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Depression and Dating


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Hello everyone,


I've been suffering from clinical depression for about 6 years now. It's kept me from succeeding in school, holding a job, keeping friends, dating, and generally made me feel like a useless person. In the last year or so my family has helped me to pull my act back together. I'm going to school, hanging out with strangers, learning yoga, and even volunteering a little! It feels like I've just snapped out of a coma. Unfortunately that also means I'm picking up in the dating world where I left off when I was 18... nowhere. Seriously, I haven't even kissed a girl yet!


I realize that a huge part of being in a relationship is having a stable life of your own so that there's some breathing room for both of you. Taking into account the situation that I'm coming out of, it would be easy for me to do the opposite and fall into a dependent relationship. I've been aware of that and haven't allowed myself to enter the dating world because I don't want to be a burden. However, since I'm a 24-year old male that's a pretty hard thing to commit to. Whenever I find something funny, experience something new, or just notice those little moments in life I find myself wishing that I had somebody special to share them with. I often focus on these thoughts more than whatever activity I'm actually involved in. Maybe my depression is just getting in the way, but I feel like I should be able to genuinely enjoy things by myself before I'm ready to enjoy them with somebody else.


Anyway, my friends have talked me into signing up for on-line dating. I've been giving it a try for a couple of months and messaged a few dozen girls so far. None of them have even responded. I'm sure this is probably normal for beginning daters, but I'm having a hard time handling it. If I were to actually get a date god only knows how stressful all the other parts might be! I do want to experience "love" before I'm old and tattered, but despite my friends' best intentions I'm not sure I'm emotionally stable enough to search for it yet.


What do you guys think? As a depressed person is this a real concern? Could dating stress cause me to sink back into despair and undo all the progress I've been making towards recovery? Am I just nervous and giving up too soon? Are my mental barriers keeping me from experiencing an essential part of life? How will I know when I am ready? I've spent enough time throwing around these questions that I think it's time for someone else's opinion. Whether you've experienced depression or not, I would value any advice!


Thanks for your time,


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Hey Alex,


Its great that you're getting everything back on track again. I too suffer from depression and OCD (primarily). Mine has been pretty much "under control" for a while now, but I still have bouts of it so I can relate.


I think with dating you do have so have a somewhat thick skin, and your emotional wellbeing can be compromised during dating - rejection sucks at the best of times, and when you're a sensitive person and perhaps prone to self-doubt, low self-esteem / self worth, it can affect that. Just be mindful of that, but I don't think you should let it limit you. Just keep with all the good work you've been doing and keep an eye on your depression. Mine sometimes rears it's ugly head when I'm low about some date gone wrong etc - but I think it's somewhat easier to deal with than normal depression as you have a pinpointed cause for your upset and can deal with it quicker.


Online dating has it's ups and downs - I go through patches of no interest and then spurts of huge interest. Overall it's not helped me secure a relationship but helped me gain some valuable dating skills and insight.


I say keep at the dating, don't give up!



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The best insurance against the onslaught of depression is having your life full of things you enjoy doing and people you enjoy being with.


I've heard this a lot and realized how true it is. The thing about clinical depression though is that you can feel down even when you've got a lot of good stuff going on. I've been forcing myself to stick with the activities I've found and to keep trying new things, but a lot of the time I just feel numb. I'm hoping that things will get better the longer I stick with them, but I've got a sinking feeling that the depression will always be there. I just realized that dating probably won't change that feeling so I guess it's a separate issue.


Just keep with all the good work you've been doing and keep an eye on your depression.


It's good to hear from somebody who knows where I'm coming from. I guess perseverance is key here. When I'm feeling down I get impatient with my life's progress and that's when my mind goes to bad places. This also happens when I'm trying to fall asleep, as hinted at in your signature. Maybe I'm just seeing dating as a black and white issue. I feel like I either need to put a lot of effort into pursuing a relationship or become comfortable with the notion of being single my entire life. Perhaps I should choose to pursue it when I feel like I can handle it and not when I'm really looking for support.


Are you seeing a therapist? Are you on medication? Are you exercising?


Yes to all three. These are without a doubt the things that have helped me to pull myself together again. If there's anybody else out there with depression who can't figure out what to do, start here!

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