There's a woman I've been curious about at several AA meetings and we've been friendly during conversations before and after. I vaguely sensed at various times that she's been going through a rough patch. She's got essentially two personalities: a very cheerful, extroverted and energetic presentation and a very introverted, withdrawn and shy, quiet and depressive presentation. These are truly extremes. Of course, it turns out there are mental health struggles, medication, suicide attempts, cutting, in-patient treatment, therapy, etc. I have repeatedly been attracted to or even just curious about women struggling with mental illness for the past 7 years or so. In fact, there has been a progression involved where I've actually been attracted to more and more seriously mentally ill women as time has gone on.
I'm doing some examination of this. I think patterns contain valuable messages. I especially think patterns that are progressive in a strong direction contain valuable messages. I still don't have a clue why this pattern would be the case. The easiest explanation is I have some serious rescuing and co-dependency issues to look at, and that in fact my issues around this are getting worse and worse. It would be nice to have a strong, healthy, confident, rich woman come along and rescue me, come to think of it. :-) On the other hand, I wonder. I'm not attracted to the mental illness. I know that much certainly.
With my last SO, I met her at a time when she was just wrecked. At first it was fine as I helped her out. Sometimes, in order to get her up off her living room floor, I would have to literally pick her up. Her depression was so severe at times that she was incapable of speaking, moving, etc. She tried to kill herself twice during the 4 years we were together. She did show significant progress, functioning in the world. She got an advanced degree, worked, engaged in a relationship with me, etc. Over time, however, I began to utterly despise her illness, which returned periodically and ferociously. It has in fact been difficult for me to merely despise her illness and not actually despise her. I have needed all of the 12 step tools I have in order to gain some equilibrium there. When the relationship became a part of her problem rather than a helpful part of the solution that was pretty much when I bailed. So it does look like, as soon as I could no longer fulfill a knight in shining armor, rescuer role, I lost interest in the relationship.
I hate looking at this stuff.