Crying down the phone to your partner at 3am because they went to a party and you’re lonely sounds ridiculous I know. But bear with me.
When you have a mental illness, the idea of being datable seems like worlds away from what you deserve, or even feel is achievable. But what if I told you that you could have a healthy, full and happy relationship with another live human being, when you can’t even put on a clean pair of pants and cook something other than pasta for the ninth night in a row (I exaggerate … maybe …). Being with my partner for quite a while now, there are days when that still feels ridiculous and probably fake – cue me asking about 50 times a day whether he loves me/”but whyyyyyy are you with me???”.
I’m gonna be honest, dating when you have a mental illness will probably make you feel, if you’re anything like me, like the neediest person alive. Hell, you probably will be needy. But that’s okay. I am a self proclaimed needy person – I know that anxiety has made me practically incapable of handling the idea of someone leaving, which makes dating pretty difficult at times. Yet the old cliche, honesty is the best policy, comes around again and again during my rare moments of rational thinking.
Your partner loves you. They want to be with you. They have chosen this. You are loveable. They are not just ‘putting up’ with you.
It would be unfair of me to say that dating is easy when you have a mental illness, because society seems to be hell bent on proving everyone otherwise. A pretty common example would be, ‘how are you going to love someone else if you can’t love yourself?’ – which makes my blood boil to even think about, let alone willingly discuss on the internet. However, this is a phrase that needs condemning once and for all. People with mental illnesses are not incapable of love. While it is true that we may not find loving ourselves easy, or possible at all, that has no bearing on those around us. I for one practically run head first, full speed, into an opportunity to tell my partner how much I love him, even when I can’t think of myself as anything better than a pile of garbage with limited automative powers. So that phrase is pretty much garbage also.
That being said, some people are just steaming piles of poop and will genuinely not be supportive of someone with a mental illness – that does not by any means mean that you’re not worth it though. That’s on them. Human garbage that they are. But they’re not the ones I’m talking about in this post.
In short, all you people battling mental illness deserve love just as much as the next, mentally healthy person. And when you find it, it will be difficult and probably suck at times but that person will be with you because they want to be. Which brings me back to my first sentence – you’re probably going to get angry at them sometimes, and vice versa. But that does not mean that you both don’t love each other. Honesty is vital to any relationship, and when one/both of you has a mental illness, honesty is just as important. If you and they know what you need to flourish, so can your relationship. As long as they remember when you’re angry because they have a life separate from you, you’re not actually angry at that. You’re angry at the mental illness and the mental illness is lying to you.