Love, flowers & Prozac: dating and mental illness.
Digital team's blog
For Valentine’s Day we asked our followers about their experiences of dating and mental illness. Was it all hearts, flowers and hiding the Prozac or could love blossom between counselling sessions?
This is just a selection of what our followers told us:
"I do feel it makes it a lot harder to meet someone my ex husband lived with my mental illness for 13 years. And I continue to live with it. To feel comfortable to talk about it to a partner is vital #stillsingle" - J
"I didn't really know much about mental health when I met my partner. It took time to learn how to help with her anxiety, I got it wrong so many times but I also got it right a few as well." – R
"I’ve struggled with mental health since I was a child, I was diagnosed with BPD at 18 after being sectioned and spent 5 years inside a psychiatric unit, when I came out I was lucky enough to find the love of my life, I was upfront with him straight away about my mental health mainly because I am not ashamed of my illness and that he had the right to know about it.. he’s handled it really well, even on my dark days!" - S
"I told my now husband of 3 years and together for 9 as soon as we met. I was completely upfront. Explained my past. My illness. I also warned him of the potential future. In all honesty and literally gave him the time to think about it and if he wished to walk away that was cool. Yet here we are 9 years later and he’s my absolute rock." – C
"I am relatively open with most people in my life about my mental health, except romantic partners. I have to really know that they are going to stick around, and that I trust them before I tell them, because it always feels like you stand to lose a lot more with a partner. I even dated a guy when my anorexia was quite severe, and just never explicitly mentioned it, and neither did he" - R
"I experienced an ex partner who was totally unsupportive of my mental health, so now I'm open and upfront. I think it was a conversation I had early on with my husband, and turned out to be something we had in common. Everyone has bad days, and it's not always easy to admit when you're struggling, but it's definitely worth doing because then you're not shouldering the burden by yourself." - V
"I’m usually very up front about my anxiety because it’s an ongoing issue, and discuss my depression a little later because it comes and goes. If someone is going to date me, then they are going to have to date all of me, including my mental illness. My partner’s acceptance and support is extremely important to me, so if someone accept my issues at the beginning, then it’s not meant to be!" - O
"Having to live with mental health isn’t easy nor is maintaining a realationship , but knowing that you do suffer with it to extremes of not wanting to be here no more to being so ott with your behaviour an some partners cannot handle that I’ve gone through relationships where I was mentally and physically abused which in turn made my mental state of mind very fragile but luckily I’ve met someone who understands I do try my hardest to be a good partner An there are days when I don’t want to do anything or go any where because of my severe anxiety and he’s never once shouted at me for being like this !! However he still does find it hard sometimes when I have a meltdown an I’m nasty with it I don’t mean to be it’s just the way I am" - S
"My partner was quite supportive about my mental health when I told him a couple of months into the relationship but towards the end of our 3 year relationship I had quite a long period of being very depressed and very anxious. He seemed unable to deal with it. The relationship went downhill and he eventually left me one night. I would like to believe that if you love someone enough you would want to stay with them despite their struggles? Maybe I'm being idealistic or maybe he just didn't love me enough!" - MB
"I’ve not actually been in a relationship over 5 years and one of the reasons my relationship ended was because my ex felt that I was too much. There was one person that I was sort of getting to know, I mentioned that I had depression and anxiety as well liver disease and their response was that I couldn’t have anxiety because that’s just stupid. Depression they didn’t really want to talk about. It was a really uncomfortable experience for me because of the way they reacted and I’ve never really wanted to bring it up again because I feel like people just see you as a troubled person and don’t want to deal with the hassle." - C
"I didn’t say anything for a long time as my husband and I got together at 18 and even I assumed it was hormonal and my female mood swings. It’s only really in the last 5 or so years that it’s got worse and yet in reality my life gets better by the day. Overall though my side kick of 11 years has been amazingly patient, kind and generous and a wonderful support. He lets me be me and have my moments and is always there to pick me back up again. I wish for everyone to have an understanding partner so that they don’t punish themselves for being unwell sometimes." – S
"I tell anyone who is interested in me from the very beginning because I prefer for someone to know what they have possibly to look forward to and let them decide if it is for them. It does make it more difficult because people paint us usually with one big brush of stigma and misunderstanding and for someone looking to get into a relationship with you mental health can seem less like real life and more like some scary and daunting exaggeration."– S
"I have been open and honest about my mental health and my husband loves me and is my best friend too" - L
"I currently have no love life, I hardly leave my flat due to anxiety. I last dated about 10 years ago and am still in touch with my ex partner by phone, he said only recently that my only love is my my medication unfortunately many are still very uneducated about mental illness." - T
"My friend and I were discussing this as we both have visable self harm scars. A lot of people are scared to ask about it, and if you tell them why you have these scars they freak out. The ones who I stick with are the ones who ask unashamedly, they tend to not treat you any differently and are accepting of you and your illness." - S
"I knew my husband as a friend before my BPD started to really manifest and I became really unwell. We lost touch as you do, and met up again years later and ended up falling in love and getting married! I’m in times of crisis and it can be incredibly tough. He knows me better than I know myself! I don’t know how he does it. I suppose he knew how I was before I became unwell, so he knew my potential. He’s helped me get some of myself back which I’d lost to he illness’s I’m incredibly lucky - I am so aware of that!" – BS
"The relationship stuff scares me to the point we’re I’ve not been in any kind of serious relationship so far and so not sure how I will go about it, but I hope that I try to be honest so it’s not a huge shock lol I use dark humour a lot and have two really supportive sisters to help... I’m a work in progress though, still working on myself everyday. Suppose when the right person comes along hopefully all the work will pay off and I’ll be able to explain my fears in a way that doesn’t terrify them too" - E
"I have been single 27 years now so I say definitely harder to find a partner when living with mental health illness. I have been agrophobic in past and still living with anxiety panic attacks and depression. I hate Valentine's day. And hate being single too" - PH
If you have a mental illness, when did you tell your partner? What tips do people who have recently been diagnosed have on ‘coming out’ to their loved ones?
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