Woman Shares How Outing Herself 'As A Crazy Person' Helps Her Deal While Dating — 'It's OK, It Makes Me Spicy'

Her struggles while dating with CPTSD have been helped by simply not hiding who she is, "craziness" and all.

woman who is dating with cptsd shrugging and man looking confused at his phone fizkes, Sklo Studio / Shutterstock; Canva Pro

Dating is hard enough under the best circumstances, let alone when you live with something stigmatized like a mental health condition. But one woman is taking a whole new approach to this situation — by simply leaning into it.

She deals with the challenges of dating with CPTSD by 'outing' herself 'as a crazy person' instead of trying to run from it.

TikToker Haley Fox, who also goes by Hay, deals with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or CPTSD, a form of PTSD that results from multiple or sustained traumatic experiences over time — like growing up in an abusive home, for example — rather than the discrete events we usually think of with PTSD like combat, accidents and natural disasters. Or, as Hay put it, "a lot of [messed] up things have happened to me because of a lot of [messed] up people."


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CPTSD has similar symptoms to regular PTSD, but due to the layered and extensive nature of the traumas involved, it is often harder to treat. And because these traumas usually involve sustained situations with other people, it can wreak havoc on relationships — as Hay knows all too well. 




Hay says that she's "okay" with her CPTSD diagnosis, joking that "it makes me a little spicy." But it also makes dating "really hard for me because I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop," she said in her video, "even when the person that I'm with is treating me in really healthy ways."

As with many people who've suffered the abuses of "messed up people," the opposite is also true for her. "When somebody is toxic towards me, I'm like, that's normal."

This has made it really hard for Hay to figure out how to "pick the people that are actually good for me instead of the people that are familiar," which will surely be recognizable to those of us who have a knack for picking the wrong guys or gals. 


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Hay's way out of the foibles that come with dating with CPTSD is to acknowledge and give voice to the 'insane voice in my head.'

I, too, have CPTSD, and my approach to the problems Hay brings up has been to simply commit to dying alone a wizened old man with too many dogs and avoid dating at all costs. It's worked swimmingly so far! (He said, bursting into tears.) But Hay has a better idea. 

"The guy that I'm dating right now is suspiciously lovely," she said of her current beau. "I feel like they made him in a lab for me." This has, of course, triggered her instinct to look for ways this is all going to go belly up — to try to catch him in a lie or look for signs that he's cheating.

In fact, she says she has a whole "laundry list" of pitfalls she's "made up in my head."




It's even made his texts seem suspicious. Recently, she texted him because he was late for a date. "So he... texts me and says, I'm on my way, [with a] period. I was like, what do you mean you're on your way, period? You're on your way, period. Don't talk to me like that, it should be, I'm on my way, exclamation point."

This left her convinced he was about to dump her, but when she brought this up to a friend, she was surprised by her response. Her friend looked at her like she was nuts. And the frequency with which she gets that reaction made her realize something huge.

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Hay decided she needs to voice her fears and thoughts in order to disarm them, a technique therapists agree can be very helpful for PTSD and CPTSD sufferers.

Hay said her friends' shocked reactions have "made me realize the voice in my head that tells me that stuff is bat[excrement] insane," she said, explaining that the narrative in her head ignored or negated everything good about her current boyfriend in order to fixate on the use of a period instead of an exclamation point.

But crucially, it was only by voicing those thoughts that she was able to get to the other side of them, and therapists say this is a common hurdle that PTSD and CPTSD sufferers face. Therapist Dr. Tapo Chimbgada told us that the hypervigilance and paranoia Hay experiences are frequently a part of the condition, as are hiding them.



“The stigma of mental illness can make one feel ashamed and guilty for having a condition,” Dr. Chimbganda told us. "Hiding one's mental illness or history of trauma is a symptom of this." So what's the way out? "There is a lot of freedom and healing that can come from owning one's issues and past," Dr. Chimgbanda says.


Or, in other words, "out[ing] myself as a crazy person as a form of therapy," as Hay so wittily put it, and she urged others to give it a try, too — to give voice to the off-kilter narratives in our heads so that we can hear how wrong they are and get past them. Solid advice for all us "crazy persons" out here!

And as for her and her date, the method worked like a charm — she followed up to say that after a wonderful and romantic date, "all is well."



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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.