Dating isn’t the most fun process in the world. You go into it not knowing if the date will go well, or if it will be the next Hindenburg disaster. But if the date does goes well, what happens when you find out your date has a mental illness? Do you stick around to see what could happen or do you get up out of the chair and run for the hills? Well, if you decided you wanted to stick around and start dating them, and seek some guidance and understanding, this blog is for you! I reached out to some of my friends to get insight, and to discuss the do’s and don’ts when dating someone with a mental illness. One of them is a fellow blogger, Rachel, who actually did an article on this subject that you may also enjoy. You can check it out HERE.
- First off, patience is key. Having someone you care about, who is having a hard time, needs you to be patient and understanding.
- Don’t back out on the person right away, once you find out they have a mental illness. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
- COMMUNICATION. Can’t stress how important this is. Find out what helps and doesn’t help when they are having a hard time; not everyone is the same in regards to triggers and symptoms.
- Give them a reason to fight their illness. When you’re fighting for someone you care about, it makes a whole lot of difference.
- Just like everyone else, they just want to be loved, despite their challenges.
- Remember that the name of the person your are dating is not Mental Illness. Although it is a part of their life, do not let it overshadow for who they really are.
- When they don’t want to leave the house, or even the bedroom, don’t make a big deal about it. They need time to rest and get their strength back. Maybe just lay with them and watch some Netflix, or read a book together.
- Don’t be the “just walk it off” person. Nothing adds more stress than someone who questions the seriousness of what that person is feeling.
- The person you are dating is not broken. They go out to eat, they go to movies, they go on vacation, they have fun.
- Last, but not least, believe in them. Believe they can go to school to get that degree. Believe they can be wives/husbands and mothers/fathers. Believe that they can do whatever they put their minds to.
In my own personal experience, I have found dating very difficult, due to an incident with an ex girlfriend. I remember having my first episode in front of her. It was so bad my mother had to come and get me. Over the next few days her perspective of me changed. I remember being on the phone with her and she told me I was a burden. I was so distraught that I swore off dating for a long time. Even to this day, I am still hesitant to put myself out there. Always wondering if someone is going to accept me, for me, or if they are going to see me as a burden and then toss me aside. I know not all people are like this. I don’t even hold any kind of resentment or hatred toward my ex for what she said to me; in fact, I even consider her a friend. But, there are people out there who see past all that, and just want to be loved, just like me.
There was this one girl I use to date where she did everything right. We had fun, but she understood that some days I would have to stay in. She would text and call to check in on me. She made me want to be a better person every time we talked. I felt like we were actually a team, and she really believed in me. I remember one day I had an episode while I was talking to her over the phone. She was so calm and understanding, even though I thought for sure she would never talk to me again. Our relationship grew even more after that. So yes, I know without a doubt there are people out there who understand.
Listen, I am not trying to guilt trip anyone to date someone with a mental illness. No one in this life is perfect for everyone. Dating is just hard. Period. But you will find that one person who understands you and you will understand them. And together, you both will be capable of anything. So join them on their voyage, and enjoy life to the fullest.