Tag Archives: PTSD

Guys in Their 30s are Weird


So recently I have attempted, at a very slow rate, to try dating again. I decided to try one of these online dating sites, which work as apps on your phone. My previous experiences in online dating had not gone well, but out of boredom I decided to give it another shot. I discovered, that while this approach to dating might work for some people, I should probably stick to the bar scene. At least with meeting people in a bar they are upfront about their intentions.

I met several interesting people in the past few months playing around online dating, but the major problem is that each one of them says that they are interested in getting to know you before you meet, or that they are willing to wait for a sexual relationship, and in reality they seem to use these sites as places to find one night stands or sex buddies. Now I know that this will not come as a shock to most people, but it is darn right annoying, especially when you are really just looking for friends who may or may not turn into something else.

So a person reads your profile, and then messages you, and based off your pictures and profile they decide if they want to begin a conversation. This isn’t much different than going to a bar or a club. We all gravitate towards people whom we find physically attractive. The problem with the online dating side is that in a bar, you almost expect someone to try to get lucky the first time they meet you. Online, you generally talk to someone for a bit before you meet, and at least for me, I don’t know if I am truly interested in someone until I meet them in person.

A text, email, or online message doesn’t convey the intentions of each party as well as a face to face conversation. We as a society are already losing the ability to properly communicate, so online dating I think makes this issue more difficult. You say one thing and they don’t understand it is a joke, or they think it is a joke when it isn’t.

The worst is if you bring up the issue of not wanting to jump into bed with someone and you say this repeatedly, somehow this keeps being translated into “Please, pressure me into doing something I really don’t want to do.”

Now I understand guys pretty well, many of my oldest friends are male, but none of them seem to understand this new online dating obsession with sex from the starting line. This is more difficult for a girl like me who has PTSD issues surrounding sex and intimacy. This is from a long year of having jobs which put me into situations which caused fear and trauma in regards to sex. Also, I have dated many guys in the past who thought the entire relationship should be sexual and then everything else comes after.

Now I have told the last two guys I went on dates with that 1. I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, I have to get my job situation and my life straightened out before I can seriously focus on that, and 2. That I am not ready for a sexual relationship at this point in my life. Now I don’t think that it takes a rocket scientist to understand these two things. However, the modern American male in their thirties, can’t seem to grasp this concept. I don’t mean to say that every male is this way, but it seems like the ones attracted to me are.

Pushing sex, kissing, or physical anything on a person who is terrified of intimacy for whatever reason, tends to make a person pull further away. For me I become distrustful of the new person, I pull away physically and emotionally, and tend to go a bit crazy. I get angry with them and use all the little red flags I find in their conversations against them. I know this isn’t fair, but neither is having someone fault you for not wanting to jump into bed with them the moment you meet.

Call me crazy, everyone else does, but is this what we want our future to be? Do we really want to perpetuate the idea that it is okay to force yourself on someone because they worked in a certain job, or are of a certain age. Just because I am a single mother, doesn’t mean I put out for any and all men who cross my path. I don’t like to be a sexual object, I like to be treated as a person, with a brain, who knows what they want. People should have more respect for the person who wants to wait, but it seems these days everyone is just on a mission to get laid.

I am all about embracing the crazy, but these situations have pushed me more into a fear of sex and intimacy. I am distrustful of new men, and I think that is sad. I shouldn’t have to think that all a male wants from me is my body. However, after the last year of my life (with the exception of a couple awesome guys I have made friends with) it seems that the guys I meet are in it for only one thing, and that is not my conversation.

Like Attracts Like


So in my life I have discovered that the people whom I get along with the best, tend to also be crazy. I believe this is because that those of us who have mental health disorders tend to understand others with mental health disorders. We don’t expect these people to always act “normal” and we don’t need to find the root cause for their actions. We just accept it. You’re crazy and so am I, any questions?
These friends which I have, all know their diagnoses, and many of us who have gone through the process of getting a diagnoses understand the meanings of most of the common disorders. We know, or learn which kinds of crazy mesh with our own. Two people with anxiety disorders can be easy friends, because they understand what it means to be anxious and have no clue why you are. Other disorders that are easy for those with anxiety to understand, in my experience, tend to be depression and obsessive compulsion.
Often people have multiple problems, like anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, these tend to go together and can be easily understood by those with anxiety or PTSD. While all these disorders present differently in each person, there is a common understanding for those who have experienced one or more of the mental health disorders. Of course this is not true for everyone, in my experience like truly attracts like.
I have had several roommates with mental health problems from bi-polar disorders to anxiety and depression, and those of us with a similar disorder tend to have an easier time getting along. It isn’t always perfect, sometimes one person’s anxiety will set off another’s, but in the end there is a mutual understanding. Just because I act crazy, doesn’t mean that’s who I am all the time, and I cannot always control it. People who don’t have anxiety, and never have, don’t understand it.
For my best example of how like truly attracts like I will use my friendship of 12 years to illustrate this idea. When I first met this friend she and I had never been officially been diagnosed. I was 19 and thought that I was just angry and depressed. By the time I was 21, I started to understand that I was having anxiety and became medicated for the first time. While my friend has only been medicated and officially diagnosed for about 2 years, we both shared this experience. Like me she had always had anxiety problems she did not know what symptoms were actually part of the disorder.
My official diagnoses came about 3 years ago. I was given a diagnoses of Axis I Anxiety Disorder, with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Traits. My friend has a diagnoses of Situational Anxiety. We have the same medication, although at different doses, and we never have to explain the fact that I’m freaking out right now because of my crazy. We rant at each other when we are having issues. And through all the ups and downs I have experienced with my mental health problems over the years, we understand each other, and apologies for acting “crazy” are never accepted. If an apology is given, it is brushed aside as if one of us had just said the sky was blue. She knows that when I have my freak out moments, I don’t expect her to find a solution to the problem, she just listens. This is the best thing for me, and I expect many people with my particular disorder feel the same.
While it may seem difficult at times to find someone who truly understands our particular crazy, they are out there. You find them everywhere, at the gas station, the library, college, high school, or at a bar. We are out there among you, and if you look you will find us. Learning who shares your kind of crazy is important, because without the support of those who truly understand what it feels like to go through the day to day of living with these problems, we all get worse. Imagine it being like someone who loves only opera dating someone who only listens to hip-hop, the relationship would be hard to make work. When we share our crazy, beautiful friendships and support systems come from it.
So embrace your crazy. Embrace that sometimes there are people who will not get it and never will, but remember there is someone out there who understands. Even if this is the only place you find that at the moment, it’s a start. All journeys have to start somewhere, and living with crazy brains is one journey we should not have to travel alone.

