If you have diagnosed mental health issues, when do you disclose that to a new partner? How much do you disclose? If you're dating someone with anxiety or depression, how can you support them and yourself at the same time?
Hear it all on this episode of the Queer Joy Podcast; where two relationship therapists explore what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
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Melisa: As the person with anxiety, it's dangerous territory for me to expect a partner to learn all of my triggers, constantly avoid them, help me through everything. Like, they're also people. They also have things going on and it's not fair for me to put my mental health on them as their job to fix. Keely: Yeah. Going back to the basic of what a relationship is, it isn't our role to change anybody or to fix anybody or to solve problems for anybody. Keely: Hi, Queer Relationship, Queer Joy. Well, we're here today. I'm inspired by Mental Health Awareness month. So for folks that don't know May, and it's other things too, I want to be clear that I think it's also Asian Pacific Islander awareness month. It's Mental Health Awareness month. And so, being that we're therapists, we thought it'd be great to have extra and do two episodes. We're going to do a part one, a part two, because there's so much to talk about around mental health and partners. And how do we take care of our own stuff? How do we support our partners? What's working well in the dynamics of partnerships, of romantic relationships, nesting partners, where one person has a mental health issue or both people, whether it's anxiety, depression, borderline neurodivergency, we're talking about all these different pieces for mental health awareness. And I want to say, I want to make sure and say this now so that we put in our brains to talk about the positive things too, and not just about the negative down pieces. Like I think that's what something we really make clear on this podcast is we're not doing toxic positivity, but we are going to include the joys and cool pieces. Melisa: Yeah, what's also working alongside the things that might be challenging. And I, I do, I feel like I say this all the time, so it might sound insincere now, but I'm genuinely pumped about this topic. I don't think we talk about things that I'm not pumped about worth talking about, but because this. This is our wheelhouse. This is what you and I do in terms of our job and sitting with clients. And this is what we're hearing about every day. And of course it impacts relationships and how we show up in relationship. So why not give it a full platform to really dive in? Keely: Yeah, for sure. And so we're just going to talk for a while and then we will then have more to say with part two. We should probably introduce ourselves. I started blabbing per ush . I think that helps get people in that I think about it. Like, you know, how to therapy session, you kind of chit chat for a minute before diving in and, yeah. Like us talking for a moment is warming up. Getting people into, you know, with our voices and what the topic of the day is, and- Melisa: Everyone's getting their coffee ready. They're getting comfy. Keely: Yeah, for sure. And I will say, I think thinking about this too, I do want to spend a little bit of time differentiating some different anxieties and then really thinking about too, just to kind of a general anxiety, general social anxiety that I'm not gonna put as a diagnosis. And there isn't actually a separate diagnosis for social anxiety, but it's, it's something that we talk about. And I do want to make aware and talk about normalizing, just a general kind of anxiousness around hanging out with people and being outside and being around people and social groups and this extra layer that it's been, what about a month now of not wearing masks or not being, have to, people are choosing some people are choosing to wear masks still, some people either for their own health or for their own choices, or because for some folks who are compromised, you know, norming that, and I would say this, I think that's kind of a potential coping strategy as well. It does take down. The areas that I know are very crowded. I'll wear a mask still and we have to wear masks at work. So those almost like comforting in a way, even though they're also annoying. Melisa: It can be a way to manage anxiety. For sure. I've definitely still use a mask in lots of situations to make myself feel more comfortable. Keely: Yeah. Yeah. Just normalizing people making different choices based on their own needs. Well, I am Keely C Helmick. I'm the owner of Connective Therapy Collective. I am a queer non-binary person. Able-bodied white. I am a licensed professional counselor as well as a certified sex therapist, and talk about all things that are queer. Melisa: And I'm Melissa DeSegiurant, I'm a therapist at Connective Therapy Collective. I'm bisexual. I'm a polyamorous person, gender fluid. I am white and physical recovery. Very excited about that part of my identity right now, and really looking forward to diving into these topics more. Again, being that this is what we do all the time. It's my jam. Keely: Yeah. Well, I'm thinking about from the beginning of, if we're talking about how people are dealing or talking about their mental health and where they're at. I did notice