lesbotronic

Mental Health Issues: When To Share, Particularly Over The Internet?

Mental Health Issues: When to Share, Particularly Over the Internet?   37 members have voted

  1. 1. Mental Health Issues: When to Share, Particularly Over the Internet?

    • I have a mental health issue, best to reveal in profile upfront
      7
    • I have a mental health issue, best to wait for private messaging
      10
    • I have a mental health issue, best to wait for off internet meeting
      4
    • I have a mental health issue, best to wait until an actual relationship is developing
      4
    • I do not have a mental health issue, best to reveal in profile upfront
      2
    • I do not have a mental health issue, best to wait for private messaging
      3
    • I do not have a mental health issue, best to wait for off internet meeting
      2
    • I do not have a mental health issue, best to wait until an actual relationship is developing
      4

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We received the following email from a potential member, paraphrased and rendered anonymous:

"I would like to submit a profile. I want to be honest, yet, I'm not sure when to indicate that I am unable to work, and am on disability due to bipolar and anxiety disorders. I am on medication, in therapy, and have been stable for several years. I don't want anyone who isn't willing to get past the stereotype and get to know me to invest time they might regret. I could include that information in my profile, or within the first few dates. Perhaps you could suggest what I should do?"

. . . and we thought it would be an interesting issue for community discussion.

Unlike the more pedestrian concerns involved with constructing a profile on lesbotronic (like, upload a headshot, or it's a lot less likely anyone will click or respond), we can't define what's best for everyone. We could only tell you what WE think, or what WE would do, and why. But again, unlike the headshot thing, we don't think there's any one and only objective truth here that we can defend as such with copious evidence. It must be a personal decision.

Some avoid revealing their mental health issue(s) to anyone they don't already trust for fear of discrimination, usually something consequential like loss of a job or custody of a child. Even though that sort of discrimination is often illegal, that doesn't mean it can't happen. And even though lesbotronic is much more private than most sites, a severe fear here may suggest discretion in your profile.

Meanwhile, others feel the decision to share their mental health issue(s) over the internet was one of the best they ever made. It's obviously an avenue to find support and friendship with similar folks and/or supportive allies you probably wouldn't meet otherwise.

But, you probably already knew what we said in the last couple of paragraphs, right?

What if you have a mental health issue AND:

- already have a lifestyle that's fairly discrimination-proof with regard to mental health issue(s), you fear no serious consequences as a result of "coming out" about yours

- are not exclusively concerned with finding mental health support, just generally meeting new people, including but not limited to dating, and including but not limited to those with similar issue(s)

When should you reveal then? And . . . WHY?

DISCLAIMER/ADDITIONAL INFO: We're sure many will feel "mental health issue" needs to be more specifically defined here. And obviously, EVERYONE experiences some sort of mental health issue, at least once or twice in their lives, if they live long enough. But, we really don't think we could or should specifically define what exactly is relevant for the poll, as that may be different for different people. If YOU feel that YOU define it in one way for one sort of answer, and another way for another sort, then please elaborate upon those different definitions for yourself when you respond.

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I am a long sufferer of anxiety, depression, arthritis, and other things. I normally am forthcoming quickly with my chronic pain and arthritis issues. They are evident once you see me walk that there is an issue with my joints. My mental health status is another thing. Though as I have gotten older, I've found more and more people are not judgemental about it, I still tread carefully in whom I speak about it to. If I'm in a funk (as I call it), I let people know. If the anxiety is really bad, I let people know. I normally don't go to in depth with it, unless I have a good rapport with that person. My job at a department store as a visual merchandiser does feed off of my OCD like tendencies and it's noticeable to the people I work with. I don't hide it and actually it has helped in this job. It's a first really. And I don't get any flack from anyone about it like I have at other jobs.

Like the mod said, it's different for everyone. My results are not typical and should not be expected.

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it is entirely up to the person. just remember that we are not our diagnosis, it is only a part of who we are. besides, if one hangs around a mental health setting long enough, you will get a diagnosis (at least according to the tech on one psych unit i was at)

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one of the problems with disclosure is the amount of negative stereotypes regarding mental illness and diagnoses. just adding one more thing to come out in one's life. if i were to tell someone that i am mentally ill upon first meeting them, just how far do you think that interaction will continue? yes, there are some who take the approach of observe then make decision, but there are also those who will instantly close you off.

