Welcome to the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge brought together by WEGO Health – a social network for all health activists. Again, I am participating in the annual Writer’s Month Challenge in which I will be writing about my health activism and health condition based upon prompts given.
Today’s prompt reads as follows:
Date Night…We’ve seen some posts from Health Activists on dating tips when you have a chronic illness. What tips do you have for those looking for the one fish in the big pond?
This, I have to admit is another difficult topic for me to write about. Dating isn’t an area which I have a lot of experience in. Due to the neurological condition that I live with, and the symptoms such as the severe dizziness, weakness and trembling in legs and the many falls that is a daily occurrence, it therefore, means that I am unable to go out on my own. As a result, this can make it very difficult to be able to meet anyone, especially as I very rarely go out in the evenings or on nights out because of the crippling fatigue that accompanies my illness. How on earth are we able to date when dealing with such intrusive symptoms? Let’s face it, dating is a difficult subject no matter what your personal circumstances are, but factor in a chronic illness and it compounds the situation further.
Since the age of the internet, I suppose it has made dating easier when you are housebound a lot of the time, with the large number of internet dating sites out there. However, with them comes a whole host of different problems such as when to divulge information regarding diagnosis, as well as not knowing exactly who you are talking to online. Attending groups based on a specific interest such as a local book group, for example, can also be a great ways to meet other people who share the same interest and may even find the one.
So, when we do eventually find that perfect someone to date; what are some options for low-key dates for when fatigue and other symptoms are particularly bad? Here are some lovely options that I have stumbled upon whilst researching this very topic:
- Indoor Picnic: Going out for dinner is something that I love to do; however, on occasion I have had to cancel because I have felt too unwell, weak or even been bed bound to attend. So, how about having a picnic with your date inside the house, or even the garden if you have one. It also means that you can wear comfortable clothes, or even pyjamas and do not have to be self-conscious about your appearance; as well as enjoying quiet conversation in a relaxed environment
- Early Dinner: I always find that my energy levels significantly drop just after 7 in the evening, so therefore, going out for a late dinner date, would not be very feasible for me, and much prefer going out earlier in the evening where it is often much quieter and you can even arrive back home in time for your favourite shows! And another benefit that you may even save money by going for a meal early by taking advantage of early-bird menu options!
- Movie Night: As regular readers of the blog know, I find it difficult being in large open spaces, with high ceilings. This therefore restricts where I am able to go, and am often unable to go to cinema to see the latest releases as they often make me feel very nauseous and increases the severity of the dizziness and vertigo that I experience. So, how about making a movie date night right in the comfort of our living rooms? As an alternative, each could pick their favourite movie and then share them with the other, discussing what makes that particular film so brilliant. Enjoy with ice-cream and popcorn and settle beneath a warm comfortable blanket. And as a bonus, you don’t have to be disturbed by the rustling packets of other people’s snacks or be blocked by the head of another movie-goer!
- Game Night: They may have am unfair reputation for being old-fashioned and dull but games may be a great distraction from chronic pain and other severe symptoms that you may be suffering from. It can also prove a unique bonding experience and you may be surprised what you can learn about each other by playing games, specifically those which require tactics. My personal favourite is Trivial Pursuit! Or you can always complete a jigsaw puzzle together and time how long it takes you to finish it.
- Personal Book Club: If like me you love books, you could always rope your partner into reading a particular book that either one of you love, and then spend time discussing that particular book. I love discussing books with others as often you find a new perspective on a loved book that you might not have even considered before, but what is also great, that you also gain and insight into another person’s insights and views of a variety of different topics depending on the book choice.
What is important, however, is no matter how you meet your potential partner, is that they except you for who you are. Chronic illness can be extremely difficult to live with, and not just for the person living with the condition. Finding a person who accepts just that, are very special. And the person has to deal with not just the condition but also understands the limitations and restrictions that it places on our lives, so our prospective partners needs to understand and accept that our date nights may not constitute the conventional and clichéd dates, but the need that we sometimes have to be alternative in our choices and find creative and low-key dates for when we are experiencing a flare in our conditions.
I would love to hear all of your thoughts! What are your experiences of dating with chronic illness? How did you meet your partner? How are some of the ways you spend date nights when you are feeling particularly bad and unable to go out? Feel free to share your stories in the comments section below!