Mental health with a new marriage

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TheGirlWhoWaited

Mental health with a new marriage

Postby TheGirlWhoWaited » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:23 pm

Hi. I'm new, although I've been reading quite a lot for a couple weeks. I dint know where else to put this post, if this is the wrong place, please forgive me.
I'm getting married to my best friend in November (after he gets home from a two year mission in September) and I couldn't be more excited!
I do have some concerns though that I was hoping someone might be able to help me with.
My fiance is a higly-functional autistic. Actually, it's hard to tell he's autistic if you don't actually know him well, and he has come so far since we were kids and I've had the blessing to be able to watch him grow since we were 9 and 10 and we are now 24 and 25.
I have a myriad of mental health challenges. Bipolar disorder and severe depression being the most pressing, and I still have very visible scars on abstract parts of my body from self harm as a teenager (that obviously he will see when I'm undressed). How can I explain these to my future husband in a completely logical way (I am very abstract where he is very logical) that will help him understand and not be upset with me on our wedding night? I don't want Any walls between us in our marriage, and we've addressed most out then, I just don't know quite how to take care of this one.
Any and all suggestions will be appreciated and prayed about.
Thanks so much!
-The girl who waited

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MayDayGirl
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Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby MayDayGirl » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:58 am

I have no idea what you mean by scars on abstract parts of your body. Do you really mean they are on parts that are always hidden by clothes, like your breasts?

Are you concerned about how to tell him because he has autism? I'm assuming that because you've known each other since childhood, he already knows about your bipolar and depression. I think a book about the subject matter would be an appropriate place to start explaining the how's and whys of what you did.

TheGirlWhoWaited

Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby TheGirlWhoWaited » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:34 am

Thank you! I hadn't thought about a book.

MayDayGirl wrote:I have no idea what you mean by scars on abstract parts of your body. Do you really mean they are on parts that are always hidden by clothes, like your breasts?

Unfortunately, yes.

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MayDayGirl
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Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby MayDayGirl » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:02 am

It would probably be a good idea to discuss it further (after you've talked about it privately with your fiancé) with your pastor in premarital counseling.

Wishing you well!

TheGirlWhoWaited

Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby TheGirlWhoWaited » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:00 am

Thanks!

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mrsKD
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Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby mrsKD » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:10 pm

Oh dear (((hug))) I really really wish I could give you a hug.

We faced the same issue as far as self harm. I had an eating disorder in high school and early college and spent most of that time as a cutter. I had to prayerfully consider how and when to bring that to the table in our relationship. It was early on because I knew that I had a few people in my life who have delighted in telling new friends that I had "issues" when I was younger and I wanted him to hear my testimony from me, as I see it. As a life that is now covered by the Blood of Jesus.

Pray. Pray for wisdom. I will be adding you to my prayer list. I wanted to just forget when I came to God because He had made me new, right? But when you start to consider another person seeing your bare body, the enemy would love to use this as a way to pull you down. Please, stand strong in Gods saving power and remember that you are a new creature in Him, regardless of the necessity of revisiting the past. Tell the facts simply and plainly in love. Whether it's song lyrics, pictures, or just shapes in your skin, they may fade in time, but you are right in knowing that he's going to see them eventually and probably shouldn't just be surprised by them.

Please, pm me if I can be a listening ear or prayer partner in this.

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Wolfy
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Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby Wolfy » Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:49 am

Hi there!

First, I wanted to say: congratulations on your upcoming wedding!!

Self-harm is a really hard thing to talk about...but I think that it is great that you're trying to figure out how to explain it to your fiance!

I, too, have Bipolar disorder, a handful of other diagnoses, and a background of self-injury. Actually, my husband and I started dating about a month after my last hospitalization... So pretty much from the get-go he knew of my mental illnesses. (Granted prior to our relationship we'd been friends for seven years; he knew brief details). I have permanent scarring...it's a constant reminder of the past, but also a continual reminder of the grace and healing of Jesus: for then, for the moments I feel/am weak, and for this road I walk of recovery.

One book in particular stands out for me in regards to self-harm and how to explain it. Self-injury was my capstone topic in college, as I sought to help myself and others, so I have a small collection of books! :D The one coming to mind is called "Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation" by Steven Levenkron. It's a book meant for professionals and laypeople alike.

While 'self-mutilation' is basically an outdated term, and I absolutely HATE the term 'cutter' [No offense, MrsKD] (As Levenkron says, "A victim's illness is not her identity."), overall I feel this book does a good job at getting into the basics and a certain depth, so to speak, as far as attempts to help the reader understand why a person might harm themselves.

Levenkron takes various examples he has seen as a professional, giving explanation for self-destructive behavior and shedding some light on the issue through what he's seen in practice. Glancing through it, I realize that certain terms are outdated (the book is originally from 1998 and revised in 2006), but the general principle remains the same. I've found some real gems as to helping others understand the reality of self-harm in this book! While the focus is adolescent-based (as many of the professional literature is... *sigh*), I think it applies in a general sense, as well.

I'll stop rambling now. This is the book I generally point people to first, so I figured some additional details might help!

Just know that you're not alone. Revealing your scars can be scary, but it's freeing. It can truly be healing!

If you'd like any other book recommendations, I have them, so feel free to ask!

Grace and peace to you,
Wolfy
Standing beside Kuma, my beloved bear and husband! (:

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mrsKD
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Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby mrsKD » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:45 pm

None taken! And you make a great point about it not being an identity. I really wish someone had pointed that out to me years ago!

malloryrenae

Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby malloryrenae » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:11 pm

When I was hospitalized, one therapist continually emphasized that bipolar is an illness not an identity. It doesn't make sense to say "I am cancer" so it shouldn't make sense to say "I am bipolar." This distinction has really helped me out.

I have struggled with self harm for the past 10 years. My fiancé knows about the self harm, I pull my leg hairs out and if they are not reachable I dig them out with a sharp object. Thankfully I have managed to escape without any scars; however, my legs are very scabbed. I typically wear clothing that covers my legs to avoid questions. I am worried how my then-husband will think when he realizes the severity of the problem.

My fiancé has known about the self harm for over a year. Thankfully, but unfortunately, this self harm doesn't seem to be a major issue for him, because I have attempted suicide 5 times in the last 9 months.


I have come to the forums many times, but I registered because this post spoke to me. If anyone with similar issues (major depression, self harm, anorexia, suicide attempts, psychiatric hospitalization) would like to talk, feel free to PM me. I am getting married August 1st, so I might be slow at replying but I will do my best.

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Wolfy
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Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby Wolfy » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:35 pm

mrsKD wrote:None taken! And you make a great point about it not being an identity. I really wish someone had pointed that out to me years ago!


Phew, I'm glad! :D It really helps in the recovery process, to be able to process the illness as it is. The reality is that it's a sickness to be treated. It's not something to be ashamed of, because as is the case of self-harm, it's a symptom of something more going on...

malloryrenae wrote:When I was hospitalized, one therapist continually emphasized that bipolar is an illness not an identity. It doesn't make sense to say "I am cancer" so it shouldn't make sense to say "I am bipolar." This distinction has really helped me out.


Amen to that! Having that distinction is really important, imo. It makes the illness into something treatable, not a death sentence.

And hey, congrats on your upcoming marriage, too, Mallory! :mrgreen:
Standing beside Kuma, my beloved bear and husband! (:

TheGirlWhoWaited

Re: Mental health with a new marriage

Postby TheGirlWhoWaited » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:34 pm

Thank you all so much! You've answered so many more prayers and questions than what I asked!

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