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Dating with Depression

Dating at any point in life is a tricky path. Finding someone you like and respect, going through the dating process, and having to restart all over again if it doesn’t work out is a long and difficult road. Adding to that, oftentimes many people you might want to date aren’t looking for a relationship, the numbers of potential significant others dwindle down to a very few.

As difficult as dating already is, when you have clinical depression or any other mental illness, it makes the road that much harder to follow. Mayo Clinic defines “Clinical Depression” as the feeling of hopelessness or emptiness. The Mayo Clinic describes it as irritation, loss of pleasure in interests, over/undersleeping, and constant thoughts of suicide and death, among other things. It’s a sadness to an extremity. Sometimes, dating can feel impossible. However, whether you or the person you’re dating has clinical depression, there are a few things that can help the relationship and process run smoother.

First, find out how your significant other works, especially in a relationship. Are they the affectionate type in public or in private? Does depression make it harder to feel comfortable or be together? How can the other person help when their mental health gets bad? All of these things can make or break a relationship if they’re not dealt with correctly.

When my depression takes over, sometimes I need someone to silently hold me tight, as if noise or being let go will break me and they are the one holding my pieces together. Other times, my depression has me holed away in my room, sleeping in absolute darkness, or watching Netflix alone since I need the background noise to drown out my quiet crying. Most of the time, it hits me out of nowhere, for no reason, so it’s really hard to explain.

This leads me to the next tip – communication. In any relationship, communication is the key to making things work. However, when dealing with depression, communication is crucial. If something is being done wrong or if the person doesn’t feel right, both parties need to be able to communicate how they’re feeling or it could go terribly wrong.

For instance, my depression tends to make me overthink to the smallest degrees, and think about the worst possible scenario. When it gets bad, I have to talk to my significant other to let them know what I think and to be reassured that my thoughts are betraying me and nothing is wrong. If we’re unable to communicate with the person we’re dating, that alone should be a sign that the relationship probably won’t work out.

Depression also means that a lot of extra reassurance is needed, for both of those in the relationship. Both parties need to know they’re doing the right things, that the relationship is working, and they’re both doing okay. If one person is always reassuring the other, they could easily feel like they’re not doing enough.

Dating, in general, takes a lot of effort and participation from both sides. With the inclusion of depression, it just means that sometimes the good days are great and the bad days are hell. The emotions are more alive and prominent, so both parties need to be aware of how the other is feeling. As long as both people are aware and take care of each other the way that works for them, the relationship should work well and both people will be happy!

A lot of the time, people with depression don’t really feel like themselves or they’re overly sad and mentally exhausted. The person that they are with needs to understand that it will pass; not every day is a bad day. Most days, especially when around other people, they’re happy like everyone else. They just need a little extra love and attention.