Welcome back to our continuing series on how online dating affects your mental health. In our previous post, we discussed the ways that online dating allows those with depression or anxiety to delay the meeting process in order to stay in their comfort zone. We also touched on the fact that online dating can push you out of your comfort zone in a positive way. There are negatives to meeting someone online. However, by following our tips to ensure that your needs are being met both within this new relationship, online dating can be a fun and exciting experience. If you're in need of the best depression therapy in Charlotte, NC, be sure to call Legacy Freedom.
As we continue to explore online dating and mental health, we felt it was important to address how to deal with disclosing your mental illness to someone who is new in your life. While this can be an awkward conversation to have, the disclosure and discussion of mental illness doesn't have to be a deal breaker. For many who are new to interacting with someone who has a mental illness, openness, honesty and well-delivered information about the condition and what to expect can help alleviate any apprehension they may feel.
Here are some helpful tips for talking to a new partner about your mental illness:
- Be Upfront - While your mental illness does not need to be the first thing you discuss on your very first date, it should be a topic that you address by date two or three. Be prepared to answer questions openly and honestly. If the questions get too personal, or you feel uncomfortable answering at that particular moment, communicate those feelings and be honest about why you feel that way. Maybe you don't know the person well enough yet, or maybe you don't know the answer and want a chance to think about your response.
- Bring Information - While you don't have to bring a psychiatric journal with you on the date, having some short articles or places for them to look at accurate information written down can make the whole conversation go much smoother. Ask your therapist for pamphlets or recommendations on resources that you can share with your new romantic interest.
- Answer Questions Patiently - Almost everyone is a little uncomfortable talking about themselves. However, having a date ask questions about your mental illness, the symptoms, medications you take, and what they can do should show you that not only do they see you as worthwhile, they also see past your mental illness.
- Follow Up After - When the date is done, and you've had the discussion about your illness, let the other person have some space to process and digest the conversation. Then follow up, later on, to see if they have any questions.
Having a mental illness doesn't mean you have to be alone or that you only have to date others who have mental illnesses. A well timed and informative conversation may be all that's needed to help someone new in your life understand your mental health concerns. If you are feeling anxious about talking about your mental illness to someone new, ask a trusted friend or confidant to help you practice what you will say so that your nerves don't get the better of you and you can communicate clearly and more efficiently.
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