This week I was asked a question by gentleman who is suffering from depression and is struggling on dating apps because he’d been telling people.
His question was:
“Would you tell someone up front that you have depression and anxiety and be really open and honest, or do you wait a bit, although maybe feel a little bit more deceitful?”
Here is the advice that I shared, which is based on my professional opinion as well as my personal experience of being on dating apps, following my divorce.
Dating apps can be quite triggering for people with mental health conditions, particularly if you are looking for someone to validate you or if you’re looking for external appreciation/love that you are unable to give yourself.
Now, in my previous blogs/videos you may have heard me say that you don’t need self love in order to love someone else. Which I stand by, however, when you are looking for someone else to complete you, or to give you the emotional completion or fulfil the emotional needs that you can’t meet yourself, that becomes a little bit more dangerous, as you could get into a dependency type of relationship.
It can be really difficult to try and get to know someone properly over a dating app, perhaps you are having multiple conversations at the same time, people don’t answer you or they disappear for days and you’re not really sure who’s genuine.
My advice to you would be that you should wait until you establish a connection with someone. Build up some type of rapport, some type of camaraderie, that you feel as though you can open up and trust that person. Rather than just saying, “Hey, how are you? My name is whatever, whatever here is, what I do. And by the way, I have a mental health issue.” This is the exact statement someone sent to me in my first week on a dating app.
The other thing that I want to remind you of, is that when people react negatively, or when you get a response that you were not expecting, remember that people react to you based on how they feel within themselves. It could be that you may have triggered something in them. Majority of the time, when someone reacts to you, it’s got everything to do with how they are and very little to do with you. You have just been the catalyst of the trigger with something within them.
It could be that they were in a relationship with someone who had depression or they themselves had depression and just got themselves out of it, or had a parent with a mental health issue, that brings up all sorts of issues. As result, of their background, are unable to be around that type of energy. Therefore, it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
I can understand how it feels that way and how it feels as though you are being shunned or rejected. This can be very triggering for us emotionally. So please take care of you own reactions to your interactions with other.
The bottom line is, when you understand that people’s reaction has less to do with you and more to do with them, it becomes so much easier to have compassion for that person as well as compassion for yourself. It’s not that they don’t accept you for who you are, because, they don’t know who you are, but you’ve proffered information to somebody that you doesn’t really know you.
The next part of the question: “Is it deceitful not to let them know?”
My opinion is, absolutely not.
It’s a very personal part of you and although mental health is currently a very open honest topic right now, there still remains a stigma for people who don’t know very much about it or don’t understand what that means.
Personally, I would wait until I knew someone a little bit better before I told them what was going on with me mentally and emotionally, but that’s me. I am quite a private type of person and I only open up to those who I trust a rather than just telling people up front.
The reason I say this is because you are not depression, you are not anxiety. You are experiencing low moods and depressive feelings. You are experiencing anxiety.
It doesn’t define who you are as a person.
That’s the important distinction for you to understand, about what you are going through.
There’s no requirement for you to introduce yourself and say, “oh, by the way, my name is Andy and I have depression”, because you are experiencing depression, right now you’re experiencing low mood.
It could be that you have a chemical imbalance and or it could be from a situation that is temporary. Everybody experiences mental health differently.
In short, your mental health status is your business, it is not who you are, it is something that you are dealing with in your life. Fundamentally, it is not the only thing about you. Make sure that you trust the person that you’re talking to and you can explain your your particular situation, without the worry of rejection or judgement. You want someone who is supportive, compassionate and accepting in your life.
Leave me a comment below and let me know your experience on dating apps and if you’ve told anybody that you’ve had depression or anxiety, or you are going through something difficult and what their reaction was.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Here’s To Thriving in Our 40s & Beyond!
How do you feel about sharing your mental health status when meeting someone via a dating app? Is it a yay or nay?
What are the benefits of controlling your emotions.