Psych Central

Go Back   Forums at Psych Central > >



advertisement
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-08-2018, 12:24 AM   #1
ken9018
Veteran Member
ken9018 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Nov 2016
Location: Maryland
Posts: 511
2 yr Member
374 hugs
given
Default How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

You could say I've been kind of slow at getting around to most things people have done by age 21. Dating/relationships is one of those... I've never been in a relationship and only been on a couple dates a long time ago. Long story short maybe I'm getting lonely and want to make a few friends and possibly date someone.

But how do you do that when your shy, scared to try new things, have constant anxiety and not a drinker/partier/bar scene person?

How do you date when suffer from mental illness? Tell the person upfront and hope for the best? Or lay out your issues far down the line if the relationship because official?

Tell me how do you date, make friends, etc when you have a mental illness?
ken9018 is offline   Reply With Quote
Hugs from:

advertisement
Old 12-08-2018, 03:21 AM   #2
sera2775
New Member
sera2775 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Oct 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5
My Mood: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

3 yr Member
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

Hi ken9018,

I had initially intended to write a post myself about dating, but when I saw your question, your situation sounded similar to mine, but I'm experiencing loneliness at a later age - i'm 43 now.

I did have a friendship group in my 20s and a few relationships with girls - from a few weeks, mostly, to one that lasted for a few years, badly, unfortunately - but at present moment, apart from parents and a casual job on weekends, I don't have people of my age that are friends.

I have anxiety in social situations as well as depression and mood fluctuations. I'm quite sensitive to comments and don't deal that well with conflict, but this has improved with time.

Coincidentally, I spoke to my psychiatrist this morning about dating and making friends - something I'm desperate to do - and he helped me to talk about my strengths and values as a person, as well as a list of priorities, e.g. girlfriend, full time job, etc., for change.

My instinct, when it comes to any change, is to tell myself "that nothing will change" and when I'd had friends or girlfriend I screwed it up, proving I'm a failure, loser, etc.

There is a perverse comfort in telling myself these things, as even though they don't make me happy about where I'm at, they do provide a rationalisation that I don't need to take risks because things will fail anyway. This won't change anything.

I'm trying, and it really isn't easy, to do more in my life to meet people and girls, in particular, by involving myself with groups that I have an interest in, such as running and community radio.
I don't know if it will help, my mind thinks of hundred of scenarios where things could go wrong and I could easily talk myself out of it, but I'll give a chance.

My view about disclosing a mental illness is that it is up to you, but it is not as simple as that, isn't it. I don't think you need to tell them upfront, unless they have a mental illness as well. It depends on the relationship - if you've only been seeing them for a short while and still learning about what you like about the other person and whether you want to be with them for a longer time, then you don't 'owe' to them to say.

It gets to the point where you want to let them more into your life and your mental illness is good or bad, a part of you, not all of you, but something that affects how you might behave and think when you're not doing well. I meet a girl at uni - college in the states - and after a few weeks I told her about my condition and she couldn't handle it, I don't blame her, even though it was hard for me to take.

It is difficult to keep the 'subterfuge' up for long periods; mental illness doesn't run on a schedule. And at these times, it is a risk and a vulnerability to tell someone about something that has a negative stigma in the public and they might not react well to. It is at this point whether you do and take a chance that they're accepting or not and move on, even if it is bloody painful.

I've gone on a lot, but anyway.

All the best and have a nice Christmas from Melbourne, Australia.

Nick
sera2775 is offline   Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Old 12-08-2018, 03:32 AM   #3
qwerty68
Veteran Member
 
qwerty68's Avatar
qwerty68 is invisible and worthless
 
Member Since: Jan 2016
Location: nowhere
Posts: 522
My Mood: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

3 yr Member
413 hugs
given
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

That sounds familiar...

It is difficult to just put oneself out there with MH issues on top of natural shyness and even scarier to tell them. It is not helpful, but my answer is just approach them but make sure you are as calm as possible so your nerves don't scare them off.



