept us. That person doesn’t exist (though you can always devote your whole life to God).  The purpose of life to to explore, and learn, and work to improve yourself and become a better version of yourself every day.

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