"You have somebody to throw your ideas off of." Barrett, 30, has worked with the mentally ill in a variety of settings, including the Bernalillo County jail and an Albuquerque psychiatric clinic.She now works in several New Mexico schools, from elementary through high school.I know because I've been the mentally ill one in a relationship, and I've also been the healthy one dating someone who's mentally ill.When you're trapped in the throes of a mental illness, you tend to be unstable and erratic, and when you're in that state, it usually leads to a lot of fighting, drama and stress - which of course can be very exhausting and taxing to deal with. They featured me as one of the most ill-advised dating sites on the web. But the ironic thing is that it gave me a lot of traffic. When the mood disorder came around it was this crushing realization that, “Oh my god. Do people tend to align themselves with others who have similar illnesses?
There are a lot of talented people with mental illness that have great creative potential and I thought that would be an important way to let people connect and share on that level. I do occasional purges to get rid of older profiles. And these are only the ones that I’ve been told of, but there’s been more than 30. No, but I kinda’ thought in the back of my mind that if I’m with a woman who’s experienced similar things I can talk about it freely whenever I want. Apparently, Ruth’s uncle committed suicide sometime before the Second World War. But what really disturbs me is the vision of my sweetie buried under a pile of garbage in that house. We’ve filled one corner of the dumpster, which means we’ve thrown away the equivalent of about one closet’s worth of stuff. Back in London, our cluttered apartment is starting to worry me.
It’s been ten years since James Leftwich first created No Longer Lonely, a dating website exclusively for people with mental illnesses. No Longer Lonely has chat rooms, forums, and places for people to post their art. I did model it after the major dating sites, but I added certain categories too, like housing options for Section 8 or ‘I live with my parents’ or ‘I live in a halfway house.’ I thought it was important to have a category for ‘Do you own your own transportation? I’ve had very few people that come on there as a joke or prey on the users, at least that I know of. Do you mind saying what you’ve been diagnosed with? After I was hospitalized, I went to a halfway kind of house. It’s kind of like in prison, where the child molesters are this and the rapists are that and the murderers are that. I don’t want to hang out with him.” That was the main thing of the site, to defeat the stigmas. Connect with people that are experiencing the same thing as you.’ I think that’s equally as important as all those other things.
Leftwich spoke with me about the challenges of running the site and about why he believes forming loving relationships should be recommended more frequently than pills. It was one of those things where I looked for something and it didn’t exist. ’ because that can be a big deal among people that are mentally ill. I was diagnosed with what’s called it falls under a schizophrenia spectrum disorder…you’re blessed with both a psychotic disorder and a depressive disorder so it’s one of the more chronic diagnoses. That’s my only hospitalization, but I was there for about two months. By going on the site, you don’t have to worry about disclosing it to anybody. What are your feelings on treating mental illnesses? She didn’t know much about mental illness, but she accepted me.
Around 2004 it was underway but it wasn’t as big as it is now. All these jokes about, you know, ‘What does psycho 1 plus psycho 2 equal? Every once in awhile you get someone whose user profile is “Batshit crazy” or something, or says, “I like to put heads in my freezer,” joke stuff like that. What are some of the mental illnesses that your users have? Asperger’s doesn’t exist anymore, now it’s an autism spectrum disorder. I think a lot of it was just a negative self-image. I do have something pretty serious, here.” That was around ’92. I thought, “I’ll meet a girl this way.” But eventually it changed a lot. I don’t have numbers on that, but generally certain illnesses pair together better than others.
Most of them don’t have their own car or anything like that so that makes a difference. You’re not gonna get harassed for saying, “I have delusions.” How important are relationships and love, do you think, for this community? First of all, I’m a little bit skeptical about the drugs they give people. I remember the second time I brought her to my apartment I was like, ‘I’m so glad I don’t have to hide my pill bottles anymore.’ She looked at me kind of crazy, like ‘Why would you hide them from me? At the end of January, after about a month of excavation, we run out of time.