Falling in love is hard but it only gets more complicated when you have to drop the bomb about having a mental illness to your date. When people hear of schizophrenia, they are afraid of connecting with someone who is possibly dangerous and might even have murderous intentions. These implications are completely wrong and are instigated by the media when there are outbreaks of people with mental illnesses committing crimes of violence. With situations like these, how can a schizophrenic approach dating and find his or her lover?
Michael Hedrick, a blogger at the New York Times, writes about how schizophrenia has affected his dating life. He mentions that it is not something that you can simply drop in the middle of a conversation and not expect a negative reaction from the other person. He had gone on a date with a woman he met on Match.com. She was a teacher who had a similar taste in music as him which prompted him to ask her out. Once they met, they had a normal conversation about each other’s day until she asked him about what he did for a living.
When he mentioned that he wrote a blog about mental illnesses, it was then that he realized that he had to tell her about his own diagnosis. After a bathroom break, she came back to ask him questions about his condition and whether or not he has ever been violent in the past. These questions caused a rift between him and her which soon ended the date. During another date, after he mentioned his condition to the woman, she prompted to use the bathroom but this time, she came back and told him about her struggles with anxiety. This commonality allowed them to continue speaking after the date until Michael decided to cut it off due to his insecurities.
Due to the conditions of living with paranoia, schizophrenics like Michael have trouble committing to relationships. Michael mentions that he was not comfortable becoming close with someone else. It frightened him. He was not able to bring himself to trust her and her intentions with him. The interaction between him and the woman brought upon a paranoia which he could not suppress. This paranoia combined with stress from work and his relationships resulted in depression. Although this relationship ended up badly, Michael continues to have hope for the future and believes that one day he will find the one for him.
In Elizabeth’s case, she found the love of her life on MySpace. Tommy, her husband, knew of her mental illness before their first date. When she first met Tommy, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She was so nervous about the date that she became manic and stopped going to work. After a while, Elizabeth began to hear voices in her head which led to schizoaffective hypomania condition. But this did not stop Tommy and her from developing their relationship into a marriage that has lasted for more than seven years. Elizabeth says that she has felt safe with Tommy who is has been supportive of her mental health throughout the years. Tommy and Elizabeth went against the stigma of mental illnesses and found love regardless of the voices in her head.
Social media can be a gateway of finding love for those who suffer with mental illnesses. There are dating websites such as NoLongerLonely that offers a platform for those with mental illnesses to connect with each other whether it be for relationships or just friendships. NoLongerLonely was created by James Leftwich who believes that the treatment for such illnesses should aid in forming better relationships and finding love.
Caudy , E. (n.d.). Schizophrenia, Love, and Hypomania | Creative Schizophrenia. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2015/09/schizophrenia-love-and-hypomania/
Hedrick, M. (2015, June 11). Dating With Schizophrenia. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/11/dating-with-schizophrenia/