on the apps. I will say I have officially been off the apps for like two weeks. Melisa: Wow. Keely: Now I'm not missing it right now. I never thought I would say that, but I, I I'm casually dating, but I am off apps til we'll see. And I don't know if you notice this, Melissa, people will say on the apps that they are seeing a therapist or they will say one of their requirements for dating is the person they're dating or the people they're dating are actively seeing a therapist. Melisa: Yeah. I've seen a lot of that and I love it. I've even seen people like put their attachment styles on their profiles. Like I've seen a lot of really specific things, and again, that's not our topic today. And we've talked about a little bit before, but remember there's not just one attachment style so we can get out of that. I don't want to promote that idea, but I like when all this information is on the dating profiles. More information is helpful for me and I am a person. Requires a certain level of emotional processing ability from partners that I'm in connection with. And I've, I've learned that and I've developed into that becoming a therapist myself. So those are things that are really important to me. It's not that I can't be in relationship with anyone who has mental health difficulties. I do need the people I'm in relationship with to have some skills, tools around what comes up for them, mental health wise, as I do so that I am not the primary caregiver and, or my partner is not my primary caregiver for those things. Keely: I like how you just phrase that, Melissa, because thinking about what a primary, when we use the term primary caregiver and what that means with mental health versus like physical health going on. And how do we delineate between that? And I want to say before, I was just ready to jump, but I know we kind of go into hands gentle and that's okay. I think a question that people sometimes think about is when to disclose or when to talk about their anxiety or talk about their depression, which is a main ones we're going to talk about. We're focusing on anxiety, depression, cause those are the more, the more prominent ones, but that definitely there's a wider range than just depression and anxiety. And some of the coping strategies and the strategies to talk can be applied to other mental health pieces as well. Melisa: Absolutely. The way I come at things is always from that trauma informed lens. So any of the anxiety and depression we're talking about in my mind, probably links back to some past trauma, not to say that there's always a PTSD diagnosis. The DSM is, is a little far behind, still on the trauma informed practices or perspective. But that's kind of the framework I come from is that there's been some wounding that is responsible for the anxiety and depression that may be present. Keely: Yeah, and there's variances of general anxiety. So when we're, I will do my best to be clear and talk about what the diagnosis is, but also wanting to honor folks who recognize challenges that they have, struggles that they have and have their own diagnosis based on what they've experienced and what they researched. And so. I do want to talk a moment about the actual diagnoses, but then also validate people's experiences outside of the DSM. Cause the DSM five is very flawed. All the DSMs are very flawed. And then you said, yeah, PTSD and trauma. And again, so from the get go, when we're starting to date a new person, when do we disclose that? Okay, some people are disclosing it on their app on the, on their profile or their dating app. Melisa: It's one of those frustrating answers where it's like, it depends, like figure out what works for you. But for me, So, what I deal with most frequently is anxiety. And it's like, make sense to disclose that right away, because that's part of how I manage anxiety on first dates. I'm like, Hey, I'm going to be anxious. I literally just name it. You know? And like, that's the thing that I deal with. I say it as kind of flippantly as I just did. I don't have stigma around my own anxiety anymore. I think I used to, but I don't have any shame or stigma around it. I think it's pretty average run of the mill living in the times we live in like anxiety levels. So yeah, I'm a person who prefers to disclose that really early. It makes me feel more comfortable. It demystifies the whole thing. If there's follow-up questions that people have, I can certainly answer those, but and I say that, again, that doesn't mean it's right for everyone to disclose things right away. Keely: Yeah. And I think about, so when people ask me this question, similar to Melissa, it's okay. It depends. I do think that sometimes the first meeting isn't necessarily that you don't have to do that. You can, as in your example, of course, like if you want to be like, oh, I'm feeling a little anxious, or I think about the idea of differentiating to like stress and general anxiety disorder and differentiate, they can feel similar, but the stress of things and are outside and how that manifests in individuals can look differently. So I say, I mean, I'm going to just offer up another example. Like maybe you wait till the second date or third date, I tend to think of first dates as, and this is anyone who listens is dated me or has gone on a date with me. It's like, I see it as like, let's just see if our energies