Mental Illness and Dating – You are lovable
I had a very interesting conversation with a friend the other day. We were talking about mental illness and getting laid, or getting into relationships. They were asking me how I managed to get people to want to be with me, despite my debilitating struggles. And that got me thinking. I have always been in relationships, and I never had an issue finding people who would want to have sex with me. But I am severely ill, and I am definitely not the kind of person you’d want to bring home to meet the parents. I am not conventional. I am not stable, and I am in need of support more often than not. So how did I manage to get laid? How did I manage to be in relationships all the time?
What makes me attractive?
First, I thought it was about gender. I am a cis woman and my friend is a cis man. And there is this general stereotype that women have it easier to get someone to have sex with, or even to date. But then, I am actually quite picky. I don’t date or have sex with just anyone. And I have never actively looked for a partner. As a matter of fact, I am constantly refusing hook ups and invitations for play. Maybe men just like to fuck crazy?
When I thought further, maybe it has to do with that I am not the ugliest person in the world. I am not saying I am conventionally beautiful. My boobs have a weird shape, I have a huge belly, I am fat, I am in my late 30s, I am goth. But I am not ugly. So maybe I am pretty and sexy enough so people can look past the crazy?
But then it hit me. The reason why I am able to be in long term relationships and I have (and would not have) trouble getting laid, is because I am me (okay, sounds weird for someone with DID, but bear with me here). I don’t try to seem normal, or adapted. But I am trying to not let my mental illnesses rule every aspect of my life. I am not trying to be adapted, to have a normal job, to function like others do. I am unapologetically me.
On the other hand, I also contain the “crazy”. I know when I need to step it up and be professional or get my shit together. You won’t see me having a breakdown in public, you won’t see me crying at a party. I am able to manage to function on a level that is still acceptable to society. I can seem put together in the moments it matters.
Don’t Hide Your Struggles – Balance
And I think that is where it lies. In the balance. I don’t hide my struggles, but I don’t make everything about my struggles. Being mentally ill has a lot of downsides and I have already written a lot about that on this blog. But I think I am also able to enjoy the positives of it. The positives of mental illness, you say? Well, there is the creativity, there is the understanding of feelings, there is the ability to feel deeply and to express that, there is a certain kind of impulsivity, there is the hypersexuality. All those things can go overboard too, hut in the right amount, they can actually make you, your relationships and your life more interesting.
I often say: “At least it doesn’t get boring with me”. And that is a big selling point. There is always intensity, there is always new things happening, there is danger, yes, but there is also excitement, I fucking live a rock’n’roll life of craziness because of my mental fuckery. I need to appreciate that part of my life more, because it is one of the things that makes me interesting.
Being mentally ill sucks, especially if it is chronic illness, and also causes you to have physical issues. But it also makes you different. It makes you interesting. It makes you stick out. It makes you and your relationships more intense. It makes the connections you have to those who you trust stronger because you feel emotions on another level.
It is about a balance here though. Mental illness can give you skills others don’t have, but it can also ruin things, and fuck things up really bad. I have naturally always gone with that I am more than my mental illness. I want people to see that I am competent in some areas, and I am not only broken and messed up. But I show glimpses of my struggles, and I believe that has put me in a place where I am fascinating but also don’t seem like too much of a burden to take on as a hook up, a partner or a friend. I come across as intriguing (I have been told that many times), someone who is passionate and who seems strong.
You are intriguing and strong
I think this also important: strength. People tend to say that someone who is in depression and who has given up, is unattractive. I don’t believe that. I think someone who only drains others with their issues is unattractive. Someone who constantly seeks attention, screams the loudest and whines the most, might come across as unattractive. You can be in depression and still come across as strong and attractive: By trying to be good for others (even if you can’t be for yourself), by reaching out when you need help, in a very concrete way.
Depression, or mental illness, doesn’t make you unattractive. Screaming about it, making everything about yourself, not even trying to be self-aware: that makes you seem self-absorbed. You are not a burden when you ask for help. People love to know that they can be good for others. It is the constant overdependent screaming attention seeking that can make it more difficult for people to want to be close to someone with mental illness.
There are people who are attracted to those that are intriguing and fascinating. Who see the strengths in feeling more intense, and in impulsivity. Those who are interested in the mind. And there are those who don’t have a problem taking care of someone they love. You are never a burden on someone who chooses to be there for you.
Pretending hard to be functioning, to be healthy, to be adapted, to be normal. might actually be the wrong way to go if you want to find someone to date, or even someone to hook up with. You would be like everyone else, and honestly, who wants that? You can use your mental illness as something that makes you different, instead. You don’t need to unleash the storms of your struggles on them, but being honest about it right from the start has definitely always worked for me. It makes you more interesting to those who would actually be a fit for you, and it weeds out those who would leave you once they found that you are struggling with mental illness.
Mental illness is very hard to deal with, but it doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you less of a person, and it definitely doesn’t make you unlovable or unfuckable. You are more intense, you are more passionate, you think differently.All those are interesting and for many, attractive traits. Don’t think that is true? Well, I think I am the prime example of a person who is severely mentally ill and still has always dated, always gotten laid, and has never sold herself short. You can do it too, if you let go of the idea that you need to try to seem like everyone else.