“I was 21 years old, a psychology student and got a psychosis”, Anita says. She wasn’t a very wild student, but she did date. But the first time she showed her face back to the training after admission, her fellow students – some with whom she was good friends – did not respond positively.
“When will you tell?”
“Everyone knew I was hospitalized. As soon as they saw me, they walked away. So painful.” It was a wake-up call: people react negatively, don’t say it too quickly.
And there she was not much later, in a cafe with Tim, a law student. There was a spark. “I was in doubt: when do you tell someone you like that you’ve had a psychosis? Not the first date, I postponed. After a few dates then?”
She gathered courage and talked about her psychosis, but also what the psychiatrist thought she had: schizophrenia. “That turned out to be wrong, but I didn’t know that at the time.”
‘That was not too bad’
Tim’s response was surprisingly positive. “Gosh, I thought. That was actually not that bad.” Still, the relationship passed. Not because of her disorder, but simply because it sometimes happens. Timo was a good start. “Apparently it was more loaded in my head than it could be for anyone else.”
But Anita had another psychosis, and now a diagnosis more suited to her symptoms: bipolar disorder. A great psychological vulnerability that manifests itself in manic and depressive periods. She could relapse, and that obviously impacts your relationship.
“It is difficult to tell such a severe diagnosis to people you have only just met. In the beginning I was ashamed of the truth. But I also felt guilty if I didn’t tell, that felt like lying.”
Feel like dating
It took Anita a while to recover from her second psychosis and admission. But after a while she got herself back on track. She had a new, well-paid job as a psychologist. She felt good about herself and felt like dating again.
“I started online dating. I didn’t hear from a few men after I told them I was bipolar. They didn’t call back or respond to text messages.”
The older, the fairer
That was not the case for all men. Many of them also responded with understanding. She was in a relationship for a year. “But we were better as friends.” The older Anita got, the faster she became honest. “I got to know myself better and I decided to be more open.”
Her age also had to do with her being more likely to tell the truth. She was now in her late thirties, lived in Amsterdam and no longer wanted to waste her time with men who dropped out as soon as she threw her psychoses on the table.
“I dated twice through Tinder. The men responded very understandingly. They both came from a relationship with a woman with mental health problems. One man had been with a woman with borderline and severe mood swings for 12 years.
“He was a really nice man and he spoke lovingly about his ex. Then I could be honest, I thought. I hoped he was open to me. He responded understandingly, but quickly became more distant. I think he thought: not yet another problem. Not now. “
Anita is 41 when she has another date. She met him through dating site Parship. “After twenty years of dating, I didn’t have much hope, but I was looking forward to a nice afternoon.” They ordered a coffee, but kept talking. “We had drinks all evening.”
On the second date, Anita already dared: “It was purely intuitive, I had such a feeling that he was okay with it. And I had already given some interviews. If he had Googled me, he already knew.”
“‘How do you feel about people with mental illness?’ I asked him. He knew people with a psychological vulnerability who have recovered well. I did not detect any judgment and told my story. On the second date we had a very warm conversation. We really went into depth. “
‘Not surprising that you are tense’
Her partner is a calm, stable man. All the time they are together, Anita is also stable. “I have a book written about my vulnerability, that will come out later and I am tense about it. When I say that I’m afraid this could trigger a mania, he stays sober: ‘Every writer is tense when a book comes out, it’s not strange that you’re tense,’ he said.
The fine relationship contributes to Anita’s stability. She is happy. In 2019 he proposes to her in New York. “We walked on the Brooklyn Hights, the wharf overlooking Manhattan. It was beautiful. And quite emotional. On the plane I watched the episode of Sex and the City where Harry proposed to Charlotte. When I saw that, I knew that. I wanted to get married too. I had no idea I would be engaged 24 hours later. “
Source: RTL Nieuws by www.rtlnieuws.nl.
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