match because there's a lot to disclose sometimes. And I think as we get older, especially like I'm not 22, so I'm almost double that. So my life experience and the things that I disclose to people, it's almost the slowness sometimes of, of meeting somebody is really beautiful. Just getting, because maybe you meet and after 45 minutes of coffee, it's like, let's be real. Sometimes it's like 10 minutes and you're like, this is not a connection. There's not a connection. Melisa: We've talked about that before, too. Like, you don't need to tell your life story if you're not feeling a connection to someone, right? Keely: Yeah. So that's from the get go when to disclose. Okay. So we're saying, think about it, but giving people full permission that you don't, you don't owe anybody, anything to tell them right away. Melisa: Well, and even what that disclosure looks like, like I'm the one who, yeah. I like to get it out right away. I'll say, Hey, this is one of the things I deal with, especially because for me, I'm glad you made the differentiation between stress, anxiety. I can have full blown panic attack. And the likelihood of that with someone new, that I've not been around before is higher than around someone I've not been around. So I think that's why it feels better to name that early on because there's a potential that something will happen and I will go into panic attack mode and I would rather my date understand what's happening than me trying to describe what's happening in the middle of a panic attack. That's a possibility for me. Unfortunately, when I name it, it tends to not happen. So yeah, it's good to differentiate between, like, what are you actually disclosing? What are you actually talking about? Keely: Yeah. I have to remember that not everyone understands mental health. And if using, if I use the word anxiety or use the word depression, they may have a different definition of it than I do. Melisa: Totally. Keely: And so there's also that piece that we're sharing a lot about ourselves when we disclose mental health, because we're telling our versions of it. Like, this is like you just said, Melissa, oh, you may have a panic attack. Some people with general anxiety will have panic attacks, but some people don't. That's not a, that's not a requirement of anxiety diagnosis. Melisa: Exactly. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's that question of like, so what does that look like for you? Keely: Yeah. How, how do you, how does that manifest in your body? Melisa: But I've had people like disclose in a, in a much less like I don't want to say vulnerable cause they were being vulnerable, but just like in a less detailed way of just saying like, oh yeah, I've had some, my share of anxiety, depression in my time. That's enough info for me on a first date. I don't need to necessarily know. What does that look like now? What are you going to need from me? I don't need to go into a fear mode of assuming this is somehow going to be my job. You know, that's enough context for me early on in a connection. Keely: And anxiety looks differently for different people, even with having the same diagnosis. Melisa: As does Keely: We'll interchange, anxiety, depression, but I did want to come back to the definition of anxiety again, from the DSM perspective, which doesn't mean that everyone has these, but some of the common things that we look for is, you know, difficulty sitting still, fidgeting, irritability, ruminating that, that having something and not, and it's like running through your brain, running through your brain, running it through your brain. What else would you want people to know about anxiety or understanding anxiety? I I'm going off this as though people that some people listening may not have... Melisa: Totally. Yeah. And i don't have a DSM open and in true bad therapist style, but feeling keyed up, feeling really restless, sometimes difficulty sleeping, difficulty controlling, worry, and anxious thoughts. Those are all things that can contribute. And of course, you know, as we've said, like the way the DSM works, it's very specific. Like you have to have three out of the five symptoms for at least six months or all these different, you know, criteria that I, my head gets a little bit fuzzy when I try and look too closely at it all. So again, I don't know my point on that other than to say, like, you can also experience anxiety without qualifying for generalized anxiety disorder. That does not mean your experience is invalid. Keely: Yeah. And so I think, so I am going to just pull up and just briefly go over because I did want to differentiate some of it too from anxiety and stress and stress is more cute. That's one of the pieces, how we differentiate is, is there's an external situation. Like when someone's like, I'm stressed about what's going on at work, because I have a deadline due and that's a stressful situation or you're stuck in traffic, and regardless of whether you have anxiety or not, or have generalized anxiety, there are certain situations that people are going to react or have an experience of a stressful situation. And the way we differentiate that is that with the generalized anxiety is at least six months. Melisa: When we mean generalized is it could happen over like any one of your life domains or like your spheres. Like you could have anxiety about work, but