The artwork—that’s an area that didn’t take off as much as I thought it would. A sizeable percentage of those probably haven’t been on the site for a while. The big stat is the amount of marriages that I’ve had with the site. I think professionals in the field discount the importance of relationships. I don’t think they work nearly as well as they advertise them to. Robert Whitaker shows that you need drugs in the short term to medicate somebody and bring them back to reality and stuff, but the long-term use of these things creates chronic conditions. Do you think that people with mental illnesses can only have a true bond with someone else who has a mental illness? ’ and I was like, ‘Wow, I guess there are people out there who are understanding.’ Are you still together? But you wouldn’t say it was because of your mental illness?
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.
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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.
A dating site is something that has a critical mass where it’s not very effective until you get a certain amount of people. I didn’t create the categories, it’s just what the major ones are: schizophrenia, schizoaffective, but I may have to remove that as an option. There really aren’t that many categories of mental illness. I hadn’t dated much and was really afraid of disclosing to women. Once you’ve been branded with this illness you feel kind of like a reject, in a way. It was in 2003 that you started thinking about this website. As of today I wouldn’t want a girlfriend that was seriously mentally ill. A lot of people that are bipolar, if they’re high-functioning, they’re not gonna want somebody that’s schizophrenic and cant hold a job and has active delusions and things like that.Do you long for not just soulmate love, but also deep connections with other like-minded women? Loneliness is becoming more common in today’s world.Despite all the ways we’re able to communicate with others online and on our phones, people aren’t necessarily feeling more connected. Instead of downloading yet another dating app, try this instead.In many ways, online dating resembles offline dating — the resulting relationships are no different. So why do so many millions turn to the Web to find love?While many dating sites claim the ability to find your perfect match, social scientists aren’t buying it.With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.