When my guy and I first met, my life was undergoing some radical changes. I had gone from being a graduate student working on a PhD to being disabled and not coping very well with that. I was living off savings, having not yet been cleared to receive my SSI/SSDI checks. I was terribly uncertain about any aspect of the future. I had tried to work as a cashier for a few days with a grocery store, but tired easily and had debilitating panic attacks when I forgot a procedure, thus gumming up the works and having to wait for the customer service manager to come unravel the situation. In general, I was a mess.
When my guy first came to my house, I was very nervous. I had no idea if I was ready to even consider dating
someone, let alone actually doing it. I was very anxious that I would
have a panic attack, and I knew that worrying about it was increasing
the odds of having one, but I just couldn't seem to get a grip.
My guy was very gentlemanly. He was quiet and observant, calming. He
spoke with me about my many books and some various academic theories.
He put me at ease because this was familiar terrain to me. He asked
questions and listened to what I had to say. Given my past
relationships with men, that was a bit of a marvel to me.
We took things slow. Really spent the time to get to know one
another. It was the first time, the only time really, that I've ever
really DATED anyone. He was very patient with me, concerned, caring,
Gradually, my panic attacks in public places grew less frequent. He
had been safely encouraging me to take more and more baby steps,
further and further, in my path of rediscovering myself, remolding
myself, and coming to terms with the very idea of being "Mentally
Ill". Because he accepted and loved me, I began to, too.
He has seen me at high hysterical peaks of Mania and low despairing
depths of depression. He has seen me happy and lively, laughing. And
he has tucked me in to bed when I could barely drag the covers over my
While all this was going on with me, he was and is there every step of
the way. During this, he has decided to apply for PhD programs,
interviewed, and been accepted. Those of you who are regular readers
know that he has just completed his first year.
He works as a psychologist for the State. He also is coauthoring a
chapter on interviewing children, their teachers, and parents. He is
also teaching 50+ undergrads in a summer course that is very intense.
He is also taking on other responsibilities.
His own personal life and relationships with others has taken some
rather sharp turns since we've known each other. His grandfather has
died. Family members have been ill. He's moved and helped his
He is there for me. He is there for his mother. Should his sisters ever call upon him, he's there for them, too.
Is he perfect? No. But he may be perfect for me. We communicate
well. He is willing to discuss misunderstandings til we clear them
up. We laugh together, but he lets me cry too.
He has times of doubts. He worries that he might be over-extending
himself with all the work that he is committed to doing, and doing
well. Sometimes, I think he is too hard on himself, expecting and
pushing himself toward perfection. Ease up, I tell him. Give yourself
a break, I say.
Sometimes, he shows far more consideration for others than he allows
himself. He even lets me take my dogs with me when I go to visit him.
During spring break, he got a hotel room that allowed pets so I did not
have to make other arrangements. He did it without me even asking him
He tells me I look wonderful, that I am wonderful, when I feel horrid
and am sure that I look just as bad. He encourages me to exercise, but
doesn't harp on me about it. Sometimes, he watches me with a special
look in his eyes and on his face, and I know that I am loved.
Ya know, I don't have to hold out for a hero, because I've already
found him. So, as yet another song says, let's hear it for my baby!!