10 Things You Need To Know When Dating Someone With a Mental Illness

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.

  1. First off, patience is key. Having someone you care about, who is having a hard time, needs you to be patient and understanding.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Give them a reason to fight their illness. When you’re fighting for someone you care about, it makes a whole lot of difference.
  5. Just like everyone else, they just want to be loved, despite their challenges.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The person you are dating is not broken. They go out to eat, they go to movies, they go on vacation, they have fun.
  10. 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.

Entry One of a Voyagers Journal: Living with Tourette Syndrome; Life According to Jake


Not a lot of people have the grit to go to school full time, teach gospel doctrine at their local church, and put in 40 hours a week at their job. But for Jake Lofgran, it’s just normal everyday life, with one slight complication. You see, Jake suffers from a condition some of you may have heard of, but have never really seen in the real world. In fact, most of you have probably seen it in movies, but more in a comedic role. Jake has what doctors call Tourette Syndrome (TS). A nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds. But it’s more than that for my buddy Jake. He has a rare characteristic called coprolalia (cop·ro·la·li·a), which can cause involuntary obscene language. But from what I can tell, that doesn’t stop him from being himself. It took a while for Jake to get to that point. But now that he has learned to live with his illness, he decided to sit down with me and share his story. So everyone, this is life, according to Jake.

It started around a year ago. Jake was sitting on a school bench, watching some videos on his phone, when his head started to jerk to the side. Thinking it was some kind of chill he went on about his day. But over the course of the next few days the ticks started to get worse. After seeing some doctors, it was determined that Jake had TS. The adjustment was difficult. The ticks and sudden outbursts were a constant and very prominent factor in his everyday life. It’s not something he could escape and something he wasn’t sure how to handle. Support from family and friends was difficult to accept. They don’t see the worst of it. They don’t see him in a locked room being bombarded by severe ticks and outbursts. People don’t see him struggling, everyday, to not yell out those words no one wants to hear. It became demoralizing for him. But for anyone who knows Jake “Bad-Arse” Lofgran, knows he doesn’t stay down for too long.

Jake is one of the funniest and most positive people I know. He can take any situation, and turn it into something to be learned from. That shows when we got on the topic of online dating. While Jake was using a dating app, he realized that he didn’t want to be the guy that kept his disability hidden. Which is pretty unique, if you ask me. So Jake decided he would do something a little different with his profile. As he started to list his qualities, interests, and goals, he would add random words throughout, then stating at the end, “I have Tourettes, lets do this!” To his surprise he was actually getting a lot more matches than he had previously. He says, “people don’t care as much as we think they are going to care.” Although he never followed up on those dates (typical Jake), it was amazing to see peoples acceptance on something he was so worried about; something we would all be worried about.

According to Jake, honesty is the best way to go about your life. Being honest with yourself and with those around you. If someone has a question, don’t be offended by it. Educating the masses is how we erase the stigma on TS and other illnesses. You don’t have control of a lot of things in your life. But you can control how you react to those around you. Educate those who want to be educated and don’t be afraid to be yourself.

You can hear the full interview here. Please keep in mind that there were a couple of edits do to privacy concerns.


Being a kid was so simple. All the goals and ideas I had seemed to be in arms reach. One of those goals was to be like my childhood hero, Indiana Jones. To travel the world and yell famous one liners like, “IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!” Then punch the bad guy in the face and go on my merry way. But when I got older I realized that I can’t just go around punching people. Bummer. But my want to explore and preserve the history of cultures around the world is still a very real dream of mine. A dream that I hope to one day make a reality. I just didn’t realize how many obstacles there would be the older I got. One of those obstacles was developing a mental illness.

It all started when I was in high school. I remember having a hard time getting out of bed while having this overwhelming feeling of depression. Some days were better than others, but it seemed like as the days went by the harder it was for me to function. I started to become irritable and my friendships were harder to hold on to. My attendance started to drop along with my grades. I almost didn’t graduate high school. I kept telling myself it would get better. That I just needed a change. Then one night as I was with a friend, things took a turn for the worst. After that night, everything changed.

I remember it so vividly; like it happened just yesterday. I was sitting on the floor, next to my friends bed, and then my mind was filled with so many thoughts and feelings. It’s as if a truck, loaded with information, crashed right into my brain. I asked my friend for some paper and a pen. I was thinking that maybe if I started to write these thoughts down, that in some way my mind would feel lighter. In the end the paper was filled with words and phrases that no one could make sense of. In that moment I realized that something was terribly wrong with this brain of mine.

I bolted out of the house. I remember the cold touch of the concrete as I tried to runaway from the nightmare. I collapsed in the middle of the driveway and every part of my body started convulsing. It was as if I had no control anymore. All I could do was lay there and watch it happen. That was the terrifying part. I didn’t lose consciousness like someone would during a seizure. I was awake for every single moment. I was awake to hear the panic of my friends voice. I was awake to hear her pray for me as I thrashed about on the ground.

I had no idea what to tell the doctors once my parents took me to the ER. I was just a kid who thought he was crazy. I was so lost and confused. My body was shaking in fear. I waited for the doctors to tell me what was wrong but they didn’t seem to have a clue. I left that hospital not knowing what happened and it stayed that way for many years after.

Through all those years I went undiagnosed. Doctors went from depression, anxiety, tourette syndrome, epilepsy, and even narcolepsy. They were all over the place! I never stuck with any doctors because at that point I figured no one knew what was wrong with me. Because of my stubbornness and pride I had a hard time holding jobs. It was difficult for me to have any kind of relationship with people. I was missing out on so many opportunities to grow as a person because I lived in constant fear. Luckily for me my Heavenly Father threw a tender mercy my way. Right when I was about to give up on everything.

Not too long ago, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a blog (click HERE to check it out) written by a woman named Rachel and her fight against bipolar disorder. Come to find out we both served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in the state of Washington. Like her, we were both sent home early because of a mental illness. I eventually reached out to her and she was kind enough to refer me to a psychiatrist since we both lived in the same area. After a few sessions I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The day I was diagnosed with my mental illness was the day I finally started to fight back. With the help of friends, my doctor, and medication I actually felt the odds weren’t stacked against me anymore. The idea of me being like my childhood hero wasn’t completely off the table. I finally received the one thing that I needed more than anything. Hope.

I am aware of the stigma related to taking medication for your mental health. I’ve had people tell me not to take medication for various reasons. That I didn’t need to see a doctor because they would just “fill me up with pills” that would make slow and stupid. Which, by the way, is so not true. By not seeing a psychiatrist and asking for help I was forced to live years with a mind that I couldn’t control. I don’t blame my friends and family for this. We honestly didn’t know better. But I am here to tell you that it’s OK to take medication. It’s OK to see a doctor. It’s OK to ask for help.

To anyone reading this I want you to know that it is possible to get back what you feel you may have lost. You are not alone in this fight and it’s a battle you can win. The purpose of a Voyagers Journal is to shed light on the positives and struggles of mental illness. Through the stories shared by myself and others we hope you find strength. Do not be consumed by the depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and the anger. You are stronger than you know.