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Old 12-08-2018, 03:21 AM
sera2775 sera2775 is offline
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Member Since: Oct 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5
sera2775 sera2775 is offline
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Member Since: Oct 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5

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.

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