Relationships and Building Back My Confidence

Before life with NMO, I was an outgoing people person. I had many friends all around and a serious relationship. As time went on and NMO showed its true colors, I started to lose that spark of life. Friendships became nothing more than a text every now and then, and I became single. My confidence took a beating over time, and I wasn’t as social like I once was. I didn’t have the drive to try and change it and feared I’d be alone forever.

Vision changes made it hard to get to know new people

Putting myself out there again to build any kind of relationship scares me to death. Simple things like reading body language became nonexistent for me. I used to be great at reading people and figuring out their intent. Losing most of my vision killed that for me. It’s terrifying sometimes when I'm trying to meet new people in a new city. I tried this city once, and it failed. Then the pandemic hit, and I returned to that city to stay with my friend again.

Finding my social energy

Last summer, I had so much energy to finally put myself out there. Clearly, life has changed for everyone because of the pandemic, so it made me feel a bit more able and willing to put myself out there. I’d go out, have a few drinks, and chat with a few strangers. But it was tough and discouraging. It’s almost as if I forgot how to be human. So many years of feeling numb, and now talking to people freaks me out. But I give going out at least once a month a try.

The energy isn't always reciprocated

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some pretty interesting people but once the night ends, so does that chatter. I’ve exchanged numbers a few times with people I thought would be great to get to know and make new friends, but I have had no luck. It's the same when I approach someone I'd like to know a little bit better and see where things would go. It’s tough, it’s frustrating, and my anxiety loves it.

Honesty is the best policy

When I meet people, especially when trying to put myself out in the dating pool, I try and be very upfront and honest. I don’t hide my disability. I am vocal about it and am not looking for someone to depend on.

My worries about starting a new relationship

My biggest fear is putting someone new through hell with this disease - and that’s what stops me from pushing toward a new relationship. The guys that want to try and get to know, I push away - and the guys that I don’t want just go away. I'm stuck in a loop that, ultimately, I sabotage (most of the time) if they aren’t scared away.

NMO impacted my confidence

NMO really took my confidence away, which I feel is my main issue. It changed my life, and I lost myself during those dark days. I was proud of who I was, and now I packed on some weight, can't drive, and feel I lost my masculinity. I’m not one for toxic masculinity and being that ideal "macho man," but I feel like a part of my manhood is gone. Over the last year, it has gotten better, but my insecurities are still there. Just a work in progress that I fight to continue building back up.

I know my people are out there

I push myself to stay positive and one day I will get a solid friend group again and maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll find someone who can work with me and push me not to be afraid of letting love into my life again. Love is something most people want and need. I have a ton of love to give, and when the time's right, I hope to find that strength and give it my all. So I will keep going out and keep trying to be that person I once was. I will find that spark once again!

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