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On November 30, 2013 at 3:59 PM, lesbotronic said:

We received the following email from a potential member, paraphrased and rendered anonymous:

"I would like to submit a profile. I want to be honest, yet, I'm not sure when to indicate that I am unable to work, and am on disability due to bipolar and anxiety disorders. I am on medication, in therapy, and have been stable for several years. I don't want anyone who isn't willing to get past the stereotype and get to know me to invest time they might regret. I could include that information in my profile, or within the first few dates. Perhaps you could suggest what I should do?"

. . . and we thought it would be an interesting issue for community discussion.

Unlike the more pedestrian concerns involved with constructing a profile on lesbotronic (like, upload a headshot, or few will click or respond), we can't define what's best for everyone. We could only tell you what WE think, or what WE would do, and why. But again, unlike the headshot thing, we don't think there's any one and only objective truth here that we can defend as such with copious evidence. It must be a personal decision.

Some avoid revealing their mental health issue(s) to anyone they don't already trust for fear of discrimination, usually something consequential like loss of a job or custody of a child. Even though that sort of discrimination is often illegal, that doesn't mean it can't happen. And even though lesbotronic is much more private than most sites, a severe fear here may suggest discretion in your profile.

Meanwhile, others feel the decision to share their mental health issue(s) over the internet was one of the best they ever made. It's obviously an avenue to find support and friendship with similar folks and/or supportive allies you probably wouldn't meet otherwise.

But, you probably already knew what we said in the last couple of paragraphs, right?

What if you have a mental health issue AND:

- already have a lifestyle that's fairly discrimination-proof with regard to mental health issue(s), you fear no serious consequences as a result of "coming out" about yours

- are not exclusively concerned with finding mental health support, just generally meeting new people, including but not limited to dating, and including but not limited to those with similar issue(s)

When should you reveal then? And . . . WHY?

DISCLAIMER/ADDITIONAL INFO: We're sure many will feel "mental health issue" needs to be more specifically defined here. And obviously, EVERYONE experiences some sort of mental health issue, at least once or twice in their lives, if they live long enough. But, we really don't think we could or should specifically define what exactly is relevant for the poll, as that may be different for different people. If YOU feel that YOU define it in one way for one sort of answer, and another way for another sort, then please elaborate upon those different definitions for yourself when you respond.

I  have found that being open can be helpful to others who, in your same situation may be afraid to share about themselves.

 

I live with Multiple Sclerosis, Trigeminal Neuralgia and several other chronic pain disorders which can naturally lead to depression and anxiety.

I was also abused in every way possible as a child by my mother and her boyfriends, as a teenager and in my 16 year marriage.  As a result, I developed Dissociative Identity Disorder - otherwise known as multiple personalities.  It is not like the movie Sybil.  I was just able to escape while I was being abused and I escaped through alters or other parts of myself. 

I no longer dissociate but the alters will always be a part of me.  I am not ashamed.  I went to college, worked full-time while raising 4 children so I am able to function in the world, normally.

Unfortunately, the MS and TN have disabled me so I am not as active as I used to be but I play pool, garden and "Try" to play basketball with the kids - 22, 20, 18 & 16 - but they are quick to tell me how terrible I am at it.  I remind them that with only one eye  - the other is prosthetic, long story  - but they say, if you can drive and do other things, then I should be able to learn to play basketball without looking like a dork.  I'm sorry but I don't think that is going to happen. I am a dork and proud of it, lol!

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I usually wait until private messaging to reveal I have certain issues but sometimes that can backfire. If it does backfire the fault is with that person not within myself that's my opinion. I often get blocked after disclosing my issues or why these issues came to be. It hurts but honestly the right people will be accepting and understanding of my issues and know that they don't define me they just make life a bit challenging. 

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I used to wait for private messaging, because I got a couple of rude messages regarding my mental health issue when I had it in my profile. But I've recently put it back in there, because it's a huge issue in my life and I don't want to waste time on someone for whom it's a dealbreaker.

