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Telling a partner about past sexual assault

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The decision to tell a partner about a history of sexual trauma is a deeply personal choice. It can bring up mixed emotions that are hard to sort through.  

If you feel ready to have this conversation with your partner, I’m offering some advice to help you feel even more prepared. 

I’m writing from the perspective of someone who works in mental health with experience of having this exact conversation.  

When it comes to this discussion there is no one-size-fits-all approach. I hope by sharing some of the things I learned along the way, you feel more empowered to share your own story. 

First, ask yourself a few questions

It can help to ask yourself a few questions before sharing your experience with a partner:  

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How to ‘be a man’ living with bipolar – from relationships to dealing with male stereotypes

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What does it mean to be an Aussie man living with bipolar and navigating relationships?

We ask Matt and Mark, two SANE Peer Ambassadors, about their experiences. They share how they deal with stigma, harmful stereotypes, and what they find helpful from the people close to them. At the end of the day, they say speaking up about their mental health (as hard as it can be) allows others to do the same.

Matt is passionate about the difference early intervention and education can make to a person's mental health recovery. Mark has come from a background playing with the AFL to being an advocate for Victorians experiencing addiction and mental health issues.

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Dating with bipolar disorder

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Vulnerability, trust and authenticity are the foundations of any successful relationship. It takes time to really get to know someone and build genuine intimacy. In the initial phases of dating, everyone tries to put their best foot forward to impress their prospective partner.

The ‘honeymoon’ phase is ideally full of fun, laughter and good times as we enjoy spending time getting to know the other person. The reality is that we all have our challenges and flaws which will rear their heads when life becomes stressful or we have our first conflict with our loved one.

While I do not see bipolar disorder as a ‘con’ for a relationship, it does bring its own unique set of challenges, all of which can be overcome.

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How to connect when you feel alone

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Despite the world's population growing rapidly, many of us feel lonelier than ever. The drive to connect with others and forge meaningful social relationships is an essential part of what makes us human. From a neurobiological perspective, we are wired for connection.   However, loneliness in Australia is an issue. A 2016 survey by Lifeli...
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Protecting a relationship when caring for someone

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When a loved one is diagnosed with a mental illness, the automatic concern is for their wellbeing, treatment and recovery. This is a normal and natural response.

Yet many people fail to realise the process can change the family dynamic. Schedules and priorities may change, with time required for appointments, treatment and support. 

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Boundary-setting and mental illness

Boundary-setting and mental illness

Boundary setting is an important, albeit difficult, part of self-care when a loved one is living with a mental illness. This may be harder and more complex for some than others. By setting boundaries, you are taking responsibility for how others treat you and your own needs seriously.

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Disclosure and dating

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How much should you reveal about your mental health to someone you’re dating? When’s the right time to discuss it with a new romantic partner? How should you tell them, and when? How will they react? Will it be okay?

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