it could be about friends, it could be about, you know, any anything really. And it's not necessarily specific to a identifiable stressor. Sometimes you'll wake up and you just have anxiety about anything that comes across your plate that day. Keely: And so then just some of the symptoms and again, please do not use this episode as a way to diagnose yourself officially, but it's something just to think about when you're thinking about, as we go on to talk on this topic. I just want to have people have the same vocabulary in mind and imagine, and we're going to talk about how this manifests within the dynamic relationships and how to move through that. So we have, you know, edginess or restlessness, tiring easily, impaired concentration, irritability, increased muscle aches or soreness, difficulty sleeping, either trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night. So like that description right there, I think about like how that affects people that we're dating and how it affects how we show up in these situations and then it's okay if they tell us they have this and they have challenges with this, how do we support? And then also, oh, the B word, how do we, as supportive partner, still maintain our own boundaries. Melisa: Yeah, and that is, this is the tricky part for so many people, because I hear a lot of should statements about what a good partner should do and should be. And it seems like that the idea floating around out there is that a good partner should always take care of the other person's stuff, whether that's physical or emotional. And man, I got to tell you, I think that's a really big pitfall and I have put myself in the position of somebody who was responsible. And I know we've unpacked that word before and in a previous episode, but I really did assume responsibility for someone else's mental and wellbeing. And that really damaged the relationship because I did not have appropriate boundaries, which ultimately wasn't protective for me or my partner. So I really want to get rid of this should and, and maybe look at how we can be responsive without being responsible. Keely: What popped up in my brain, especially when you said, Melissa, about the, the caretaker role or the primary caretaker... When I think about the relationship escalator and for those people who have been married or ever been to a wedding with the like traditional til death do us part or before that is in sickness and in health. And this idea of that we're supposed to be there with our partner in sickness and in health. And, what does that mean? Melisa: And true. We don't want to go full on detachment mode where it's like, well, that's yours. That's for you to deal with no we're in community and partnership for theoretically for a reason, you know? And for me, part of the reason I choose partnerships with folks is for emotional support. But as a person, I'll put myself in the position, the person with anxiety, I it's just dangerous territory for me to expect a partner to learn all of my triggers, constantly avoid them, help me through everything. Like they're also people, they also have things going on and it's just, it's not fair for me to put my mental health on them as their job to fix. Keely: Yeah. Going back to the basic of what a relationship is, it isn't our role to change anybody or to fix anybody or to solve problems for anybody. Right. Right. And that actually can become a piece of control that can actually be controlled dynamic within a partnership when there ismental health that comes up and delineating between being supportive and trying to control a situation. And so often, I think about anxiety, like I'm thinking about different ways that anxiety manifests and how that affects our relationship dynamic and dating. I think the thing that's challenging is within dating, if you're not living with the person and you're not seeing them on a regular basis, they may not really understand the full extent. Melisa: Sure. Yeah. Keely: And so again, I mean, really it's an ad advocating for going slower in the, the beginning processes of dating is getting to know each other and having those opportunities to talk about these things before they necessarily pop up or before it's really obvious, like how you are in the morning time? And how are you at night time, what it's like. I mean, I think in Oregon, especially more with depression, but with anxiety and depression is it can be very seasonal. Yeah. Situational. Melisa: I've heard people ask that on dates. Like how do you get through the winter? What do you do? Yeah. It's really? Keely: Yeah. Yeah. How do you do, and I want to also touch on something of being aware to where this can also come up in interpersonal violence and walking that fine line of recognizing struggles, but also not taking on. It's also an excuse. Melisa: This is the hard one. This is a really hard one. Keely: Like someone saying, well, I have anxiety. So this is how I act. You have to just deal with it. Or, you know, when I'm really depressed, I don't do X, Y, and Z, and so you have to, you have to, as my partner do this, because I can't do it, these pieces are hard. It's what we're talking about it. Melisa: Totally. Yeah. And that's why, like, if we know what those expectations are early on, we get to decide whether that works for us or not, you know? And, and it, it, it also doesn't mean