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"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've been single most of my life for that reason," she said.Elizabeth Barrett, who created the site with a partner in Denver, Colo., said she observed from her work with people with mental illness that those in strong relationships are more likely to thrive. "They tend to stay out of the hospital." Couples in which both partners struggle with mental illness can share their experiences and help keep each other out of trouble.Since then, she has "kind of been hiding" from the dating scene.Let's face it: How do you drop that bomb on a potential love interest? She considered a number of online dating venues, but she says asked too many questions on its enrollment form, e Harmony was too "religious," and My Space was too much of a "hookup zone." "I wanted to meet men with my same diagnosis so we wouldnt [need to] have 'the talk,' or fear of rejection and transmitting," she says.
“Its easier to get rejected via email, and you can take baby steps online without hunting outside.”Though Prescription 4 Love didnt yield any dates for Lana, this fast-growing online community offers an alternative to mainstream dating sites for thousands of singles.
But, for Lynne, who was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders at 19, dating invariably ends in disaster.
But about a month ago, Lynne began seeing a 53-year-old man she met through a dating Web site designed specifically for people with mental illness.
Now three years old, the site currently has 8,000 members who represent nearly 40 health conditions ranging from genital herpes (2,425 members) to Tourettes syndrome (32 members). “He was having a hard time with that, so I thought if he could find someone who had the same disease, or someone with a colostomy bag, he wouldnt really have to discuss that.”Since launching the site, Durham, 48, who previously dabbled in the stock market and worked as a bartender, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Ricky Durham founded Prescription 4 Love in 2006, inspired by his late brother Keith, who lived with Crohns disease for 15 years before passing away in 2004. Though he doesnt find it appropriate to be a member of a community he founded, he says he can empathize with his members.
"And lets face it, depending on what [the illness] is, it could very well make you uncompetitive in the larger dating pool."Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives.