Dating & Mental Illness

03/21/2012

By Howard Lovely, Jr.
One of my top priorities currently is to attract a wonderful woman into my life to share with; however, healing(PTSD / Anxiety / Phobia) and attempting to date appear to be incompatible endeavors to say the least. It’s like trying to mix oil and water which is next to impossible unless you add in an emulsifier to bond the two elements. Kind of like the use of egg as a binder that holds oil & water droplets in a liquid suspension while mixing a cake batter. Now,..if one individual is the “Oil”, the other individual is the “water” sort of speak,…what would a potential binder be???….I believe that both individuals need to possess Self-Acceptance, Self-Compassion and a healthy dose of understanding for starters to say the least.
I was only properly diagnosed several years ago in 2005, after many decades of struggling to be normal and **Eye-Movement-Desensitization-Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has helped lessen or eliminate many of my in-appropriate random symptoms such as night-sweats & fight-or-flight response that includes tingly-crawly-skin and hyper-vigilance to the point of distraction.
When it specifically comes to dating, my challenges are the major issue with most individual women that I meet online or otherwise, whether I withhold the information at first or tell them later after a first date or post it clearly in my profile.
According to many women(100’s so far over a period of many years), I’m clearly not the acceptable Handsome-Man-Hunk that I know I am, once this human predicament is put into the spot light. Ha!..Ha!…Ha!….
I am no longer willing to hide these challenges or sacrifice my [self-integrity] just to get a date, email response,..etc.,..with a woman who typically vanishes overnight after highlighting my challenges as the reason for their absence. At other times,…many women have simply chosen to ignore or minimise the issue by attempting to get me to do some social activity / task that I previously explained,…with clarity, honesty, vulnerability, documentation and courage,…that such an activity is difficult for me to accomplish in a comfortable way at this time. Women who chose to behave this way are rude to say the least.
As one of approximately *40 million adults living with the devastating effects of child abuse, I know this is not a [convenient] or good personal selling point; however, I am doing my best with the resources that I have at my disposal and trying many different therapies to assist myself in healing. I desire to meet an understanding woman who will share in my challenging journey, as I would in her journey, whatever it might appear to be.
Self-Healing on all levels(emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically, cellular / somatic,…etc.) is very important to me at this time. It is critical that I specifically and gradually release learned beliefs and resistances that hinder my forward momentum.
Those of you who are reading this page and live with or know someone who lives with the daily stifling and disruptive outcome of Trauma, no matter how it happened, and it’s many cousins such as Phobia or Anxiety,…you are intimately aware of what I’m talking about. You probably also know how generally difficult, humiliating and / or emasculating it can be to attempt to explain via words or web-based resources and still have the other person not understand it and proceed to ask you to attend some crowded function as if you never mentioned a word about your challenges. Another potential scenario could be that you are already in relationship with kids and potentially feel compelled to participate painfully in activities out of obligation but to the potential detriment of your healing process, wich is potentially no good for all involved in the long run. The first scenario has happened to me so many times while just attempting to get a first date and feel at ease or comfortable as possible, while on the date, if I get the date in the first place.
I am a Man with a red-hot past that has not broken my spirit, rather,…it has forged my mind & body into an individual that I did not know I could become as a Man. I have grown through it all and my heart remains open. It is this open heart that I offer as a gift to a wonderful woman, while simultaneously guarding it with my sword of wisdom.
To sum all this up, during the past two decades I have cultivated much Self-Acceptance, Self-Compassion, Self-Integrity, Humility, Confidence and a Can-Do-Attitude while under duress. These qualities continue to serve my healing process even while tackling the enormously vulnerable endeavor of beginning this Blog.
I sincerely desire to spark a massive conversation about challenges faced by but not limited to, single individuals and dating while living with some form of mental illness. I encourage all of you to consider the idea that you’re not the illness. Although breathing air is a vital part of our body’s survival system, we are not the air we breath,…we are much more complex individuals. Thus we are not our illness even though it is often times a result of a built-in survival system gone “crazy”,…rather than the complex individual having gone “Crazy”,….in my view of the matter.
What are your thoughts and feelings on the matter?….
For better detailed understanding of any of the above mentioned major issues(PTSD, Phobia, Trauma, Anxiety), google them or go to makersofmemories.org; helpguide.org; medicinenet.com; health.msn.com or NAMI.org
*Data obtained from makersofmemories.org
**EMDR(The Breakthrough “Eye Movement” Therapy for Overcoming
    Anxiety, Stress, And Trauma) by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. & Margot Silk
    Forrest

One Response to “Dating & Mental Illness”

  1. Marie said

    hi howard

    i did mention this EMDR earlier, but did not know you were already doing that….i really want to try it. but there are not many people here who do it and the cost associated is great….meditation and other modalities are good….alternative or new age things also help..some people go into their past lives and find out what it was that triggered them from a past life that has continued onto this life…..i know that is way out there….but some people have tried it. hypnosis is good….there are alot of things to try, but each person is different.

    finding a relationship for people with mental illness is really hard. i also volunteer for an organization helps people with mental illness and the people with mental illness are having a really hard time….and they cannot find relationships either or the relationship is very short…..i have a hard time due to my depression, anxiety and PTSD, but also my physical health…so it is a double whammy….and no one will accept me for who i am. they just see me as a liability or a problem….and do not see me…for me…..on the inside….a person who is caring and compassionate and also wants to be held etc and be in a relationship where someone will try and understand me and not criticize me…..my situation is very complicated…..

    People out there are mainly concerned about them selves only….and if someone else has any type of health issue…visible or invisible….they…like myself…are tossed out like old shoes

    i have become more conscious and try to live more in the now….in the present moment….however…it is a challenge….and i am working on it….ekhart tolle and louise hay or dr. wayne dyer are great for living in the present moment……and accepting yourself for who you are….remember….you were born perfect and anything that has been said or learned or done along the way might have been nothing you or i or anyone could have controlled at the time….but once anyone is aware of the present moment and live in the “now” and learn to accept themself and not judge themself or anyone else….they behave different and learn to accept them self and know they can control what they think or do from this time on….what you think or the perception of what happens to you is a reflection of your own thoughts…….that is what i have been told….if someone meditates and learns to have peace and tranquility…they will bring more of that into their lives and in turn whatever they want….such as a relationship….they can either write down the qualities they want in that person and send it to the universe…….and keep those positive traits of what is wanted of the person that is desired in one’s life…..and one day……by chance or it may be someone you know….that person will pop into your life…and you or anyone that does this can find happiness…..the more you search the more frustrated you become……let it happen……..if you believe it you will achieve it……..
    just some of my thoughts….marie

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