that we're shaming that, like, I know for myself because of my job I don't do well if I come home from work and I've got a partner who's really, really struggling with ongoing depression. I'm like a high vibration person. I'm relatively positive by being clued into what's actually happening. I'm pretty realistic about what's going on in the world, but there's such a heaviness. I sit with every day at work, but that's like not a right match for me, energetically. And that doesn't mean that I get to shame somebody and be like, you can't be depressed. You need to figure out better coping skills. I don't want to know that's on need to create a boundary and say, you know what? I totally appreciate you. I don't know if I'm the right connection for you. How, how can we be in community together if it's not going to be in partnership? And that may feel tricky for people to hear, but we do get to choose like, what we are in connection with and who we in connection with. And, and I think what I'm advocating, advocating for us to do that responsibly and not say, oh yeah, no big deal. I got that. And then be resentful five months later, when we're, we're doing exactly what we said we would do the person's showing up exactly the way they said they would, and we're mad because we didn't actually want to be doing this job or this work. Keely: Well, and I think that goes back to, I mean, we're advocating as we're talking about this, this is a piece. Is it in the relationship smorgasbord- but this is something when we're going through relationship agreements and agreements and expectations and what we're asking for, what we're looking for, that dynamic of relationship and within many different relationships, there may be certain asks that we have of certain people, but we don't want to assume, like, I think again, always going back to this like relationship escalator and these monogamous assumptions that just because we're dating or in a romantic or sexual relationship with someone, we need to be really clear about what those asks are and what those agreements and expectations are. Melisa: Yeah, totally. Keely: And so we're talking about anxiety and depression here and just general things that can apply to other mental health. And when we're talking about depression, again, this is according to the DSM, but this doesn't mean that there are other pieces to it. So with general anxiety, it was like you have this, or having the symptoms for six months. The depression is around having the same two week period experiencing this. Things like significant weight loss or weight gain, depressed mood most of the day, diminished interest or pleasure in most activities. Okay. And let's, let's talk about now just to go out, but what the hell does significant mean even? So like that one, obviously there's issues. We won't go to much into it, slowing down a thought reduction of physical movement, fatigue, or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, diminished ability to think, or concentrate... Potential isn't just depression, but recurrent thoughts, suicidal ideation, thoughts of death. Maybe it'd be better for me not to be here. So, and as you can also see, like anxiety and depression, sometimes people think about it for, for people, with anxiety and depression, it can kind of feel like two sides of the same coin. And some of those things happen with both. Melisa: The model I would encourage people to look up is the window of tolerance. If you type that into Google, you can find a million examples, even Google images will give you the little graph, but it's a good way of looking at kind of where our nervous systems fluctuate too. So it will show you in the middle of the graph, that kind of window of tolerance, where, when you're, when you're living in that zone, things can happen and you're okay. Like, you know, minor inconveniences, you can kind of let it roll off your shoulders. No big deal. But what happens is we fluctuate. We go into hyper arousal, which can look like your fight or flight. And that is often where that's like the anxiety territory. That's where anxiety lives up there and that hyper activation. And then we can also go down into hypo. Which is more like the freeze and that's more where depression will lie. And so the way I like to think of it is sometimes for us folks that have high anxiety, if we're writing, we can't live like up there for too long, it's too much energy and that hyperactivation state. So what will happen is we'll plummet down. I know this for myself, I'll plummet down and then I'll be in like depression land for like a day or two. Cause it's sort of my nervous system trying to like even itself back out. So yeah, that it can feel like a cycle, but I tell people it kind of would look like a heart monitor anyway, cause we're always going up and down within the window. And then the trauma piece too is trauma can actually make our windows smaller. So that it's easier to go into fight, flight or freeze because we only have a little tiny room of where we're okay, right. So that's a model I really like to use and I like partners to use it together to explore like, oh, so you're really down here and I'm really up here. And that's why, if we're our energies, aren't vibing right now because we're in totally different realms and neither one of us are actually regulating. Keely: Well, and I've heard