From an episode of Glee:
Emma: You know how we’re always talking about moving towards marriage, and nothing really ever happens. I mean, Sue said I should be all liberated and ask you to marry me. Um, do you want to be with me? I mean as your wife?
Will: Of course I do.
Will: I love you, you know that. But what if we get married. What happens when we have a house… and a baby? How are you going to handle spit-up on your special Wednesday sweater? Sweetheart, you can’t control another person. What if it’s all just too much?
Emma: Uh, I mean, I’ve been taking my medication…. some days are great. Some days are not so great, but I’m I’m I’m, I mean, I’m doing the best that I can. I’m I’m I’m, I’m doing everything that I can.
Will: I know you are, I know you are, and it’s not your fault that you have this… disease. Sometimes, it just seems so hopeless.
Emma: Wow, okay, um. *sigh* Can I promise you that I’m going to get better? No. This is what you get, you know, this incomplete person with toothbrushes and with rubber gloves and with so much love for you. *cries* But if that’s not what you want, then you need to be honest with me. And with yourself. And the sooner the better.
This was difficult for me to hear, even though I don’t struggle with OCD. It seems so cruel… like because you have a mental illness, you don’t get to have all the stuff in life that you want and that everyone else has. Even if you’re trying your best to get better, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s enough. It seems so unfair.
But it’s true.
The reality of it is, Emma is still very stuck in her OCD… and while she’s getting therapy and taking meds, it doesn’t change the reality that it’s still a really big problem for her. Will makes a lot of good points, because Emma is struggling to manage her everyday / routine life… let alone a whole new life that involves things that are “messy” and out of her control.
It’s the same with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, etc. Personally, I want all of these things in my life so badly. I am married, I’ve been in treatment for a long time, and am a lot better off than I used to be… but if I’m struggling with body image so much right now, how will I handle the weight gain of pregnancy? How will I eat what I need to, when my meal plan now already feels like a lot? To a large extent, people are still taking care of me… therapists, dietitians, doctors, my support system, etc. I need to be at a point where I can take care of someone else.
It’s not just about getting married and having kids — it’s really about having a satisfying future. You can’t be partially committed to recovery and life a complete life. It just doesn’t work like that. It’s easy to think “I’m doing well enough,” but really that translates to “My life is okay enough.” Emma’s life isn’t bad. My life isn’t bad. But in both cases, we want MORE. And it totally sucks to be trying and to be able to see your future, and not be there yet…. or to ever get there.
See, you don’t “get” to do all the “normal” stuff when you aren’t better — even if you are trying your best, are so much further along than you were before, and are partially recovered. It’s not your “fault” that you’re stuck in this mental illness–which is what makes it so unfair. But it is true that “regular” life requires a level of “normalcy,” and regardless of whether or not it’s fair… being partially recovered is only going to give you a partially complete life.