My advice on waiting for someone to save you from yourself or love you like you are unable to love yourself is, don't. Don't do it.
In our history there are always fairy tales that give the impression that we should wait and our prince/princess will come and rescue us. Our knights in shining armor on white horses slaying the beasts that imprison us. It's a reoccurring subject matter force fed to us since the time that we are able to walk and form words. Pretty little stories spoken to us in hushed tones at bedtime by our parents. Snow white, Cinderella, and Rapunzel there are so many stories and so little time to list them. Now, I love fairy tales but they are just that tales of fairies, gnomes, witches, and magic. Dragons and flying carpets, fantasy and falsehoods.
Relationships are hard enough as a normal individual. When you throw something into the relationship like mental illness you have other issues. It becomes less about flying carpets and more about will the prince/princess stick by me as I try a new medication and bloat up sixty pounds? Will they be able to deal with the nights of crying and despair? Will they be able to handle my not being able to work or go out places with them? How will they feel about the fact that I will have emotional breakdowns and psychiatrist appointments? Can they take the fact that I have anxiety or I hear voices? Will they be there if I need to be admitted to the mental hospital? Will they hold my hand when I am scared to get out of the bed in the morning or if I am depressed and haven't showered for three weeks?
It is hard enough to have a relationship as a healthy person. It is much harder to be tied to someone that has self esteem issues and self negative notions. Not to mention that the stigma of having mental illness is not just an umbrella of shame that hangs over your head but it also overhangs your partners life as well. Because he/she is connected to you not only do they deal with your issues but they also will be judged by others for being with you. It is a hard thing to tackle.
I am not saying that you should not have relationships when you have mental illness. I have been married for twelve years and we are still going strong. What I am saying is that you have to learn to love and accept yourself first. If you do not, the first person that professes love becomes your safety net and that is really not a power you should be giving anyone over you. The knight and shining armor riding in on his/her white horse may really be a loser wrapped in tin foil with a wooden sword riding in on a broken unicycle with a flat tire. We especially as a younger person feel this perverse need to share cohabitation with someone and have a relationship like The Notebook. Not realizing that The Notebook relationship can actually be a Silence of The Lambs relationship.
Manipulation and lies, sadness and despair, anger, and pain can erupt. If you can't like yourself or accept yourself then you have low a self esteem. You are unable to stand up for yourself. This causes a huge issue as you now believe wrongly that your opinions do not matter. Imagine a relationship where you can not say no when you don't want something or like something. Imagine having your feelings over looked and ignored. Imagine being manipulated and lied too. Does that sound like a romantic relationship to you? It is a slippery slope that leads directly into a dark, dank, smelly pit of hell. Trust me, I have been there. You are not a welcome mat, don't let people walk on you or use you to wipe their feet on. No one deserves that.
Another issue that we come across is that in wanting to be saved from ourselves we do not realize that we are allowing our partner to make decisions for us. We do not realize the power that goes with making a decision for ourselves. We have lost the ability to know our true selves and now we are allowing others to decide for us what we want, like, and have to do. We are letting them tell us who we are rather than finding out ourselves. What if you really are not who this person wants you to be? They can whittle you down and force you to become something you are not happy with. You are not a block of balsa wood. You do not need to whittled away until you the fit the mold of what someone else wants. Become whatever and whoever you choose to be.
Getting into a relationship when you are unstable is like a really bad chemistry experiment that is likely to go horribly wrong and blow up in your face. No one wants to walk around with singed off eyebrows smelling like sulfur. You know what fire and brimstone smells like? Sulfur( see dark, dank, smelly pit of hell above).
You need to give yourself some time. You need to get to know who you are and learn to stick up for yourself and your beliefs. Get help for your mental illness and learn to stand by yourself first. Then and only then can you safely meet your Mr./Miss Right. You have a better chance of falling in love with Noah Calhoun rather than falling for Hannibal Lecter. Oh, he probably won't cook a piece of your brain and feed it to you, but it may feel like he has. Do you really want to take that chance? This could be my OCD talking here, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Most likely he/she would just suck out your soul and everything good out of you. He/she would leave you a dried husk of what once was you laying on the ground. You are worth much more than that.
So take it form an older more wiser woman who has been in this situation. Please don't rush into something you want but are so not ready for. Save yourself the heartache and scars. Be the knight and shining armor for yourself. Don't wait for someone else to heal you or love you. Heal and love yourself. Save yourself from drowning. Save yourself from falling. Save yourself from these ridiculous notions that we have to be saved by mythical royalty to begin with. This is your life, seize it and take no prisoners. Accept only what you deserve and want. Leave the Hannibal Lecters of the relationship world to themselves.
with fava beans and a nice chianti.....