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Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

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Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

Postby Chasies » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:22 pm

I'm new here and this is my first topic post. My name is Chase and I'm 20 years old. Lately my mind has been struggling with two specific things: Love and Mental Illness. I figured this would be a good place to find some insight.

Mental Illness Background:
I have what's called schizoaffective disorder. To my understanding it is basically a combination of Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. I experience the manias of Bipolar and the symptoms of Schizophrenia. I've been in therapy since I was three and on medication since age five. My mother was very intuitive having grown up with a schizophrenic mother and recognized that there was something wrong at a very young age. When I was 13 she told me I had Bi Polar disorder. When I turned 18 I was re-diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder.

Relationships Background:
At the age of four I began developing crushes on my female counselors but was too young to understand my feelings. Throughout grade school I've had similar crushes on classmates with the same lack of understanding my own feeling. When I Was in eighth grade after watching the end of the movie Dodge ball it hit me like a ton of bricks and I had come out as bi-sexual. That same summer of eighth grade I had determined myself as a lesbian. From then on I've been in relationships with women.

The Problem:
All of my relationships prior to being diagnosed were rather pleasant. I wasn't showing signs of the schizophrenic part of my disorder until I was in college. My last relationship was over two years ago in the summer before college. It was my first serious relationship meaning my first intimate one. Throughout the relationship I was at a very low point in my life. I was overwhelmed by hallucinations, voices and feelings and I had only just started taking my anti-psychotic medication. My girlfriend was my crutch as I became co-dependent on her for support and eventually the weight of my burden and personality changes had proved too much and she had fallen out of love and broken up with me. She later admitted my illness was a contributing factor. It was from this point on that I vowed to work on my mental health and well being before even considering to date again, realizing the road block that my illness had created for my love life. Terrified of being left and having history repeat itself, I worked hard to change. I grew more independent, relying on myself and working on coping skills and managing my illness along with working with my therapist and my psychiatrist to balance my brain chemistry. Its been over two years now and my new years resolution to wait until January 6th 2013 to date is nearing and even though I have no one in sight I fear putting myself out there for fear of getting hurt and rejected for something that is a now a part of me. I worry that I wont find someone who will accept me for my illness. I feel as if every girl I date will do what my ex did and leave when I'm at my worst. Even though I'm currently high functioning in college with a high GPA and looking for a job I know that my disorder is cyclic and could change at any moment. I need to know that the person I'm with can handle that, but I'm worried there's no such girl out there, and part of me feels guilty for wanting someone in the first place knowing what I could possibly put them through...
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Re: Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

Postby santorini » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:21 pm

Chasies,

this is a very honest and maturely written thread.

Young man, what you are facing is a dilemma that many people who suffer from MI face. Although I am sad to see that you are suffering from such a young age, sometimes early diagnosis can actually prepare someone for situations that become more influential as we grow – relationships being one of them.

I think you did a very good analysis of your past issues. As you said, when you were in your first important relationship you were not well, you started experiencing more severe symptoms, you were still adjusting to your new medication..that can be a lot and the timing for love was very bad . Even if everything else was perfect, just your young age could have contributed to the unhappy outcome of your important relationship. I did many stupid things when I was young and I don’t have a diagnosed MI.

What I want to say is that you should not feel like a failure or someone of a less value or chances of success just because you’ve had that negative experience. You are young, you are smart, you are working hard on your career, you have taken responsibility for your psychological improvement (as much as realistically possible). You are doing everything in your power to build a successful path for yourself. And, most likely, you will succeed in that.

On the other hand, you are right that your symptoms may and probably will fluctuate from time to time and that, at times, you may emotionally feel much worse than now. You are also right in your observation that you may then put a strain on your relationship. That is the harsh and unavoidable reality of MI. But it should not stop you from searching for “the one” . See, relationships have their peaks and valleys, just like our lives do and sometimes we lose someone who is very important to us. And then we have 2 options: to try to repair what’s broken or to move on and keep on searching for what we believe matters.

