We use a lot of offhand shorthand about being “crazy” for someone or, on a not so good day, about a “psycho” ex. But figures of speech aside, what — as Jezebel (and, earlier, BG) have asked — is it like to date while you yourself are struggling with actual mental health issues? (Related: or with autism?) Sheesh. Obvious but necessary thing to say: Dating is hard enough when you don’t have (say) an eating disorder. You know? What do you do on dates when just the thought of just “grabbing a bite” is a source of unbearable stress? When (as with disability issues) do you disclose: soon enough to be honest, but not so early that you scare them off? How do you even get out there in the first place when — as one woman interviewed told Jezebel — you walk around with “this core self-belief that, basically, [you] suck”? Read the whole piece for some insight and perspective, but perhaps the key message therein is this (from Dr. Sarah Ravin):
Choose a partner who brings you joy and pleasure and fun. Try to view dating as an opportunity to grow emotionally, meet new people, practice new skills, and take healthy risks. If dating seems very stressful or boring or anxiety-provoking, you’re either not ready to date yet or you’re dating the wrong person.
“Sounds,” as Jezebel notes, “like good advice for anyone.”
Laura Shumaker is a writer whose 23-year-old son has autism. He wants to connect with the world, but isn’t sure how — at least not according to unwritten social law and convention. In a clear, spare guest post at Motherlode about a puzzling (to him) non-incident involving a hotel, a hot tub and the girls’ lacrosse team, she expresses her fears, and hopes, about his future as lover and loved. It’s a sweet and smart post, ultimately concluding (spoiler!) that in order to support Matthew through this, she’s gonna have to connect honestly with herself first. Read it, and then this, to (if you’re neurotypical) remind yourself not to take communication and social-spider-sense for granted, and to upend a few stereotypes about people on the spectrum and the possibility of love.
Filed under: News, TV — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:26 pm
Dave Hamrick and Lindsey Nebeker, two people diagnosed with autism — and madly in love — are scheduled to appear on tomorrow’s Good Morning America. (Close to the top of the second hour, we hear.) From their profile (by BG’s alter ego) in this month’s Glamour:
“People like Lindsey and Dave put so much thought and dedication into making their relationship work,” says Diane Twachtman-Cullen, Ph.D., a speech-language expert who specializes in autism and knows the couple well. “Frankly, we could all take a page from their playbook.”
A seriously inspiring story for V-day: BG’s alter ego had the pleasure and privilege of getting to know Lindsey Nebeker and Dave Hamrick, who both have autism — a diagnosis that makes conventional relationship skills particularly challenging — and getting to tell their love story in Glamour Magazine. The moral of their story is not that “love conquers autism.” It’s that two deeply committed and passionate people can, with a great deal of work, have both.