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2 hours ago, Lindsayyael said:

I used to wait for private messaging, because I got a couple of rude messages regarding my mental health issue when I had it in my profile. But I've recently put it back in there, because it's a huge issue in my life and I don't want to waste time on someone for whom it's a dealbreaker.

Valid.  I may end up doing the same. 

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I personally wouldn't hold anyone's mental health issues against them nor would I shy away from continuing correspondence with them. I certainly would not let it stop me from dating and perhaps even falling in love with them. I don't think there is anyone out there with "Perfect" mental health. I believe we all have our mental demons we have to cope with, some people more than others but we all have them. My demon is I'm extremely shy and introverted which makes it difficult for me to meet people especially in public places. Once I get to know someone though I'm fine. For some it might be a deal killer if they're the type that likes to go out and party since I would prefer a quiet intimate evening at home. I have dated some bi-polar women and if they hadn't told me I'd have never known because when they take their meds they function quite well. I've also dated women who didn't think they had any issues, weren't on any meds and it was all bad.

Don't worry too much about it ladies, there are lots of people such as myself in which it doesn't matter at all. Leave it in your profile or tell me later, it's all good. Good luck and I hope both of you find the love of your life.

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I have severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and have been treating my mental illnesses through both therapy and medication for most of my lifetime. I defined myself by my mental illnesses for many years...only to realize in a group therapy program last year that my mental illnesses were masking the real me. Medication and therapy is vital for my survival...and I've had to learn that the hard way time and time again. 

Personally, I think it is best to be open about your mental illnesses. Fear kept me silent for too long - and in the end resulted in me realizing I needed help much too late. Being honest is not only good for others, but for yourself. Despite the opinions people may have, hiding your pain only makes your struggle that much worse. And talking about my past traumas and experiences has helped me personally. It's made the pain easier to deal with...and less of a burden on my mind. Speaking up can also help others who are struggling reach out for help and support. Revealing vulnerability to others is often the most selfless thing you can do. It is a necessary and important step in believing that you can actually heal. Overcoming tragedy and strife seems more possible. And you may be surprised by how many people actually care about how you feel.

Asking for help when you have mental illness is one of the most difficult things you will do in your lifetime. But it is also one of the best decisions you will ever make. 

Don't be afraid to let people in. Love exists - even when you least expect it.

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I think mental illness can put a major damper on a relationship. There is a stigma associated with mental illness and many consider it a deal breaker. Some people with mental illness cope better than their non-mentally ill counterparts, we perfect that shit! I'm not going to divulge in great detail here, but I was diagnosed with an illness as a teen--after years of counseling, medication and learning I became what I assess as extremely stable. Still when you expose your diagnosis there are people that assume it means you're crazy. In reality you're more grounded than those jokers...don't let em' get you down.  

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I think the choice about when to disclose mental health issues hinges on what sort of people form the target audience. If one is willing to deal with the sorts of people who make split-second decisions not to engage as soon as they read about mental illness on the profile, but may be more open-minded once they become better acquainted, she should probably save disclosure for later.

If, on the other hand, the target audience is people who are more willing to give a person a chance from the get-go, then adding mental health information to the profile will be a more neutral, if not helpful, thing to do.

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Mental health issues are often undiagnosed and untreated. The fact that someone can regard themselves objectively enough to recognize that their reality is different than others and then chooses to do something about it speaks volumes about their character. Even so, it is stigmatized, so if someone doesn't divulge their issue until PM or meeting, then that's perfectly understandable. It just has to be handled before things get too serious, because then you are holding back a key that your love interest or friend would need in their effort to understand you.

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I don't believe that there is every a 'best time' to tell someone, especially over the internet about mental health issues. I personally think that you should wait until you feel comfortable enough with that person to tell them, because mental issues are a very private and personal thing and it can be difficult to do.

So basically, do it when you're comfortable and don't put too much pressure on yourself.

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I think it depends on the person. If you have issues that will readily be apparent then it's probably best to be open about them. If someone rejects you for them then that person wasn't meant to be in your life anyway. If your issues aren't that apparent then wait awhile to divulge them. 

What it boils down to is those problems are yours so screw what anyone else thinks. Someone with an understanding heart can make a bigger difference in your life than someone who merely tolerates your problems.  Like Marilyn Monroe said, "if you can't handle my worst then you're not getting my best."

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