be, but when you're saying that Melissa, and thinking about recognizing. Depending on what partner or who we're interacting with, that can look a little different too. Like we don't actually always know we can let a new person we're dating or a new relationship that's developing. We can talk about these things. But until we're in a relationship and have some time with this person, we don't always know how that's going to manifest. Melisa: Totally. And things change. You know, here I am saying like, well, someone who has consistent depression, probably not like the best match for me. Like, and things happened in my life. And then I have to pray, you know? So we can't know exactly what things are going to be like. And also, mental health issues happen and it's not something to be ashamed of. It's not something to quote-unquote fix, like these things will pop up. And that's why we want to give you tools to work with it, rather than like trying to be avoidant of all mental health issue. Keely: Yeah. I feel like it always comes back to that first piece is recognizing within ourselves, understanding ourselves and how these mental health challenges, how our mental health, where we're at. We noticed like for ourselves and stepping back of how we're taking responsibility as an individual and taking care of ourselves, but also having those support. And that going back to, we talked about, when we talk about sex, when we talk about fun activities, pleasurable activities, we talk about anything we're saying, okay, you can't just rely on one person and even more. So when we're talking about this anxiety and depression, we can not rely on just one person to help us. And, and we're also not saying that you have to do this all by yourself. Melisa: Right? Right. Exactly. It's a team of support. You know, and what that can look like if I'm thinking about like newly connecting with somebody and wanting to be curious is how does it show up in your partnerships? What do you really need from a partner when you're feeling that way? What would be really great to receive from a partner? You know, those are good questions to ask so that we can step up to the plate and say, okay, yeah. When so-and-so is really having a rough day, they really like this, that feels within my capability. I can help them out with that, you know, but also to your point, not assuming that we're going to be the only person. Keely: Yeah. And I think, you know, we talked about this being a two parter and wrapping up this piece of it and then saying for the next episode to continue this conversation, because it's such a big conversation that we wanna spend a good amount of time on it. It's just the tip of the iceberg of this conversation, obviously, but when we're telling people or disclosing about mental health to let them also know what we're actively doing. And so being really clear about when we're talking about boundaries and expectations is saying, you know, I'm letting you know, this is what's happening for me currently, and this is what I'm doing. And I want to get permission that you don't have to go into specifics. It's not gonna look the same for everybody. We know this. But really having some thoughts around, you can say as little or as much about it. And thinking about how being helpful to your partner and things that are helpful to partner or things like, like you were saying, Melissa, this is what's helped me in the past, or this is what's helpful for me. For some people, when they're feeling anxious, some people just pull away. Like if someone's feeling like extra anxious that day, or having like an anxiety flare up. Some people will be like, oh, I want to just be by myself. I just wanna isolate go away. And some people like, no, no, no, no. Be next to me be next to me, don't leave me. But you know, I want to have a distraction or, or something fun to do. And as I'm saying this, I'm thinking about how one of the most challenging things is if both people have his experience of anxiety and the person assumes and does the thing that they think their partner wants, right. Instead of having clarity. Yeah. Melisa: Yeah. And I've been in that situation before. I've definitely been the one who like just did a bunch of things to try and make someone feel better. And none of it worked cause they didn't ask me for any of that. So I help myself with that. And I've also been in this situation where I've had like pretty close to a panic attack set in, and this was more specific to trauma getting triggered, I would say. And similarly, the person was trying to comfort me the way that they intuitively thought that they could comfort me, and it was like by holding me close. And that for me was like, so terrifying. I needed no touch. I needed space. I needed my body to be able to flee the scene. And eventually I got that, but it would have been really helpful had I communicated those things ahead of time. And I'll say though, I don't always know. Because with some partnerships with something happens, I want compression and I want to be held really closely. So it's, it's tough. It's not always going to be the exact same, but again, if you can give any information, you know, to, to partners as to like, Hey, this is one of the things that can really trigger me. You know, sometimes I, even, if you don't know, sometimes I really want to be touched, sometimes I