My opinion is to wait a few dates at the minimum to tell them, although depending on how you present yourself they may guess but they could write it off as shyness. At least wait until you know you like that person and feel comfortable. If you aren't all that into them, why broach the subject at all? If they like you enough for multiple dates, telling them should go well since they are getting used to you and they obviously like you.



Of course, that doesn't guarantee they won't end it. The stigma is real but don't let it stop you from trying. Waiting too long to tell them could be as damaging to your relationship as telling too soon as it could be interpreted at dishonest.



In short, it is a crap shoot so do what you can to improve your odds by helping them feel comfortable with you.



For friends, it is not as important to tell them in my opinion. I could be wrong.
qwerty68 is offline   Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Hugs from:
Old 12-08-2018, 04:23 AM   #4
MickeyCheeky
Wise Elder
 
MickeyCheeky's Avatar
MickeyCheeky My echo is the only voice coming back
 
Member Since: Jun 2016
Location: Italy
Posts: 9,062 (SuperPoster!)
My Mood: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

2 yr Member
26.7k hugs
given
PC PoohBah!
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

I'm so sorry you're struggling, ken9018 It's really not easy to develop a relationship when you're struggling with mental illness. However don't let that stop you from trying anyway. You could start going to groups of people who have interests similar to yours, for example. I know it's not easy, but I think the more you try and exercise, the better you'll become. As for telling them about your MI, I'd suggest to be honest. There's no need to tell them immediately though. Just wait a few dates and, if you feel comfortable enough, you can decide to share this and see how it goes from there. I think this is valid for friends as well. I wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
MickeyCheeky is online now   Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Hugs from:
Old 12-08-2018, 01:04 PM   #5
Blogwriter
Member
Blogwriter has no updates.
 
Member Since: Dec 2018
Location: San Jacinto
Posts: 70
My Mood: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

187 hugs
given
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

Hi Ken,


I am sorry to hear about your shyness and anxiety. I had lots of social anxiety in the past because I was afraid to let people know the real me. I learned how to make friends with a support group. You can meet people through a support group or by participating in things you are interested in such as bowling, poetry, books, or other sports. Then you know you have something in common and can start a conversation that way.
Blogwriter is offline   Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Hugs from:
Old 12-08-2018, 02:00 PM   #6
IceCreamKid
Grand Magnate
 
IceCreamKid's Avatar
IceCreamKid has no updates.
 
Member Since: Jan 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 3,134
8 yr Member
294 hugs
given
PC PoohBah!
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ken9018 View Post
You could say I've been kind of slow at getting around to most things people have done by age 21. Dating/relationships is one of those... I've never been in a relationship and only been on a couple dates a long time ago. Long story short maybe I'm getting lonely and want to make a few friends and possibly date someone.

But how do you do that when your shy, scared to try new things, have constant anxiety and not a drinker/partier/bar scene person?

How do you date when suffer from mental illness? Tell the person upfront and hope for the best? Or lay out your issues far down the line if the relationship because official?

Tell me how do you date, make friends, etc when you have a mental illness?
I think it depends on the mental illness.

The first thing I recommend to you and to everyone else I see who writes/says some variation of "..most things people have done by age 21" --

stop comparing yourself to what you think other people are doing/have/have done.

People lie, exaggerate, and embellish the truth about all sorts of things--but particularly about dating/romantic/sexual experiences.

The only person you need to be concerned with is you and what you want: you'd like to make some friends and find a nice person to date.


That contains some good info.

Then consider: Find Support | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

If neither of these are helpful, you might look in your own town to see if there are groups where like-minded people meet (a lot of times through the local mental health clinic).

Then there are interest groups: book clubs, bowling teams, volunteering, going to the dog park..in other words, putting yourself out there to meet people who share at least one of your interests.

What I don't recommend is thinking, well if I had a romantic partner everything else in my life would fall into place. I think the opposite is true--when my life is stable overall, that is when I will attract, and be ready for, a romantic partner.

