Through our discussion with Laura and Ceann we came to find how their relationship functions as well as how they balance their respective struggles and combat them with each other's assistance.
|Laura & Ceann|
Ceann has multiple-sclerosis 2nd progressive and depression. Her depression is well managed. She takes medication for her mental health once daily and "I'm good,' she says. One thing I found immensely troubling is years ago she had a doctor tell her that she was retaining water in her head due to her menstrual cycle. Basically, guessing her diagnoses based on the fact she was female. This is deeply troubling given she was actually living with MS and it was chalked up to possible vertigo due to mensies. Many of you know we are well aquainted with misdiagnosis and poor care from doctors. I was often "too young" to be so ill and I simply wasn't understanding what the doctor(s) were telling me. After my parts got me (us) to the Mayo Clinic that was changed and they listened, finally, to concerns and took a look at everything instead of trying to get us out of the office as quickly as possible. We despise hearing tales of woe in the misdiagnosis realm, but here we are again. Everyone seems to have these stories in varying degrees and we very much want to work towards these changes.
These women are strong encouraging people who truly have a beautiful story of love and acceptance. Their relationship began when they replied to each other's online personal ad. Ceann had just gotten out of a psychiatric hospital and Laura was dealing with alcoholism (not an unusual chapter for those living with misdiagnoses). Each of them was open and up front about their respective struggles. On their second phone conversation they each disclosed their illnesses to one another. They readily accepted and helped each other. Questions were asked with the desire to better the quality of life for their new partner. We were thrilled to see this, as with any relationship they can be very delicate; when coupled with both physical and mental health one can experience life on a proverbial tight rope.
This was not the case, Ceann and Laura are a refreshing and too small of an example pool for open and honest discussion surrounding struggle. Sometimes Laura requires space and Ceann knows so gives it, but other times they know what the other needs and they work on those moments together. 9 years of marriage and openly discussing and supporting each other is a testiment to what a healthy relationship can be. They were married in Canada in 2008 because it wasn't yet legal for them in Minnesota. Fast forward to 2013 when it became legalized in their state they were officially married in their home country.
When I asked them how long they had been together Ceann explained it perfectly...
Laura, with the support of Ceann, has been in therapy for 3yrs she's been utilizing support groups for addiction and recovery for her alcoholism as well as intensive outpatient groups... With her wife's help she maintain's accountability and balance for her recovery journey. Ceann controls her medication and keeps it locked up. There is a checks and balances through this part of their relationship and it works well for them.
Do either of you think the LGBT+ Community forgets about their MH?
When Ceann was young she knew she was gay and one of her biggest desires was to grow up and die. In Minnesota she dealt with a lot of heavy bullying. In adulthood, she believes that some of the problem is in the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual). Some "professionals" are still insistent that being gay is a mental illness. Which, personally, I find absolutely ridiculous, moving on...
Through our discussion I found we shared many of the same views on mental health and the LGBT+ communities struggles. Discrimination is still very present as pointed out by the latest election in the US.
Something we say often is that Mental Health and Mental Illness are two different topics. Everyone has mental health to maintain, but that does not mean you are living with a mental illness. This seems to be often missed regardless of your culture and lifestyle.