Many people around the world struggle with mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, DID (dissociative identity disorder), eating disorders, etc. Many people may even have more than one mental illness and hope that they will get better soon, but fear for the worst.
Those who do have a mental illness of any severity are not unworthy of finding love or finding someone who has a few date night ideas to share with them. It may be true that you may just have a harder time knowing how to deal with their mental illness and varying symptoms, and that those date night ideas are just what is needed to help your date through the hard times.
With the help of this article, perhaps you will be better informed about what to do when your date confides in you that they have a mental illness, or when you suspect it of your date.
1. Allow your date to inform you of their mental illness.
This just means that you should allow your date to talk freely and openly about their struggle with a mental illness, their journey to heal from their mental illness, and how they don’t want their mental illness to push anyone away who may care about them.
Your date may be scared, nervous, or worried about sharing this information, so whenever they feel the need to share, try to listen to them as best as you can because they may not have the courage to do so again for a while, especially if things go wrong when they do share.
2. Be supportive.
By being supportive, you allow your date to share whatever they need to without fear of judgment or being ashamed of what it is they are suffering from. Do not feel obliged to agree with everything that your date says in order to help them feel better. Your date will know you are doing this and may feel worse and not better.
A supportive person is someone who is a good listener, able to give their date time to talk, and a shoulder to cry on in times of need. Your date may just want to be heard and understood or may sometimes just want affection and love from you. They may also want to know if you will abandon them, or if it is better if the two of you remain friends instead of dating each other.
Those who suffer from a mental illness need all the support they can get, but sometimes, they may need more professional help than the help you could ever offer them.
3. Get additional help when is necessary.
Sometimes those with a mental illness will relapse, or things will just get worse before they can ever get better. If that is the case, then encourage your date to seek out more help, or even offer to do so yourself. This is especially true if your date is feeling hopeless, more upset, and even suicidal, or is just getting worse in any way.
Allow the professionals to do all they can to help your date because it could just very well make all the difference between life and death. Support can come in many forms, such as support groups, therapy, outpatient or inpatient care, being hospitalized, and even workshops catered to any issues your date may be struggling with.
There are many activities that your date may be offered to help with recovering, such as yoga, drawing, hiking, and dancing. These activities are therapeutic in their own unique way and allow the person to not only feel safe but to have fun as well, something that your date may be in great need of.
4. Do your research on mental illness and ask your date to do the same (although chances are they may have done so already).
If you really want to help your date, then do some intense research on mental illness by reading articles and books, watching videos, and asking those who may know more about them.
Try to understand the root causes of mental illness and pay close attention to the symptoms and on ways to help reduce them. Pay close attention as well to any triggers your date may have that could potentially make your date get worse, and try to reduce those as well.
If you do not understand what the symptoms or triggers are, then it may be best to ask your date, because chances are that they may have a better understanding of their mental illness and where they are in their relapse or recovery. This will also help your date feel less alone, and feeling alone is what can be the most damaging to those suffering from anything, even mental illness.
5. Do not be judgemental (you could have a mental illness too and not know about it).
Many people without a mental illness may not understand how they start, why it is still ongoing, and what to do about it now. It may be easier to dismiss someone with a mental illness or to blame them for it, but that will do more harm than good for both you and the other person.
Those who have a mental illness are not to be blamed for it and they should not be shunned just because they are ill. This may only increase your chances of becoming mentally ill yourself as stress builds up without any way of being released in a healthy or productive way.
6. Do not force your date to recover faster than they are willing.
Instead, allow your date to be on the path of recovery of their choosing. They may already be getting help and are just struggling. Do not even force your date to skip a step in their recovery or to go through the steps faster than they are ready.
Recovery happens only when those who are ill take the necessary time to go through all the steps in full and are able to revisit any step(s) to double check that they are making progress, because recovery isn’t linear, it is like a puzzle, and once all the fragments are pieced together, then your date will be whole once more.
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash