I am a person with disabilities. Mine are nonvisible, and because of that, it is not immediately obvious to others that I have disabilities, but they are there. However, even though I have disabilities I want the same things as other people. I want a good job, a house, a nice car, a vacation, and I want to fall in love and get married. It has always been difficult to determine when the right time is to disclose that you have a disability when you are talking to someone new.
I don’t like to mislead people, so I am always upfront about who I am. And yet, chemistry or not, too often it brings my date to a screeching halt. All is going well, and then I say that I have bipolar depression, and you can see how it throws them-and makes them uncomfortable. I’ve gotten to a point where I make it into a joke. When I am talking to someone new and I am ready to disclose about my disabilities, I’ll say something to the effect of “I want to let you know that I am a person with disabilities, one of them being Bipolar depression. It is mild, but it’s a part of me. Don’t worry though, this is when most people ghost, so don’t feel bad about doing it.” [ghosting is a term used when someone just stops replying to your attempted communication out of nowhere]
I’ve found that turning it into a joke shows a light playful side, because when people hear Bipolar depression, they automatically think I am going to lose my temper and throw a fit of rage. I am who I am though, and because of that I remain hopeful that someone will understand my straightforward approach and accept me – with my strengths and flaws – just like anyone else.
The truth is that stigma is a real challenge in Dating. Disabilities still to this day are stigmatized, and people automatically assume that I am not capable of doing the same activities or of having the same feelings as everyone else. I have to share with you that that is absolutely not true, and you shouldn’t pass on someone you see potential in just because they have a disability. If you don’t understand, ask them. Dating is a process of getting to know and understand each other. If you work through your own fear, you might open yourself to the potential for something great.