I started thinking about this after someone did a twitter poll asking ‘Would you tell a person you’re in a relationship with about your mental health problems?’
To me there is only one option on that poll. I don’t think anyone would expect me to go all coy after starting a whole fucking blog about being completely mental.
I usually steer well clear from discussing romantic relationships altogether. Also I don’t find this a topic I can share lived experiences on as I haven’t dated after my diagnosis. All of my experiences concerning romantic relationships are from the time that preceded being declared mental. Who am I to say how does it affect the process?
It shouldn’t though.
When you start seeing someone, you choose that person. You choose to take them on as they are. You can’t choose your family but you choose the people who you want to spend time with and this is no exception.
Being in a relationship with someone also means that this person chose you. That means that they chose you as a whole, the life you had before them and the experiences that affect you forever.
Whether we like it or not, mental illness is something that is likely to be present in our lives always. Even once I can say I’ve recovered, this also means that I will be living the rest of my life aware that it may come back. It affects how we feel each day and how we react to things, just to name a couple of things off the top of my head.
Why in the name of god wouldn’t you involve the person you’re in a relationship with into something that important?
I know why. Because it’s scary. It’s scary to be honest and you worry that this person isn’t going going to stick around once they hear how deeply damaged you are.
Just a thought but if someone is so disgusted by mental health difficulties that they wouldn’t have anything to do with you, how much are you honestly worse off without them?
Also, everyone has had shit happen to them. Everyone. We are all damaged in our unique way. Mental illness doesn’t define who you are but it’s an incredibly complex issue which manifests in a variety of ways in our everyday lives. I think keeping someone in the dark about something that important only isn’t irresponsible, it’s also stupid.
But if you’ve suffered from ill mental health, I’d say that you’ve already had enough shit to deal with without having this extra pressure when you’re trying to form new relationships. Our relationships can be a massive source of support on our road to recovery and everyone is entitled to that, that’s it.
I have been in a bad relationship. I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than go into another one. People get too wound up about being alone and imagine that is the single (gettit) worst thing that could happen to you when that simply isn’t true. The worst thing that could happen to you would be being in a bad relationship. Take it from me.
Honesty is the best policy. It’s just not the popular option.