Ask A Dude: Am I Un-Dateable Because I’m Medicated?

Dear Dude,

Let me first say that I LOVE your articles! You’re a stand-up guy with a good head on your shoulders. Ok, so let me get to my question: Do guys flee when they find out a girl takes medication? My home life has led me to take medication for depression and general anxiety disorder. Both disorders run in my family, so it was only a matter of time. My last boyfriend was in high school when things with my family started to go downhill. I thought we were serious enough that I could tell him anything, so I told him I took medication for a chemical imbalance. He looked it up and replied, “You’re depressed?” with some underlying disgust. He broke up with me a month later after we had been together eight months.

I know it was a high school relationship, and a great learning process, but I’m now transferring to a four year college after being at a JC for 3 yrs. I want to date, but I’m afraid of getting dropped again when he finds out I take medication. Or that when my family drama bothers me, he’ll think that I’ve become too much a burden. I’m not my family’s actions, but how could I get him to realize that? Your thoughts, please? I mean if I were in a serious relationship, how long should I wait to tell him?


Girl with the Chemical Imbalance

Dear Girl with the Chemical Imbalance,

I cannot thank you enough for writing in with this question. This is the kind of thing that doesn’t get discussed nearly enough, and there are hundreds of thousands of people on medication for chemical imbalances. Many of them feel ashamed, and many of them are made to see it as a sign of weakness, when in fact getting the kind of help you need is about the strongest action one can take.

Onto the question: You wait however long you want to. When you feel comfortable enough with a guy to tell him, then you tell him. When you think it’s appropriate, then you tell him. When you believe you can trust him, then you tell him. Or you could always just use it as a litmus test within the first five minutes. There’s no hard rule, it’s got to be a feeling out process by you, for you, and it may be different with each guy.

I’m sorry you got a douchebag for your first time out. It’s a terrible sense of betrayal when you think you know someone well enough that you can entrust them with something very personal, only to discover a new side to them you didn’t know existed. And a douchey side at that. But don’t look back on that guy as the norm, or even as the exception. He’s just THAT guy. Not the next guy or the guy after that, etc.

As far as guys who’ll run away when you tell them that you’re on medication for emotional problems, chemical imbalances, and the like, there are a few possible factors to consider: they may have a prejudice against being medicated, because they’ve got it in their brain that it’s a sign of instability rather than an act of regaining stability; they just don’t understand, and aren’t equipped emotionally to understand, the kind of events or environments that contribute to the decision of going on medication; or they think this puts some ridiculous responsibility on them for your mental health. Again, RIDICULOUS!

I do feel like, in general, it’s a lot easier to discuss these issues than it was twenty or even ten years ago. Still, there’s a bit of a stigma to being on medication. It’s not something you fight, it’s something you educate about. And that’s all you can hope to do. If he’s a guy that can listen, you’ve got someone special there. If he’s not, well, you’ve picked a weed and you’ll know that. I can’t give you a secret for when the right time is or how to control his reaction. One thing I can do is tell you that you’re not alone, that you should continue to reveal this about yourself when you want to and to whom you want to when you feel ready. And that point of being ready is allowed to be at a different point with everyone. So feel it out, it’s just another aspect of taking care of yourself: learning when you can be vulnerable with someone and when you can’t. Will that person disappoint you? That’s not something you can control. You have to understand that if he decides to run, it says more about him than you. But JUST that one guy. Not every guy.

Don’t judge the gender on this one. Take it one dick at a time (wow, that sounded really dirty for my final thought).

Also medicated,

The Dude

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]



    1. Megan says:

      This happened to me about 3 weeks ago. He knew I had deoression but when I had a relapse because of some bad things that happened in my life he walked away from me because I was "bring him down all the time", knowing he was the last person I felt I could trust. It was earth-shattering and self-esteem destroying. I'm glad to hear a guy talking about it from this angle.

    2. Guest says:

      Try not to worry about telling the guy, if he reacts badly and isn't open minded enough to accept your situation then he isn't worth having in your life. I go in and out of depression and have anxiety too, and while I am not medication for it, if I can't talk about it or even mention it with my friends, new or old, then they aren't worth having in my life.

    3. Teresa says:

      I had a similar experience when I came clean to my guy about my anorexia….he referred to me as "broken" and made zero effort to understand what I was going through. Needless to say, the relationship never recovered.

      The most important thing to do when dealing with a partner with a psychological disorder is to realize that even if you are not able to understand what they are going through, it does not mean that their illness is not real.

    4. Anonymous says:

      This is absolutely ridiculous that there's still a stigma in this day and age. I am on medication too, but I don't think it's the medications that bother people as much as the fact that there is a mental illness of some sort behind it, even if it's just depression and anxiety, which the majority of people will face at some point in their lives to some extent. (Obviously not all cases, since there are some idiots who don't understand that some things cannot be fixed without medication- Hi Tom Cruise). In both cases though, I can't believe that there's not more awareness about these issues. They should be taught in school and not just to people in psychology classes. I think it's just as important as racial, religious, and gender issues.

    5. Pink Cookies says:

      Relations require effort. They reqiure time, patience and understanding. Maybe now that some time has passed, you can take a look about it from a different perspective. Maybe it was not an example of "here's what hppens when I'm honest about myself and my circumstances". Maybe that relationship was just an example of what can happen when you are not with the right person for you. What defines you as a person and ultimately in relationships is a sum and totality of experiences and characteristics. Your taking medication is just one small part of what you do, not who you are. With all that being said, the Dude is 100% correct. That was just one guy and one experience. There can and will be different guys and difference experiences. When you are ready and if you are willing, give yourself a chance to experience those different people and relationships. There is never any hard and fast rule when getting to know someone and timing to share any issue. Just be in tune with yourself to judge when it is right for you to share. By the way, being brave enough to seek out help for your depression, responsible enough to take medication and be aware of how to manage your condition is pretty awesome.

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