Esti* had been dating someone for several weeks and felt that before continuing, she must let the guy in on her secret.
She had to tell him that she suffers from a mental illness.
Ultimately, after many conversations, he realized how special Esti is and was undaunted by the challenges her illness might bring their way.
It may be a good idea for him to speak with his partner’s therapist or mentors who have seen her thrive when the illness is creeping up on her and work together to create strategies to cope with stressors that otherwise may strain the relationship.
It is important for him to learn to see life through his partner’s eyes and gain a better understanding of where he stands.
It’s been ten years since James Leftwich first created No Longer Lonely, a dating website exclusively for people with mental illnesses. No Longer Lonely has chat rooms, forums, and places for people to post their art. I did model it after the major dating sites, but I added certain categories too, like housing options for Section 8 or ‘I live with my parents’ or ‘I live in a halfway house.’ I thought it was important to have a category for ‘Do you own your own transportation? I’ve had very few people that come on there as a joke or prey on the users, at least that I know of. Do you mind saying what you’ve been diagnosed with? After I was hospitalized, I went to a halfway kind of house. It’s kind of like in prison, where the child molesters are this and the rapists are that and the murderers are that. I don’t want to hang out with him.” That was the main thing of the site, to defeat the stigmas. Connect with people that are experiencing the same thing as you.’ I think that’s equally as important as all those other things.
Leftwich spoke with me about the challenges of running the site and about why he believes forming loving relationships should be recommended more frequently than pills. It was one of those things where I looked for something and it didn’t exist. ’ because that can be a big deal among people that are mentally ill. I was diagnosed with what’s called it falls under a schizophrenia spectrum disorder…you’re blessed with both a psychotic disorder and a depressive disorder so it’s one of the more chronic diagnoses. That’s my only hospitalization, but I was there for about two months. By going on the site, you don’t have to worry about disclosing it to anybody. What are your feelings on treating mental illnesses? She didn’t know much about mental illness, but she accepted me.
Esti had been diagnosed with anxiety many years ago, but few people knew about it.
She regularly engages in psychotherapy and takes daily prescribed medication.You’ve learned to live with your illness and the challenges it brings.“These experiences have enabled you to help yourself and others in ways nobody else can.It would be much more worrisome for someone to get married when they don’t know how to manage their illness.Your adversity will be an asset to the marriage, not a hindrance.And although those disorders don't totally define us, they are still a huge part of our lives, often affecting the way we relate to other people.