Before I start this, let me say this is for anyone who has any type of mental illness. As most of you know, I have multiple mental illnesses (bipolar, borderline personality, ocpd, dermatillomania, anxiety disorder, and depression). Therefore, my other mental illnesses do come to play when it comes to dating. It’s just, I feel my bipolar disorder intervenes the most. Don’t worry my BPD just falls half a point behind.
Anyway, what I’m about to “discuss” doesn’t only pertains to just bipolar disorder. It can relate to other illnesses as well. I’m sure there are differences between the others, but in general, I feel like there are some similarities. I just want to explain, because I don’t want anybody with different mental illnesses feel like they can’t relate. With that being said, let’s continue…
Why did I decide to write about this entry? On my previous personal entries, I have mention that I was dating and looking for someone special. Through this whole dating process, I am reminded of my mental illnesses. I’m not saying I don’t recognizing it or acknowledged it before dating, it just never in front of my mind this often. I usually view myself as, “I’m Michy and I’m a real cool person who happenly have to manage my mental health more seriously compare to everyone else” At the end of the day, no matter what, I still view myself as Michy.
Going on dates and talking to people, made me really examine myself more intensely. Like I had to put myself under the magnifying glass time to time in order to make sure whatever I decide to do is really the right step for me. I never wanted make a choice because my manic period made me blind of a situation. Or I missed out on an opportunity with someone, because I was too depressed to “deal” with the person. Or I become distant toward someone out of fear of abandonment (bpd). Or I’m taking forever to get ready on a date not because of the normal nervous jitters, but because of my anxiety or making sure everything is going according to plans the way I want it (OCPD).
At first it was difficult, but then eventually I decided to tell individuals about my mental illness after a week or two of talking (depends how well we hit it off). If I felt like the individual and I are a great fit and the person seems highly interested in me, then I make my announcement. It’s kinda funny, but letting someone know about your mental illness is almost like coming out as gay (or any label within the LGBTQ+ community). You’re telling this individual this sensitive information and you’re not sure how they will react. Will they stop dating you or will they want to continue?
I had mix responses. Some people were actually cool with it and just thought I want a awesome person. They realize the seriousness of the situation, but still want to pursue the relationship and see how it goes. The only reason it hasn’t developed into anything serious with these people it’s because of our personalities or a situation had happened that prevent it to move forward. Less than a handful of people were due to my mental illnesses.
Don’t get it twisted I had some negative backlash too. There were people that looked at me like I’m crazy and scared. They looked at me like a serial killer. They were afraid I was going to chop their body into pieces and eat their tug as a snack. There were people that became extremely mad. Thankfully not so mad they want to start to get violent. Just upset I haven’t said anything from the jump so they wouldn’t have to “waste their time” with me.
There were some people that needed their space to think about all this. Unfortunately, after thinking it over they said no or worse… they ghost me. Very few people come back to give it a try. The ones that do come back, acted differently around me. They weren’t their same ole usual self anymore. Which made me feel awkward and our interaction awkward. With these individuals, it will end because they decided they couldn’t continue anymore or they ghost me out of the blue.
Again, telling someone is not easy. It is very rewarding at the end though. By telling the person, you see their true colors. It filters out who truly cares about you and just see you for you. Because just like you view yourself as a person, you want the person you’re dating to do the same.
Now, after letting someone know and they are all on board with it doesn’t mean everything is going to be easy. First, just because you tell someone you have mental illness does not mean you can “let the crazy out”. What do I mean? Ya know when you’re dating somebody you don’t show EVERYTHING. When you feel comfortable with the individual you slowly reveal more of your disgusting side, lol! Same situation here. Now that you finally confessed, doesn’t mean you throw everything all at once. TAKE IT SLOW. See how they react when you talk about you anxiety or your depression. Are they confuse, understanding, uncomfortable? This is the key on how slow to go and how to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a healthy matter.
Which brings me to…. COMMUNICATION… This is highly important when dating an individual. Now am I saying you should tell the person the full details about your childhood trauma? No. But a basic and simple information of how you feel/what you’re thinking will suffice. Personally, I succeed at expressing what I’m thinking. That’s never an issue for me. However, I do suck at expressing my emotions. For example, after spending time with someone I really like, I immediately become a cold person. Why? Because of my borderline personality disorder (BPD).
People with BPD usually have abandonment conflict. So when an individual leaves or our time is up, I intellectually know it’s fine. Emotionally it’s a complete different spectrum. In the moment I am reminded that people aren’t meant to stay in your life forever and it discourages me and breaks my heart. Instead taking the moment to say, “I don’t want to let you go and I wish you can stay longer. I’m going to miss you so much” what I do is become silent, less romantically cute self, and a bit mean. I push the individual away, because I don’t know how to express my emotions maturely. I am working on it. Some days are better than others, but it is highly important. If you have BPD, try not to push the person away. Try to communicate what’s going on. You may lose a person that truly loves you by doing so.
Having bipolar disorder and communicating with your partner may take time. Especially when it’s an individual that does not know a lot about the mental illness. What may seem like a quirky, fun, and spontaneous side, may actually be your manic phase. And let’s face it, when people are in this phase, you can’t take everything they say seriously/personally. I know, I myself, get so much in a high that I say anything and everything. So your partner has to get to know you better to recognize when it’s you’re manic episode talking or the real you talking. That includes your depressive episode too.
All and all, dating is tough. It’s worse when you have these type of challenges. There will be times you hate dating and you just want to be left alone in an isolated island somewhere. You want to swear off men/women for the rest of your life. Trust me I have been there dozens of times! Yes, you will have to kiss thousands of frogs/try to find the right foot on that glass slippers. It will take tremendous work on your part. You will have to be honest with yourself, be extremely self aware, and remind yourself that you deserve love like anyone else. Be patient with your crush. Don’t lose your temper with their ignorance about mental health, but take the time to teach. Of course don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with the person.
Despite your suicidal thoughts and attempts. Despite your childhood trauma. Despite all that have happened, you are still here. And if you want to find someone who see the beauty that you possess inside of you, then do so with an open heart and mind. You can do so by adulting one day at a time.
IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE HELP, PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING:
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Live Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
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