When You Have To Choose Your Mental Health Over Someone You Love
One of my favorite television shows of all time is That 70’s Show. I remember the days when I used to come home from school, sit by the TV with my homework and watch the fictional lives of six teenagers living in the suburbs of Wisconsin. In the finale of season five, the gang goes on an overnight camping trip to celebrate graduating from high school. Eric’s sister decides to marry Fez, a foreign exchange student, so that he can remain in the States. The two decide to drive off with Kelso’s van, leaving the rest of the group stranded in the woods and unable to attend their ceremony the following morning. This episode also marks a pivotal moment of truth between the show’s love triangle: Kelso, Jackie and Hyde.
Mila Kunis plays Jackie Burkhart, the youngest member of the group. She is the stereotypical representation of a cheerleader: spoiled, vain and extremely superficial. Throughout the series, Jackie seems to wrestle with her feelings for Michael Kelso, the unintelligent pretty boy, and Stephen Hyde who is the rebellious type. During season five’s finale episode, Jackie is forced to decide whether she wants to be with Kelso or Hyde. In the end, she doesn’t pick either of them and instead, chooses herself. She hilariously states that if she could run across the beach into her own arms, she would.
Sometimes we are faced with certain situations where our own happiness and well-being must come first
My younger, teenaged self, perceived Jackie’s decision as highly narcissistic. How could someone choose themselves over people who they claim to care for so deeply? In recent years, this question has become increasingly easier for me to answer. Sometimes, we are faced with certain situations where our own happiness and well-being must come first, even if it means having to let go of a loved one who may be negatively affecting our lives. I don’t mean to say that it’s acceptable to start severing ties after every little disagreement that you have with a person. When you’re close with someone, the two of you are bound to experience moments when you disagree. However, it’s important to know when enough is enough.
I knew that choosing myself was the right decision, but one that would cause me to feel a great deal of guilt
Realizing how toxic a loved one’s behavior is to your life can be a hard pill to swallow. It’s one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to come to terms with. I knew that choosing myself was the right decision, but one that would cause me to feel a great deal of guilt. I loved these people dearly and still do. However, it was either in their actions or who they chose to surround themselves with that ultimately drove me away. I would also be lying if I said that my disability hasn’t factored into these choices.
It might not be easy, but sometimes you need to channel your inner Jackie and choose yourself.
Living with a disability comes with its own emotional, mental and, in my case, physical challenges. I may only be speaking for myself, but this fact has definitely influenced who I allow into my world as well as who I feel deserves the chance to remain. These days, I have little to no physical energy. So, working toward maintaining a healthy state of well-being must be a top priority. Relationships that keep me from doing so are relationships that I have felt the need to walk away from. Here is my advice to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation: It might not be easy, but sometimes you need to channel your inner Jackie and choose yourself.