Partner with mental illness

posted 11 months ago in Relationships
Post # 61
1195 posts
Bumble bee

It’s hard to say as everyone is different and their expression of their illness is different. If you like him then perhaps give it a go and see how it is. If you can’t hack it then don’t feel bad or guilty for feeling that way. xo

Post # 62
1195 posts
Bumble bee

Also judging people for having their own criteria for dating is unfair. Some people wouldn’t date someone who has children, that’s their choice. Some people won’t date someone who works away from home a lot, that’s their choice. Choosing not to date someone with mental illness is another personal decision. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of the above things, some people just don’t want to add that stuff into their lives. 

Having said that if you’re not willing to date anyone who is less than “perfect” (whatever that is) then you might find yourself single forever. 

Just a thought. 

Post # 65
1016 posts
Bumble bee

sboom :  While we as a society should do more to reduce the stigma around mental illness, I think it’s entirely reasonable for a person to decide to not date people with mental illness or certain diagnoses. This is often due to a mature recognition of their own temperament and limits. Additionally, mental illness often has a hereditary component which may have implications on future children. 

sassy411 :  Anytime you add constraints you shrink the pool; however, your characterization of “small” is a hyperbole, and the individuals eliminated may have been unsuitable for other reasons. 

Post # 66
11198 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Anxiety falls on a continuum. Depression falls on a continuum.  There is no one among us who does not experience anxiety and depression. It’s only a matter of degree. Pretty much all human traits exist on a continuum; height, weight, IQ, you name it, there’s probably a continuum for it.

When the anxiety and/or depression (they tend to go together) begin to interfere with daily life, it’s time to seek treatment. 

These disorders are extremely common, 40 million adults in the US suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). I’m attaching a link to the ADAA site for those Bees who concern themselves with actual facts.

As opposed to carooming headlong into uninformed diatribes about completely unrelated disorders such as abuse, schizophrenia, and bipolar.  

This may be the right place to introduce the concept of comorbidities. An abusive narcissist has a personality disorder.  That’s the cause of the abusive behavior. A diagnosis of depression can coexist in the same person, without being the driver of the abuse.

Stop filling OP’s head with nonsense. OP would be well advised to do some research on anxiety and depression via legitimate online sources.

For anyone interested in well done videos by a licensed therapist on a plethora of mental health topics, I highly recommend anything by Katy Morton. She is just delightful and explains things very well. You can find Katy on YouTube.


Post # 67
230 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - City, State

My first boyfriend had severe OCD. We dated for four years and now that I am nowhere near that relationship, I realize how much his OCD took over my life. Constantly watching for trash cans so I’d walk the closest to them otherwise he would suffer from a panic attack, sex couldn’t be spontaneous, taking him to therapy (where he would refuse to take his medicine), being available at all hours of the day/night so that he could call when he was feeling anxious, etc. it was a lot. At the time, i thought that was how all partners had to be but now that I’m away from it, I realize how dependent he was on me and how much I ignored my feelings for him. I wouldn’t be able to date someone with that severe of a mental illness again. It was overwhelming and while I don’t blame him, I do wish I had some of my teenage years back to not worry so much – there were so many things that his OCD just simply wouldn’t allow him to do that I would have to miss out on. Not his fault and it was my choice to be with him, but now I do wish it was different. It also didn’t help that he was extremely volatile and manipulative when we split (his anxiety contributed a lot to that) so I don’t have the best memories of him anymore. 

Post # 68
5505 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

milkandcookies :  but the thing is, it kind of is his fault because he never sought treatment. My anxiety started to take over my life, I couldn’t get out of my car at certain points, I couldn’t go into buildings that I had never been in before, I literally thought I was going to die. Any time I was stopped on a road, I thought someone was going to open my car door and get in and abduct me, I thought I was going to be jumped in broad daylight grabbing a breakfast sandwich from a convenience store. The grocery store was completely out of the question because I couldn’t see every area of the building, the shelves were too high.

That’s just the panic disorder, that’s not even gad.

None of that is my fault. Where it becomes my fault is refusing to get help for myself.