I know it is difficult and I know the dilemmas that are filling your mind and emotions, but I am just trying here to encourage you to look at yourself as a man who first and foremost belongs to a group of young people who sail through young adulthood and learn from trial and error, from exposure, pain, loss , or occasional moments of unbelievable happiness and not as someone who is flawed or destined to damage his future partners. When such time comes that you find someone who will be very special for you, and you will know that because you will become crazier than ever, lol :lol: you will intuitively know how to start a conversation about your issues. Or she will do that for you. You will definitely need to help your partner understand you since most people have not even heard of schizoaffective disorder, let alone be able to understand it without help, but if you both have achieved sufficient level of maturity your love will guide you where no prep or advice could.


Dear Chasies, I wish you many interesting and experiential relationship years and at least one woman who will make you feel like what Anthony Hopkins described in "Meet Joe Black":


"Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I'm not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there's no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven't lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven't tried, you haven't lived."
"For years, I'd preached the benefits of self-expression but my tonic since childhood had been isolation."
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Re: Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

Postby Chasies » Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:18 pm

Thank you for your post. Honestly I wasn't expecting anyone to respond at all let alone with such detail. Although my post is rather long and I find it an innocently humerous mistake I am in fact a woman. I thought the relationship background would have given that away but I do know some people like to skim. Either way your points were helpful and very down to earth and I enjoyed the quote. It makes a lot f sense to me. I will continue to try with hope in my heart.

Thank you,
Chase
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Re: Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

Postby santorini » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:23 pm

Chase,

please accept my sincere apologies for mistakenly referring to you as male. I simply cannot explain how I missed that part of your relationship paragraph. I remembered that you watched the movie Dodge ball but somehow I completely neglected the part about your sexuality.

I read your therad twice, but every time I missed that you are a woman.

Again, my apologies. :)
"For years, I'd preached the benefits of self-expression but my tonic since childhood had been isolation."
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Re: Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

Postby Chasies » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:05 pm

santorini wrote:Chase,

please accept my sincere apologies for mistakenly referring to you as male. I simply cannot explain how I missed that part of your relationship paragraph. I remembered that you watched the movie Dodge ball but somehow I completely neglected the part about your sexuality.

I read your therad twice, but every time I missed that you are a woman.

Again, my apologies. :)

It's completely fine. :) Sometimes I find it a compliment to be honest. Both genders have great unique qualities and even though I am female I feel I do have some male traits so I take no offense. And yes in case you haven't watched the movie or don't remember in the end she identifies as bisexual by kissing the male lead and then her girlfriend (not that I approve of having a boyfriend and a girlfriend at the same time), but it lead me to that realization of being bisexual before I had re-evaluated as lesbian.

Anyway, apology accepted but I do have a question, were you mistaken due to my name, or because I mentioned having a girlfriend? You see, I plan to go through a legal name change and I chose the name Chase. Because its not entirely unisex I can imagine if that would have caused the confusion, and I don't mind if it does I just ask out of sheer curiosity.
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Re: Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

Postby santorini » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:59 pm

Chase,

you are so sweet. Thank you:)

To answer your question - it wasn't your name; it was probably a combination of your relationship with a girl and something that I felt in the energy surrounding your thread. I really don't have a logical explanation..

Anyhow, regardless of your gender, I think that you are a wonderful young person and I believe that you can and will make someone very happy!
"For years, I'd preached the benefits of self-expression but my tonic since childhood had been isolation."
santorini
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Re: Can The Mentally Ill Still Find Love?

Postby Chasies » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:02 pm

santorini wrote:Chase,

you are so sweet. Thank you:)

To answer your question - it wasn't your name; it was probably a combination of your relationship with a girl and something that I felt in the energy surrounding your thread. I really don't have a logical explanation..

Anyhow, regardless of your gender, I think that you are a wonderful young person and I believe that you can and will make someone very happy!

Well thank you. :) and that's definately interesting.
I will heed your words of wisdom :P Thanks for the advice.
Chasies
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