Growing Up and Dating with My Mental Illness
Growing up is difficult. It is unstoppable, beautiful, ugly, painful and hard. It is full of examinations, zits, hormones, bad hair days and unrequited crushes. Awkward first dates, sloppy first kisses and neon pink eyeshadow that really does not look good with those red skyscraper shoes. But throw a mental illness and a desire to date into the mix and growing up can be torturous.
Thinking About Dating With A Mental Illness
Throughout the life-cycle of my eating disorder, from age 13 until the present day, I have found my illness has had serious repercussions on my dating life. My anorexia was like a guillotine, trapping me in a death grip and severing all hope of a lasting relationship.
I went through phases of social phobia. I felt unworthy of affection and was so completely convinced that nobody would want me that I never let anyone get close enough to try. I grew up in an atmosphere that advocated youthful marriage -- yet I knew I didn’t fit the bill. I didn’t have the "child-bearing" physique, I didn’t have periods and I threw up everything I ate. Nobody would want that, would they? I was broken and confused. I was nothing.
My Mental Illness Affected Dating When I "Grew Up" Too
And then I grew up. The ignorant innocence of my youth was forcibly taken from me, and as a result, I explored myself in a different way. I became superficially narcissistic; I thrived on attention. Unless I had men telling me they thought I was desirable, I felt invisible. I went from hiding in a metaphorical corner to flaunting myself almost desperately.
I allowed people to believe I was promiscuous as a direct form of rebellion. And, still, I was broken. In attempting to obliterate the romantic shackles that both my youth and my anorexia had wrapped around my neck, I fell deeper into a pit of self-loathing -- convinced that I would never be good enough for that elusive happily-ever-after.
I Deserve Happiness
Happiness is not something that can be captured and kept, it is a state in which we must visit and leave constantly. We have to enjoy it when we can and remember it when we can’t. I grew up scared of relationships because I was scared I would never be enough. I let myself be continuously thwarted by my mental illness. But I am more than that. We all are. And we are all deserving of happiness.
Crowley, H. (2015, March 9). Growing Up and Dating with My Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2015/03/how-anorexia-affected-my-dating-life