don't. Let's just check in, right. Like more for me more communication is better. Keely: Yeah, so food for thought, and we will continue this conversation and get more into specifics of now that we have a what that might kind of look like, especially at the beginning and how much we disclose. And then to be continued. We'll be more specific around the dynamics and things to help as a partner and things that we can do to help our partner when we're having mental health struggles. So on that note, recognizing joy and gratitude is definitely a tool. What is your Queer Joy of the week? Melisa: Well, my Queer Joy. I guess it is the one, but it totally is. Okay. Sometimes I judge it before I say it, but it's, we're going re reality TV land. It's just my favorite reality TV show is The Circle. I love it. Like I legitimately love that show so much. And part of it I realized is because it is like a queer Mecca, like queer people run that show. Like they're the best part of the whole circle is how many queer people there are, how amazing they all are. So I love it. Recently found out that one of my queer friends also really loves the show so we like gushed about that for a minute, but this season. The fricking spice girls are on it. Like, are you kidding me? Like this is queer- Keely: All of them? Melisa: No, it's Baby Spice and Scary. It's Mel B energy. Yeah. I already loved that show and then you add in the spice girls and like that just the nineties getting me as like so that's my Queer Joy. Keely: That's awesome. Well, mine is... Mine's almost always social. Yeah. It's almost always social. In Portland, Oregon, there is a lesbian bar called Sports Bra. So I went and visited this last week and it was pretty good. And I had this same feeling. I recognize this feeling, the same feeling that I had when I went and visited Wellesley. When I went to Wellesley College, my friend went to college there and I went to visit and I looked around, I was like, whoa, look at all these like books and pictures and all these things about women and women's history and all of, and it was such an awakening moment to not have fully understood at the age of 18, how little our public education talks about women or anyone other than white men. And so when I went into Sports Bra, I was like looking around. I was like, whoa, look at all these women. I was like, oh yeah, women's sports is odd. And I'm in the bathroom and looking, and everything's like, women's sports. And we talk about it all the time. I'm very aware of the lack of representation and still this beautiful feeling that just blows in my body, seeing that. And especially like the little five-year-old in me was really huge into basketball and would go on the phone and call it the coach of the trailblazers and wanted to play basketball. Wanted to be a sports broadcaster, all these things... legit when I was 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, that didn't exist. There wasn't a national league yet. There wasn't the WNBA. There wasn't women doing sports broadcasting, and so such this beautiful moment and this feeling of just there's representation and as a white person, there is things that I miss as- meaning that I don't always notice the lack of representation in other ways. As a white person, there's representation of whiteness, but with, with this piece of it and sports and, you know, being a, and it's so gay, I mean, it's, it's. It's all people and it's women's sports, which can be CIS women and it can be CIS straight women, but it's so fucking gay and like looking around and I'm like lesbian, lesbian, lesbian, lesbian, lesbians. And I will say there was a piece as a non-binary person. I still felt representation, but it definitely was. Yeah, I have some conversation around it, but there is still an inclusiveness that you don't find in the average bar and especially in a sports bar. So it was, it was really cool. Melisa: Amazing. I haven't checked it out yet, but it's on the list. Keely: It's pretty small. And like, actually I had a friend on Instagram who I haven't talked to since high school. And she was like, oh, like commented. And she used to play soccer. So she would, you know, saying it's kind of small. So there's actually a big game. It's going to be really packed. Like, yeah. I mean it's, I bet you if they have, if they get the run that it seems to be they'll expand, but totally worth the trip and good vegan food. Delicious vegan food. I had like a vegan- Delicious. Melisa: Sounds good. Keely: So that's it for this week and we will be doing a part two continuation of this topic and get more into relationship dynamics within dealing and doing this mental health thing. So thanks again for a riveting conversation, Melissa. And I hope everyone has a Queer and Joyful week. Cardinal: Thanks for listening to Queer relationships, Queer joy, a podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective hosted by Kelly C Helmick and Melissa DeSegiurant. I'm your producer Cardinal marking audio is edited by Mars Gaspar. Intro music is by bad snacks. If this episode made you smile or think, tell us about it, if you hated it, tell us about that. Review us on iTunes or Spotify, or send us an email at info at Connective Therapy, Collective dot com for more queer joy. Visit our website at www dot Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. Love ya. Bye.