Single and dating, with a mental illness...

When I got discharged from the mental institution, I had already written down a list of my triggers which included people; at that time the person I was dating was a trigger not because he treated me bad, he loved me without a doubt and I believe he still does. However he had no time for the relationship due to the nature of his job, he tried to be there when he was in country but is was never enough. So, as painful as it was I had to cut the chord. Now, I had known this man since I was a teenager, we dated on and off, always gravitated towards each other, because of the familiarity. Yet this time, love was not enough, because I wanted to be his support system as much as he was mine, he would worry so much about my health, into numbness and that affected us a great deal. So in December I ended things. Breakups are never easy, especially when you have a sole belief that the person is you're equal.

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Now a few months later, I have a sudden longing for companionship, then my cousin suggested Tinder, woo Tinder LOL! I told her it's such a cringeworthy app, and I would rather engage with and meet someone on Twitter or even Instagram, but no she was not having it. She created my profile set up my account, and then I started tindering- if there is such a word. My goodness did I come across characters on that app, it was quite fascinating to meet people online who have chosen to meet people in an unconventional way. Then I had my first date, he was okayish, we clashed because of my feminism principles so after two weeks that ended- very quickly. Date number two, well that one was bound to crash, there was too much excitement everything was moving too fast and the next thing the guy told me my energy was a bit too much. I appreciated his honesty, I however did not like the fact that he was insinuating I tone it down, but at least he was truthful with where his head space was. That was about two weeks as well.

I then decided to delete the app and take a break, a few weeks later I decided to give it another go- at some point I was chatting to multiple guys, no harm in that because I still trying to suss out their characters. I unmatched most of them and continued chatting with one, we still chat I am getting to know him and him me. I have not made a commitment to him, because of inconsistencies, this makes life easier for me because I can continue to engage with other prospects. Now that's dating.

I realised that dating with a mental illness or neurological disorder is not as blissful as it should be, and since I have been navigating this space I decided to put some disclaimers down, for dating someone with a mental illness. This is not to segregate or shame us, it is to make people aware, so that relationships are more healthier.

  • You don't have to fix us, you can offer your support, but fixing us will end up draining you. That approach never ends well.

  • General relationship rules and boundaries still apply we are human after all.

  • We need open lines of communication, and there should not be a threatening environment to communicate, otherwise we withdraw.

  • Having a mental illness does not mean we are unstable, we have our bad days, but being on medication and therapy helps us a lot.

  • Understand our condition, there are many but learning how to differentiate between bipolar effective disorder and clinical depression could help, we are also willing to teach, as long as there is no shame.

  • Don't take things personally, in the same breath you do not have to accept any form of abuse

  • Learn the warning signs and understand the triggers

  • Finally don't get into a relationship with us if what we come with is something you can't handle, and that's perfectly fine.

That's just about it, so yes as I enjoy meeting and engaging new people I hope to keep an open heart and mind, because I must admit my mental illness has made me very self conscious. Some people don't want to deal with that package, and I completely understand I hold no resentment.I am hopeful though that I will meet someone I get, and who gets me.