Dating, Mental health, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Sex, Dating & Relationships

An (Almost) Perfect Conversation – How Telling A Date About Your Mental Health Should Go

As those of you who read this page regularly may recall, back in August I had a date on a train with a guy who’d been sat in my seat. I’ve seen him a few times since then, and spoken to him a lot – nearly every day in fact. Things have been going really well.

And as last week was my birthday, and a friend and I were holding a joint birthday party, he wanted to come and see me.

I wouldn’t let him.

I wouldn’t let him for a number of reasons. I was already worried that I wouldn’t be able to cope with a big group of people and a party. I didn’t want the added pressure of him being there and having to keep him company, and then introducing him to everybody and having to explain who he was. I wanted the option of being able to run away from the party if it turned out that it was too much and freaked me out. I wouldn’t have had that if he’d been there.

I also wasn’t ready for him to stay over – I’ve always been to London to see him before, and either stayed with a friend or caught the last train back – and it seemed mean to make him stay in hotel. Okay. I knew I’d actually end up not making him stay in a hotel. And that was a problem because I knew I’d only end up feeling bad about it.

All of which meant that I needed to tell him about what’s been going on with me this year and why I didn’t want him to come to see me on my birthday. I’d already told him that I’d had depression, and he hadn’t seemed phased by it, but I hadn’t gone into any of the big scary details.

So I finally started the conversation, after reaching the point where I couldn’t possibly put it off any longer, fully expecting it to end with him saying that it was altogether too much crazy to deal with and he didn’t think we should see each other any more.

I told him everything. About the depression, and the complex PTSD, and the psychiatrist, and the therapists, and the community psychiatric nurse, and the mental health crisis team. I told him that I’d probably been sick for twenty years and that I’d probably never get better. I told him that my GP makes me go and her every week to reassure her that I haven’t done away with myself.

I told him all this because I thought it was better to get everything out in the open rather than him agreeing to be okay about some partial version of the truth, and then finding out that the situation is actually worse to a degree that he wasn’t prepared to deal with. I didn’t think that would have been fair to either of us.

I told him about the problems I’ve had with work. And by this point I’d actually decided for myself that I’m just not ready to deal with a relationship right now.

I’m trying so hard at the moment to hold on to what’s sane and rational, and screen out what’s crazy. And I just  can’t do that if I have to distinguish between the irrational feelings that you get when you’re falling for someone and the irrational feelings being stirred up by my broken brain on top of everything else. On top of which, with all the stuff I’m dealing with right now I simply don’t have time for a long distance relationship.

When I’d finished he just said that it was a lot of information that he hadn’t been expecting, that he wanted to be able to say the right thing, and that he needed to think about it.

I told him that if it was too much for him that I’d completely understand and that I’d rather he told me that. I explained that I was involved with another guy when I first got sick this time. He’d promised me the earth in terms of being there for me and doing everything he could to help me get better. Instead he’d used the fact that I needed somebody to feed his own ego without actually really giving me anything by way of support. And then when he got bored and decided that he wanted someone new, and shiny, and not broken to play with, he disappeared off the face of the earth.

I know I wouldn’t have even gotten so sick if I hadn’t ever been involved with that guy, and the last thing I need would be another person to come along and treat me just the same.

But remarkably, after all that I hit him with, Train Guy hasn’t run away.

He said that he really appreciated the fact that I’d been honest with him, and the fact that I felt able to tell him about all those things. He doesn’t think I’m crazy, he said that he thinks it sounds like I’m a person who has some stuff going on but that she’s working on it.

He said that he really likes me, that he wants us to at least be good friends, and that maybe if we’re both still single when I’m feeling better we can see how we go from there.

And that was it. No drama. He’s just a really nice guy.

Why, oh why, could I not have met this man a year ago?


12 thoughts on “An (Almost) Perfect Conversation – How Telling A Date About Your Mental Health Should Go”

  1. If you are at all like me, you would not have noticed the qualities within Train Guy that you admire so much now, a year ago. I have to hit bottom of the barrel in order to recognize how good someone else can be.

    I am excited to see that positive men still exist for the “fragile, broken things” of this world. Stay strong, love.


    1. Y’know, I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re probably right. I didn’t really notice how bad the guy before him was until I started getting treatment to feel better about myself and like I deserved more.
      Thank you.


  2. Perfect timing for me to see this post. I have a second date (I guess you could call it a date) with a guy I like tonight. I told him a little bit about the depression but not, as you say, the gory details. Especially since the last time I was suicidal was uh… a few days ago? 😦 But reading your story has encouraged me some. If they handle it well then you’ll know they’re worth getting to know, eh? I’m glad it went well for you!


    1. I’m glad you’ve taken encouragement from this. I also think that it’s easier to know whether they’re going to stick around sooner, rather than later when you’re more invested in it and it’s going to hurt more. That’s not what you need when you’re already feeling fragile.
      I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling suicidal. I hope you have supportive people to around you to help you help you through it. If there’s ever anything I can do I’m always at the end of an email –


    1. Thank you. I think it was less scary than it might have been because I’d just decided that that would be it and I wouldn’t hear from him again, and resigned myself to that really. I never thought anyone could hear about all my baggage and be almost completely not phased by it.


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