Living with a mental illness is hard, and some days are harder still. Understand that on those days, not everything will be likely to be achieved by your partner.
Tips for Dating Someone With Mental Illness When You’re Struggling Too | The Mighty
Instead, try speaking positively about what your partner did accomplish. On particularly bad days, getting out of bed, eating a meal, and taking a shower might constitute success. Be involved in your partner's support system. Do this with the knowledge and consent of your partner. Learn what psychiatric medications are being taken and understand their effects and side effects. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, take care of yourself.
Don't allow your partner to overburden you. It is like the oxygen masks on airplanes. Only take care of those around you after you are in a safe place. There are resources out there through organizations like National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI for friends and family of people with mental illness, and you may find these helpful.
Dating someone with mental illness is not a death sentence. It is, however, something that needs to be properly managed and will require you to keep all of these things in mind to be successful. These are the times when communication is the hardest, so planning ahead can ease a tense situation.
This is often easier said than done. For example, avoidance can be common with anxious or depressed people. They may not be avoiding you , but perhaps a situation that can trigger a reaction. You can offer support, but your partner is responsible for managing their symptoms. While there is yet to be a dating manual for mentally ill folks, we can guide each other.
I was fortunate to speak with several brave women who are open about their mental health. They shared their stories and advice for people with mental illnesses who want a chance at love — of all kinds. Dating while mentally ill can be a positive experience, but, unfortunately, mental health stigma is real and definitely impacts the dating lives of mentally ill people.
2. Have an open line of communication
Since these experiences, Hall has found and been in a happy relationship with a man also affected by mental illness. Their third anniversary is in October.
The impact of those words and actions hurt, and their consequences are real, but the hatred and shame that these people are telling you to feel are not the reality of who you are. It is possible to find not just love, but the healthy, supportive, real love that you deserve. Initiating this kind of transparency in any kind of relationship sexual or not can be incredibly difficult, especially depending on what challenges your conditions present.
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While there is no such thing as perfect timing, you can prepare for when you are ready… but how can you tell? Personally, my way of knowing when to tell someone my diagnosis is when I begin to trust them — not entirely, but enough to tell them this detail of my life.
I have also found it helpful to ask myself: Do I feel like it will get even healthier, or not? Do I feel safe with this person? The best advice I can give is to listen to yourself and your feelings. Although these may be affected by your mental illness, your feelings and experiences still matter. The more you have this conversation, the more you will be able to determine what you want in other people, and what you will not accept.
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