Relationships and Mental Health


Restored Post from April 1, 2012

“Perhaps the only true dignity of a man is his capacity to despise himself.”

George Santayana

I give thanks for The God Source’s presence in my life and for the blessings it has bestowed upon me. Thank you, for all the relationships in my past, present and future that have helped me to come to this place. Each one has taught me significant lessons about myself.

Today I am grateful, yet I find myself in a state of self-examination. I tend to doubt myself, very often, questioning myself, whether I am a good person or a bad person.

My marriage is not in jeopardy, but as some of Porcelain Utopia’s audience comes from such categories as relationships, divorce, and healing, mainly self-help, self-healing, and spirituality, I mean no harm in this and would like to broaden this blog post to a more general idea of, let’s call it, “the worst case scenario,” because I love my wife and I know that she loves me.

We are good, even great—together, but in 2009 we had been separated and she has often written about this period in our lives on her own blog, so I would like to, because I am able to, reach into some of the feelings and events that had surfaced more during that period of time—we have since reconciled in 2010, and are celebrating our four-year anniversary on the 26th of April—this month.

Like the archangel, “Haniel,” as I call her, my beautiful, perfect-just-the-way-she-is wife, I write this to come to a place of more self-forgiveness—my latest quest, and to hopefully impart some information to those of you who read Porcelain Utopia, who might be struggling with a relationship, or who may have, in fact, be thinking, “I’ve had enough.”

I write out of compassion, and understanding, yet the bottom line is, what is written, is different from what is said aloud, and in person. My wife is away until tomorrow. I fear she might think I am “attacking” her.

…Maybe that’s just my illness speaking.

“In a fight between you and the world, back the world.”

Franz Kafka

I crave for ease of living and ease of mind—peace of mind, and with my lovely wife being away, my heart does cry.

To any of you having the slightest bit of self-doubt, or who may have their minds screaming… Mine is now content. It’s easier for me to be able to access the feelings of a more “panicking” state without being affected with panic.

Marriage, if you are married, is to be treasured and, of course with 100% love for my wife, this is not meant to be personal—yet I always run that risk. My wife is a very sensitive woman. It’s one of my favorite things about her!

“Emotion has taught mankind to reason.”

—Marquis de Vauvenargues

So to all of you who are seeking inspiration on relationships, and healing, self-healing, in particular, my heart goes out to you.

Staying together can and should work.

“Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.”

Don Marquis

Stay together; of course, unless there is violence or anything life-threatening going on. That’s a no-brainer, and yet a whole other topic.

“Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.”

Thomas Jefferson

Living with me, a mentally ill, and quite honestly, a very disturbed and troubled man like me can be and is very difficult.

Resiliency. Resiliency, Resiliency…

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”

—Goethe

A marriage is not something to be given up on without deep examination of the alternatives. Countless difficult marriages are salvageable. I believe that many marriages can be rescued, through counseling, through organizations, through prayer, and sometimes through simple, honest, communication—

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.”

Richard Carlson

Marriage could, and I think can, and should continue. Nobody would die if a couple stayed together.

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” 

Bill Clinton

—Life would go on.

“You must always be puzzled by mental illness. The thing I would dread most, if I became mentally ill, would be your adopting a common sense attitude; that you could take it for granted that I was deluded.”

—Wittgenstein

A person who is profoundly unhappy in a marriage is also depriving his or her partner of the experience of being wholly loved and accepted, rather than endured. A person who silently cries out, “I can’t live this way,” and then does live this way, despite his or her cries, is also quietly teaching their inner child to ignore its own inner voices, and failing to convey to them what may be the most important lessons we can teach it, the inner self. That is to say, be true to yourself, and celebrate the extraordinary gifts of being alive. Live your life to the fullest and be the best person you can be.

“It’s your life. Live it with people who are alive. It tends to be contagious.”

—Peter McWilliams

Marriage does have rough edges, imperfect fits, occasional pains and regular disagreements. Every marriage does, including some very good and healthy ones, and even those of “irreconcilable differences.”

Two partners in the same marriage may not necessarily agree on just where their own marriage stands.

“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

—Churchill

Life is too precious to spend crying and arguing. Adulthood is too valuable to spend crying out, “This isn’t right,” etc. If you feel this way, you might consider changing your life situation, or your attitude about it, your opinions and so-called judgments of your self. Lately, this is precisely what I’ve been working on, with the excellent help of my cognitive behavioral therapist.

Maintaining a marriage, keeping it, and staying married is often the best possible situation. The only way to change old ways of life, and thinking processes, is often not to leave, nor to give up, but to work at it. I love my wife and am grateful for every passing moment with her and when she is away, like she is now, at a special event in Florida—while we are from New Mexico, my love and longing for her deepens.

“You can feel like a mental patient, but that doesn’t mean you have to live like one.”

—Marsha Linehan [Founder of DBT]

I know that living with me can be quite difficult and challenging. My illness [schizoaffective disorder] seems to take its toll on everyone, and I can, too, become mean, hurtful and “bad,” but I believe I am a good person underneath it all.

Whether in a relationship with somebody who is mentally ill, or not, I hope this particular blog post might save someone from possibly destroying something so special, when it might simply have been a misunderstanding, something taken out of context, or simply argued while in the heat of the moment. Let that moment go, and return.

May we all remain as centered as possible,

Jonathan Harnisch

About Jonathan Harnisch

Author | Mental Health Advocate | Schizophrenia | Artist | Blogger | Podcast Host | Patent Holder | Hedge Fund Manager | Film & TV Producer | Musician
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