When you suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or other 'invisible illness' that involves chemical injury and the need to avoid a wide range of everyday substances, dating can be almost impossible. Canary Singles, a new dating website specifically for those affected by chemical injury, is intended to help fellow canaries meet.
The site, launched last week, was created by holistic health counselor and fellow MCSer (someone with MCS), Cynthia Perkins. With degrees in psychology and counseling, Perkins is well placed to understand the importance of an understanding partner when coping with an illness like MCS which can be so isolating.
The following is an overview of the problems those with MCS and other invisible illnesses face when looking for someone special to share their life with - and importantly, someone who understands their illness. Perkins also provides further details about Canary Singles including a special offer for those joining the site between now and mid-October.
Dating with MCS or Chemical Injury
by Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.
I may be preaching to the choir here, but men and women who live with MCS or other types of chemical injury have unique challenges that are completely unlike the limits and restrictions that may be associated with other health conditions, when it comes to finding and building personal relationships.
Yes, it is true that most individuals with a disability of any kind often face more rejection, lack of compassion and understanding and difficulty in finding a life-partner than the average folk, however with the chemically injured it is even more pronounced.
Besides the fact that we are incapable of going to social events where we can meet other people, even if we found the person of our dreams, we have a long-list of prerequisites that often sends them running for the hills.
Unlike MCS, most chronic health disorders or disabilities don't require others around them to make significant changes in their own life in order to be allowed in the life of the chronically ill individual.
Potential friends, nest-partners, mates, lovers, etc., don't understand what we go through, aren't willing to make the sacrifices, can't relate, are afraid, think we're strange, can't cope with the disruption to their life or watching someone suffer, or feel controlled by our requests for them to give up the chemicals in their life and live within our restrictions.
These are great barriers to overcome. We really can't blame them; they are indeed difficult things to ask of others. Even though many of us might feel they are better off without chemicals in their life, the reality of the situation is that our experiences are outside the realm of what most people can comprehend.
So, the dilemma is that many of the chemically injured in the population feel isolated and disconnected and have no choice but to go without meaningful relationships. We are limited to finding others who share our health condition, but again we are met with the difficulty of finding them. There's no place where we can all go hang out. There's no MCS bar, dance club, book club etc.
Relationships are important for our mental, physical and spiritual health. The act of loving and being loved brings more depth, meaning and purpose into the lives of both parties, boosts the immune system and stimulates feel good neurotransmitters in the brain that improve our mood and reduce anxiety and stress. Finding creative ways to allow them in our life is essential. Thus, enters the creation of my new website, Canary Singles.
Canary Singles offers a place where the chemically injured can meet in an environment where there will already be some level of understanding and acceptance for the challenges, symptoms and restrictions that are involved in our lives, therefore hopefully lifting the barriers that prevent us from connecting with others.
It is open to all individuals with chemically injury; including MCS, EMHS, FMS, CFIDS, GWS, EMF, Autism, or others with an invisible illness who are disabled and/or restricted by common everyday chemicals. Whether you're looking for that special someone to build a nest with, companionship, casual dating or simply an intellectually stimulating conversation.
There are two levels of membership: Free and Premium. Free membership allows you to register, post a profile and search the database. The premium membership, which is a minimal fee to make it affordable to all, allows you to contact one another through chirps and a private email box, as well as a relationship advice center.
To kick start the grand opening of Canary Singles, I am giving away 5 free premium memberships in a random drawing. To enter the drawing, simply go to Canary Singles and register for a free membership during the dates of September 15th through Oct 15th. Five random winners will be drawn from those who register during those dates and announced on October 17th at the bottom of the home page of Canary Singles.
To sign up for your free membership and enter the drawing visit: www.canarysingles.com
It is my hope that this site will grow to fill the gap of a much needed service in our community. I hope you will join me in making this happen.
Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. is a holistic health counsellor and fellow MCSer. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in counseling and is the author and founder of a variety self-help books and websites. Visit the multiple chemical sensitivity section of her website for a variety of resources for the chemically injured.