And to go back to what I said in the beginning--it depends on the mental illness. I have depression. I feel zero need to tell everyone that. I have some anxiety; same thing. But if I had an illness that could get quite dramatic: including psychosis, for example; I would think it only fair to tell a romantic partner fairly early on. Not the first date, not the third date, but probably by the 4th date--but I'd want to have reassuring info too: "...but my last episode of psychosis was 3 years ago, and the medication I am on now is working very well...[whatever is true in your case]" --- I hope that gives you some helpful pointers.

Courage!
IceCreamKid is offline   Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Hugs from:
Old 12-08-2018, 07:52 PM   #7
sera2775
New Member
sera2775 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Oct 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5
My Mood: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

3 yr Member
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

some great feedback and support from forum users. These things have a multiplier effect in that it helps more people than just one user as people are often experiencing the same thing as others.

Another example of why I love community, non profit organisations and forums, where people come together for a greater purpose; to ask for help and in time, to give back.

My two cents....

Nick
sera2775 is offline   Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Hugs from:
Old 12-08-2018, 11:19 PM   #8
Anonymous52222
Guest
Anonymous52222 has no updates. Edit
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

I have this problem myself and I haven't found a surefire solution for it.


I think the easiest way would be to not overwhelm yourself with too many responsibilities. Another words, don't take on a full time job and/or go to school or have a bunch of kids and expect to keep a healthy relationship if you can't handle it without being overwhelmed.


I know that since becoming a full time student and part time employee, my ability to maintain friends or date has dwindled. I can barely approach women without being terrified of being rejected or judged. Back before I took on all of this responsibility, my fears were still there but at least I had the energy to try to fight them and ask women out anyways. Now I struggle with that.


Hope I helped.
  Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Hugs from:
Old 12-09-2018, 12:53 AM   #9
ken9018
Veteran Member
ken9018 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Nov 2016
Location: Maryland
Posts: 511
2 yr Member
374 hugs
given
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

Thank you so much everyone for the information and advice. I really do appreciate it. I’ve been giving online dating ago and well someone asked me out. I didn’t feel I was ready to go out with them that fast, so I told them I was naturally shy and wanted to get to know her better. And also luckily I do know her somewhat as we went to high school together years ago. She seems to be fine with just talking for now, which is great. I’ll be taking all the advice that was given in the above posts. It’s really good to have somewhere I can post and ask questions like these. Thanks again everyone and Have a great Holiday(which ever you may celebrate)
ken9018 is offline   Reply With Quote
"Thanks for this!" says:
Hugs from:
Old 12-10-2018, 08:10 AM   #10
WishfulThinker66
Poohbah
 
WishfulThinker66's Avatar
WishfulThinker66 has no updates.
 
Member Since: Jun 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,273 (SuperPoster!)
My Mood: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

113 hugs
given
Default Re: How do you date or even make friends when you have a mental illness?

I think you need to expose yourself to as many people as possible. Attend support groups, volunteer, join interest groups. Just get yourself out. I happened to come upon my long term boyfriend via the internet in a forum where we shared a common interest. Scary as heck. We met almost immediately. (ironically I question relationships that have never strayed from the internet).

A word about dating sites. It is just my own observation of friends who have and do belong to these but if you are going to give these a go I would stick with those that require a membership to join. I think given the investment in doing so makes such members a little more truthful and honest about themselves. Oh there are plenty of those who don't meet that criteria but a whole lot less on such websites as those that offer free dating. For example, craigs list and plenty of fish seem to stand out as being rather risky. My friends who have searched for love on say eHarmony have been much more successful in meeting partners and acquaintances than their experiences with the freebie sites.

Whatever way you choose to do so, just get yourself out there meeting as many people as possible.
WishfulThinker66 is online now   Reply With Quote
Hugs from:
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® — Copyright © 2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.




advertisement

 

The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice,
diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. .
Always consult your doctor or mental health professional before trying anything you read here.

 

HomeAbout UsContact UsPrivacy PolicyTerms of UseDisclaimer
Forums HomeCommunity GuidelinesHelp


 
Helplines and Lifelines