For many couples affected by mental illness, this Valentine’s Day won’t be about candle-lit dinners, flowers, or romantic dates; looking forward to the future or reminiscing about the past. It will be about getting through and trying to understand; making amends and holding onto hope. It will be about breaking down the walls around our hearts that we put there to protect ourselves and help us to co-exist without being permanently in pain.
For me, this song really captures those feelings of anger and hurt that have been so much a part of my married life for the last three years. The images convey so clearly that sense of frustration at being completely unable to reach through to someone who is only a few feet away. But it also conveys a sense of holding onto hope in the face of pain, and fighting to keep a connection alive. It’s an urgent encouragement to keep the plane in the air and to try and navigate back to where the journey started, and to how things used to be.
“I wanna turn the clock….
Right back to where it was
So let’s build a bridge….
From your side to mine
I’ll be the one to cross over
Just tell me it’s not the end of the line
I never meant to break your heart
I won’t let this plane go down
I never meant to make you cry
I’ll do what it takes to make this fly…”
[Olly Murs and Demi Lovato – Up]
There are so many Valentine’s cards you can’t buy if you and your relationship are struggling because of mental health difficulties, because the messages simply don’t feel appropriate. This Valentine’s Day I won’t be saying ‘be my Valentine now and forever’, but ‘be my co-pilot on this rescue mission’. I won’t be saying ‘hold me tight’ but ‘hold onto hope’. If I can knock through even a couple more bricks in the wall between us this Valentine’s Day, that will be worth more than a hundred candle-lit dinners and a thousand red roses.