It feels disloyal to describe my fiance as ‘someone with depression.’ Because he is so very, very much more than that. In my head a depressed person is someone who can’t get off the sofa, who’s constantly plagued by misery. He’s the king of ‘we’ll get through this’ and ‘don’t be silly, of course we can.’ Or at least most of the time he is. He’s one of the most positive, optimistic, life-affirming people I’ve ever known.And it can get frustrating dating someone who just can’t seem to get their head around it or – worse – ‘doesn’t believe’ in being depressed (IT’S NOT A UNICORN, IT’S A MEDICALLY DEFINED ILLNESS). Don’t doubt us if sometimes we’re perfectly happy and able to get on with things, then can’t get out of bed the next day. But we’re still going to cry and hate ourselves for it. Listen to our entirely illogical explanation for why we’re upset and help us through it. Sometimes we won’t react the way we’re supposed to when you do something lovely or something amazing happens. You casually mentioning any negative opinions on anti-depressants doesn’t help. Missing out on a job can push us into a months-long depressive period. But that doesn’t mean we can’t handle the truth or rubbish things happening.Don’t say you’re ‘depressed’ when you’re feeling sad. If we do something wrong, criticise our actions, not us as a person. You don’t need to walk on eggshells or treat us like a delicate flower. Sometimes our down moments are prompted by something, sometimes they’re not. ’ Yes, we’re perfectly aware that there are people around the world without food and shelter.More than 80% of people who seek treatment get relief from symptoms, according to Mental Health America.You need to take good care of yourself before you can take care of someone else in a relationship.You may wonder why I am not asking a therapist about this…This is because every therapist I’ve ever seen does not take my desire to date or find a partner seriously.Every time I raise this issue in the therapist’s office, it gets dismissed. I’m really interested in getting your opinion on this whole complex issue. And not in some sort of vague, quasi-sympathetic way either.
We’re fine with explaining how it feels to you, but it’s really not our job to educate you on mental illness and what causes depression. I don’t cry 24/7 and I doubt that many depressed people do. We know it’s not a big deal that we’ve lost our socks. It’s just our depression muddies up any excitement or joy we’d usually feel. So don’t assume we’ve magically cured ourselves of depression because we’ve told you we’ve been fine for the last few weeks. Actually expressing that we might need medication is deeply, deeply scary.These 10 simple tips can help make dating a bit easier. With greater awareness about depression, the stigma of mental illness has diminished somewhat.If you’re depressed, dating can magnify some of your challenges, such as fatigue, irritability, low self-esteem, and reduced libido. Therapy and/or medication use is common and often very successful.Suppose you had treatment-resistant depression (or any chronic mental illness), assuming that you had been going the medication-and-therapy route for years to no avail, and that you were doing all you could to help yourself in your condition, but that you were just not able to function on the same level as a healthy person (i.e., too unstable to keep a job, on social assistance, disability status, etc.).Assume also that you had had this condition your entire adult life and did not expect to get better any time soon–unless there was a significant breakthrough in the field of antidepressants or therapy techniques. How would you find a partner who would accept that you were not healthy and could not have a job or “contribute” to society, but could still love you for you?Depression doesn’t always have to be permanent, but a commitment to mental health is a lifelong thing. We’re not dark and edgy, we’ve got a mental illness. Yes, depression can mute and swamp our personality and make it like it’s taken us over. Please take a moment to appreciate that we’ve opened up and told you what we’re dealing with. You’re reeeeeally not helping by reminding us of all the things we’re failing at doing.