I went through something a few weeks ago. I sat through a conversation with my partner about his ex. We had talked about his ex for months but never so deep did our conversation go that night. Before the conversation that night I had believed he was over his ex, until he began to talk about her in a way that I began to see I may never compare to her. He talked about his ex in a way where all of the kisses, and him telling me he loved me, began to mean nothing to me. I felt anger, because we had being seeing each other for a good six months and never until this night had I heard him talk so passionately about this woman that had filled my place before now.
As each day passed after the night we talked, I began to give Aki space, I didn’t reply to his texts or SnapChats because I began to find myself comparing myself to his ex. All I knew was that she was Mexican and lived under Sutro Tower in San Francisco. I didn’t know her name or what she looked like, but I began to make a picture in my head and jealousy seemed into my life.
Jealousy takes many forms for many people, but for me, it usually takes me to a depressive episode. Jealousy can easily take over your life if you do not do something about it immediately. The jealousy that occurred with the talk about Aki’s ex sent me in one of the deepest depressive episodes that I have been in for awhile, and I went to the hospital for a week because of the depression. Jealousy for someone with a mental illness can potentially put them in a mental state that is worse than “simple” jealousy and that is why I have come up with a few things to help one with consuming jealousy. We simply have to change our mindset.
- Accept and observe jealous thoughts and feelings.
So we all have experienced one time where we feel jealousy but the one place we all go wrong is trying to battle the jealous thoughts and feelings. The best thing we can do is to respect these feelings and not define them anything but feelings.
- Jealousy is a universal emotion.
Often we think we are the only one experiencing an emotion like jealousy. This is not the case, because many people experience jealousy. We have to recognize that naturally jealousy is a simple coping mechanism and just like a cold or flu we have to go through the motions of feeling emotion to even start recovery.
- Shift your POV, and step back from the situation before you react by anger or word of mouth
Many think of jealousy as stemming from a relationship. This most often is the case. If we step away from a situation that is causing us mental turmoil and see the situation at hand, most of the time we will see how ridiculous our thought processes are. At most we will see that the jealousy over whomever or whatever is nothing compared to the mental relief that we all deserve on a daily basis.
- Jealous thoughts are not the same as reality
For me and Aki, I began to think that everything that we had done together and that he had told me about how I made him feel was lies. Here I was confiding in him my diagnosis, and that he liked me for who I was. Here he had been telling me it was important for someone to be truthful to him, and I had been. I began to be jealous of his ex because after the talk about his ex, here I was knowing she had known him longer than I have. Was that significant? Maybe I didn’t know him enough to be liked by him?
Realistically, as Aki and I began to talk after my depression subsided about his ex- the talk we had that night was because he hadn’t found anyone that would listen to him let alone understand him. He trusted me, and he knew I would listen, he just was not aware at the impact the conversation would take on me.
Because of many episodes that I let get the better of me I often do a simple test of whether thoughts are contributing to my functionality or if they are unproductive. This thinking leaves out other things, people, and determines your true place in the world compared to the jealousy in the real scheme of things. Jealousy put simply is a word that we let lead our life, when realistically we need to see our place in the world and see that we are worth everything. Most likely we are worth and more special than the person that we are jealous of.
Susanna Page is a student in San Francisco, CA. She loves to write and is a blogger for Young Minds Advocacy Project and the International Bipolar Foundation. She is a field mental advocate for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. She loves to write about mental health and young adults. She is in the beginning stages of connecting with University newspapers in colleges in San Francisco persuading each University to include a column in every issue that has some form of mental health information or personal story of someone that is living with a mental illness. On her free time she likes to adventure around San Francisco, write, and cuddle with her dog Hamish.