There is so much pressure put on girls and women to measure our worth through our ability to have intimate relationships. We are inherently expected to be affectionate. We aspire to have our fist kisses from such a young age, and it’s an unspoken rite of passage to be in a romantic relationship. Even in platonic and familial relationships, physical signs of affection are expected. So for those who struggle with intimacy and warmth because of mental illness, like me, it can be extremely alienating, and upsetting to feel like it’s impossible to live up the the expectations put on you. Because really, casual physical contact and affection is such a natural act. So being uncomfortable and put off by embraces, or even just friendly physical contact can make one feel broken and unworthy of those around them.
As with most things that result from mental illness, it can be very hard to put into words, or to communicate to those who can’t relate. For me, it’s pretty perfectly encapsulated by the concept of only being able to hold someone’s hand if it’s dismembered from their body.
Part two of new monthly comic series by Panteha Abareshi.
Keep up to date with it here.