Three years ago, Demi York spent a night out with a friend at a campus bar. Her grandmother passed away two days before and she wanted to relieve her mind.
At some point during the night, the 21-year-old junior at the University of Cincinnati lost sight of her friend before the night became a blur. The next morning, she woke up confused in a trashy house, and soon realized she had been drugged and raped by a guy whom she had four classes with.
This night still haunts her and has led to diagnosed depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She gets night terrors, panic attacks, and has flashbacks if she gets a hint of a certain smell, like the mildewed couch at the house she woke up in. This trauma has also bled into her social life, affecting her relationships with other people. “It’s taking me a really long time to be able to trust someone again,” she says.
York is part of a large group of people learning to cope with trauma. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults are dealing with a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. Out of that estimated 44.7 million adults, nearly 22 percent identify as women and nearly 15 percent identify as men. People dealing with a mental illness are also challenged with dating or having romantic relationships, yet there is no concrete data showing how many people with a mental illness are in the dating scene or in a serious relationship.
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