I was married for nine years to someone struggling with depression and social anxiety. At first this seemed like a good fit. After all, I had spent most of my life managing my own depression, anxiety and anorexia. Finding a partner who understood the challenges of mental illness seemed like a dream come true. I could empathize with his condition. He seemed compassionate about mine. And I loved him unconditionally — mostly.
You met the most amazing person. You have been on a few dates, and the chemistry is there. It's exciting, and it's going so well. And then one night you have a deep conversation and you learn that you're dating someone with a mental illness. As someone who has been on the other side of these conversations a lot of times, I can vouch for the type of reactions that are less than helpful when you discover you're dating someone with a mental illness.
First, do not call your new potential partner "crazy. Most people who, like me, struggle with bipolar disorder do not manifest the way characters do on TV.
The Top 5 Realities of Dating Someone with a Mental Illness
Similarly, the news media is quick to brand mental illness as "crazy," especially when it comes to those very few who commit crimes. Studies have shown that those with mental illness are seven times more likely to have violence committed against them than to ever harm another person [ How Does Mental Illness Affect Criminal Behavior?
Second, do not simply nod and move on. This is an invitation to start a conversation about dating someone with a mental illness. Ask to hear the person's story.
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Don't be accusatory, but make sure you learn what you need to in order to make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right relationship for you. Dating someone with a mental illness adds an extra dynamic to a relationship, as any health issue would. We have so many tools to share from our own survival arsenal.
We have so many insights and pep talks and encouraging words we want to say. He or she is the only one who can solve them, and they need to do it on their own.
Dating someone with mental health
Yes, be a solid presence. Yes, love on them without end. But no — do not take their problems on as your problems, or soon you will be drowning alongside them.Dating with a Mental Illness - Bianca Rose Hunter
This is a tough one. When I met my current partner, I knew he was stressed and low. I wanted to arrange everything — introduce him to everything — fix everything for him.
It fed into my own issues of self-worth and wanting to be needed by someone else. I need to step back and let him take care of himself. Two people with illogical thoughts can come to many unhealthy and illogical conclusions. Consider joining a group like Celebrate Recovery or find a compassionate listening program like Humble Warrior to get an outside perspective on your inside problems.
Whereas I was a chatty pisces needing to bear my soul every five minutes, my husband was not a talker.
He tended to shut down instead of facing issues head on. But mental illness makes it even more important. This guest article originally appeared on YourTango. Find help or get online counseling now.
Relationship Questions to Ask for Long-Term Commitment For one thing, it is very likely that you will at least go on a date with someone who is suffering or has suffered from mental health problems. Here are some things to think about when it comes to getting into a relationship with someone with depression , anxiety , PTSD , ADHD or similar mental health conditions: Retrieved on January 20, , from https: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul Published on Psych Central.
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