There are a lot of people in this world who find dating absolutely terrifying. Let’s face it: most of us have had the broccoli-in-the-teeth moment at a fancy restaurant.
Many who suffer with mental illness endure dating nerves over double the intensity of those without mental illness. The reality is, mental illness can impact human relationships in general, whether platonic or romantic.
It’s not always easy to navigate social settings. That being said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
This world can be a pretty lonely place. Having loved ones to share it with is definitely one of the perks of being human. Yet something a lot of us struggle with is expressing ourselves. Figuring out how to explain difficult, often sensitive, topics to others can be an overwhelming, daunting process.
I have compiled a list of why people with mental health issues may struggle with dating. Now whenever your Gran starts nagging you to find your future spouse, I’ve got your back! You can literally just thrust this article in her face then frogmarch out of there like a boss.
Sadly, I can’t promise it will stop the nagging, but it may at least make her think twice.
Why might people with mental health issues struggle with dating?
You don’t feel good enough.
If you suffer with a mental illness, especially depression, you will know exactly what I’m referring to. The mind monsters come out to play, causing you to have negative thoughts and low opinions of yourself. It’s very easy to let your mental illness trick you into believing that you are unloveable.
A common worry for those dating with mental illness is that they have too much baggage. They begin to wonder whether anyone would ever want to take them on when they could find someone without mental health issues.
It feels like too much effort.
It doesn’t matter what mental illness(es) you suffer from: there is no “one size fits all.” You could find two people unusually identical in every way, suffering from the same illness. Even then, it’s still highly unlikely that the symptoms they experience will be the same.
However, it’s very common to feel fed up and worn out. The process of arranging and actually participating in dating is a lot of effort. Not to mention the prospect of feelings getting involved can be terrifying. The whole thing can seem like a mammoth task when suffering with mental illness.
You are scared of it impacting your mental illness and making it worse.
It’s a well known fact that our emotions in general can wreak havoc on our mental health issues. Inviting others into our lives and giving them the power to impact our thoughts and feelings can be panic-inducing. Why would you want to give someone the power and ability to hurt you?
You don’t know how to express yourself or explain your mental illness.
It can be difficult to express yourself. That’s a worry for a lot of people. When you have a mental illness that you have to try and explain? Well, it’s a whole new ballgame. How do you explain something you can’t fully understand yourself, am I right? Trying to figure out how to put into words something so complex seems impossible. It’s not as simple as asking a sketch artist to draw your description.
You panic yourself out of it.
I have lost count of the number of social situations I have talked myself out of over the years! It’s way too easy to think of justifiable reasons for why you shouldn’t do something. Even people without mental illness often let the fear of the unknown hold them back.
The real question is, what do you do? Well, I may be able to help you there.
5 Easy Ways To Reduce Stress When Dating
- Choose a date idea that you are comfortable with. For example, if you are worried about eating in public, go bowling instead.
- If you are concerned about your conversational skills, watch a movie; it gives you a topic to discuss.
- Ask to be involved in the planning. Your input will be used when deciding the venue and the activity.
- To ensure you will get along, arrange a video call before the date. It’s basically a face-to-face chat, but with the safety of the “end call” button.
- Wear clothes you are comfortable in, especially shoes. It’s tempting to wear those killer heels, right? The trouble is, your feet hurting before you even reach the destination? Instant black cloud over your mood.
At the end of the day, dating can be tough. Especially when you suffer with mental health issues.
The good news is when you meet someone who is perfect for you and your quirks, none of it will matter.
The truth is, as cliché as it sounds, it’s important to always follow your heart. If you are uncomfortable on a date then say so. If you are nervous, be honest about that.
It’s important that you never let anyone put you into a situation you are unhappy with. Anyone who is into you for the right reasons will be understanding and happy to follow your lead.
Just remember, life is way too short to let your mental illness take control of it.
Dating is not for everyone. There’s no question that dating while also trying to handle chronic illness can present some significant and unique challenges.
But what if you could get to know someone before you even meet in person? If you have a chronic illness and are looking to meet new people, check out this promising new dating app Lemonayde. Made for people with health challenges, it allows you to connect with others with chronic illnesses just like you from the comfort of home!
About the Author:
Sarah is a blogger who runs https://www.sarahjennajayne.com. She focuses primarily on chronic illness and mental health. Sarah also shares some of the embarrassing parts of her personal life when she’s feeling brave!