Finding support and the unconditional love of a significant other when you are suffering from a mental illness can be difficult. My darling friend Lebogang Xolo is here today to talk about how she found love and support in her partner during her battle with PPOCD, (Postpartum OCD). Please show her some love and support y’all.
When I was a teenager I stumbled upon a movie called “A Beautiful Mind.” This is one movie that made a huge impact in my life, and I knew from then what true love is supposed to be like. The last scene, where Alicia Nash (Jennifer Connelly) is still standing by John Forbes Nash (Russell Crowe)’s side, even in old age, through a mental illness, still leaves me in tears to this day. Nevertheless, I was young and naïve. As much as I grew up in a very stable and loving home (I was raised by my aunt and uncle) I never knew who my biological father (I now made peace with it). Subconsciously I felt rejected, abandoned; I started searching for love in all the wrong places. I said “Yes” to the first man who proposed.
To say this was an unhealthy relationship is an understatement. And as Oprah put it “The signs are always there, we just chose to ignore them”. A year of marriage and a beautiful princess later, I decided to walk out, with absolutely nothing but my daughter. It was hard, really hard, but something deep inside me told me I’m enough, I deserve better, I deserve to be loved.
I cried, studied ‘The Secret’, bargained with God, and cried some more. I crawled, I walked, I ran, I flew, I grew stronger, and I healed. Two years later, I made space in the closet for my future husband (that’s the power of ‘the secret’ positive thinking). I then looked up to God and my everyday prayer went something like this:
Thank you for saving my life, for giving me the strength to survive such a painful divorce. I think I’ve met enough rebound guys and well, I’ve had my fun and am ready to move on. I am ready to meet the one you chose for me, but please please make sure that he loves my daughter just as much as he loves me or more if possible.
A couple of weeks later, he came into my life. Just when I least expected it. At 27 I got the same butterflies as I did at 16. I remember telling God “If you just make him say hello to me, I’ll never ask for anything else, I promise.” He did more than that; he told me that I’m beautiful. He was so different, so secure in himself. A year later he quit his job and moved all across the world for me. I knew he was the one the day he asked my daughter permission to marry me. At 4years of age, she helped him chose the ring. She held the ring as he proposed.
Fast forward 2 years later we have a beautiful son. And with his birth was a start of horrific PPOCD. When I thought I was losing my mind, my husband told me everything will be ok. He held my hand and never missed a single doctor’s appointment. He reminded me to take my meds, assured me that he loves me more now than he ever did and treated me the same way as he did when we met.
And so my mind goes back goes back to the movie I adored as a teenager….. A tale of love so unconditional, so strong and so pure…. Love that sticks with you no matter your past, your baggage, your illness or imperfections. And my heart is full of gratitude, for having been blessed with such love.