There is a lot of confusion on here between dating someone with a mental illness and dating someone with an UNTREATED or even undertreated mental illness. Those are not the same scenarios. (Bywater, I see you, I see your comment and I feel for you. Things like going off of medications unexpectedly DO happen, I’m not denying that)

Honestly, as pp said, people choose to not date other people for random reasons. Those reasons could be informed decisions or uninformed decisions… that’s their choice, it is what it is. But op asked for information so she can make an informed decision and that’s my advice to her. She likes him, get to know him and see how he handles his anxiety and depression and go from there

Post # 69
230 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - City, State

Sansa85 :  I do agree with you that it was his responsibility to take the medicine. He didn’t like that he felt like a zombie on it and didn’t want to test around with dosages and that is his own fault. I think after years of defending their way of thinking or making excuses for the way they’re treating you, it is hard to drop the mindset of it’s not their fault. I do think had he gotten the correct meds, the weight of our relationship would have shifted. I don’t know how he is now, but I do hope he got the meds he needed 

Post # 70
2903 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I find these answers very interesting.  And I think when we give advice on any thread, it’s normal to take our own experiences into consideration because that’s all we know.  While I do think we also need to keep an open mind, sometimes that can be *really* hard.

My sister is 5 years older than me and when she was a senior in high school, she dated someone with undiagnosed depression and bipolar.  He seemed great at first, but then he started to become very controlling, always wanting to know where she was every minute of the day.  When she would go out with her girlfriends he would show up.  But my sister was so head over heels for him at first that she didn’t see these things as problems (nor did she tell us what was going on).  After some time, she did see that this wasn’t normal behavior.  He constantly needed his self esteem building up and would guilt her and tell her she didn’t love him if she didn’t spend all her time with him.  She tried to break it off and he told her he took an overdose of his parents’ medication (turned out he didn’t).  But then he started doing drugs as a crutch. It took her a while to finally completely break free of that relationship – it took my parents stepping in and contacting his.  After watching all this at the impressionable age of 12, I vowed that I wouldn’t date anyone with a mental illness.

What I didn’t realize as I got older, is that it is sometimes easier said that done.  The guy I dated before my husband had very low self esteem and bad anxiety.  He too needed constant reassurance from me, that I loved him, that I found him attractive, etc.  He was a great guy….when he wasn’t in one of these moods.  It started to become exhausting because these “moods” became more frequent, but I loved him and felt like I was a terrible person for not being able to handle it.  He started to become obsessive, wanting to know where I was at all times (even though he already knew) and I had flashbacks of what my sister went through.  When I tried to break up with him, he grabbed tightly me and that’s when I realized he had crossed the line.

He finally realized he had problems and started therapy after we broke up.  Long story short, I actually almost took him back months later, but I found out he lied to me in order to see if I still had feelings for him.  And that’s when I knew it would never work.  I am still friends with him (he’s part of my friend group and even attended my wedding) and I see what his long term girlfriend, with whom he has a child but will never marry her, deals with.  He has good times, and bad times, even though he is now finally on medication and recently started therapy again.  I think his illness will always be a struggle because there are days he feels “better” and is in denial that he ever had anything.

But I have also learned, from my experience, that not having an illness in the past is not guarantee one will never have one.  I recently was put on an SSRI for post partum depression.  I fought that for a while because I felt like a failure.  But when my husband was in a serious car accident and needed to seek therapy and medication to deal with the aftermath, I was his biggest cheerleader.  He was also the one to suggest I may have PPD, so this is something we’ve had to deal with together.  Obviously since we’re married we’re in a much different place than if we were dating, and we were both a bit stubborn at first in realizing we had some problems.  We’ve been very open though and I think that is what has helped us a lot.

So sorry for this long post, OP.  I think as long as you always keep the lines of communication way open, and your guy is actively seeking help, I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t continue to see him at this point.  I have to reitterate that you need to set boundaries.  You’re not his therapist.  You’re not his punching bag.  And you may need to watch for red flags more so than someone without mental illness.  You also have to realize that his issues have nothing to do with “you”, and if he starts guilting you into feeling that way, it’s time to reassess the relationship.  A PP is correct in that there are guys that are jerks that don’t have mental illness.

Tread carefully, but if you decide this is a deal breaker, I certainly would never judge you for that.

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