“Hey Baby, What’s Your Diagnosis?”


 

 

            At one time it was common to hear: “So baby, what’s your sign?” as a pickup line.  As we move into a future where more and more of us in Western culture are in or have been in some sort of treatment for mental health, that line will soon be a thing of the past, replaced with “What’s your diagnosis?”

            Gone are the days where being a Libra, Taurus, Cancer, or Pisces has much meaning anymore, if they ever truly did.  Made more difficult by the fact that whoever is in charge of such things changed the dates of the Zodiac signs so that nobody knows what their sign actually is anymore.  We are moving toward a future where we pick our mate not by their star sign, but instead by a compatible diagnosis.

            The American Psychological Association has a category for almost any quirk of the personality these days.  So since we are all crazy, we need to find the crazy in others which complements our own.

            For example I am diagnosed with an Axis I Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive Compulsive Personality traits.  So what disorders complement my own?  This is much more difficult than learning that as a Libra I should avoid dating an Aries, Cancer, or Leo.  While astrology can be fun and the Birthday and Relationship books are frighteningly accurate, they haven’t helped me find my soul mate, only confirmed after the fact that who I was with was a bad match according to the stars.

            My diagnosis in some ways also makes dating hard, as I turn into a mutated version of myself, amplified in all the wrong ways.  It’s like being the Hulk except it’s not incredible.  It is actually rather mundane in explanation, although I have been told it can be frightening to witness.  And while I do not grow to incredible size, my voice does, and instead of my skin turning into a bright green only my eyes shift into a brighter green.  All of this is because one of my anxiety symptoms is impulse aggression.

            So when I get attached to someone I often turn into a nightmare, and while someone might wish to date the Hulk, I do not like the idea of losing control and becoming HulKatie.  At this time, I have found it better for everyone that I don’t date.  You never know when the green will spread to my skin and I will grow from my 5 foot self into a massive and destructive form bent on smashing everything.

            So how do we date in our overly diagnosed, overly medicated, and overly stimulated society?

            Well there is online dating.  This gives us a chance to get to know someone in the absence of actually having to see them in person and open our mouths in order to have a conversation.  I have tried this method of dating, much to my own failure and quit almost as quickly as I began.  The reason being that while it is easy to type a message about yourself and what you like, to me it lacked substance.  And while I actually met two people in person, it was glaringly obvious to me that our online personalities and our in-person-alities don’t often match-up exactly how we think they do.

            Nice, smart, caring, giving, and intelligent online and groaning, grunting, incomprehensible animal in person.  This isn’t true for everyone, but it is hard to show all of your personality on the internet.  It’s hard enough the traditional way.

            So after failing Online Dating 101, I went back to the bars and coffee shops.  However, much like the online world people act differently when they are single than they do when they are dating.  I think this may actually come from our lack of asking that basic question: “So what is your diagnosis?”  I’m not saying to run screaming into the night when someone says anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bi-polar, but this will at least be a better ice breaker than “What’s your sign?”

            This question gives us the chance to break down walls which could otherwise take months or years to knock down or climb over.  You then get to start with an open and friendly conversation, without being afraid to speak candidly.  Tell the cute guy at the bar that in the event of your dating you might turn Hulk if he smiles at you the wrong way when you have a paper do for school, or that you might smash a beer bottle on the floor if he calls you crazy.  We already know that not everyone we find attractive is right for us, why not cut the bullshit and be honest from the start.  Ask questions like “Do you identify more with Jekyll or Hyde?” or, “If you were a serial killer would you be more like Dexter, or Ted Bundy?” 

            Then after starting the conversation, we can arm ourselves with information to make informed choices rather than those fueled entirely by bar banter and physical attraction.  This way if you Hulk out on someone, they were warned.

            Now go forth and change the way we date, and let me know if your personal crazy has ever had an effect on your romantic relationships, either positive or negative.

 

 

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