By Catline Jacques, MD
Dating is challenging for everyone. But when you suffer with depression, dating can feel scary and overwhelming. Not only do you feel particularly raw and vulnerable to possible rejection, but should a connection be made, you have the added burden of figuring out how and when to tell the person about your depression.
Should people with depression date? If the person feels emotionally strong enough, then yes of course they should date. The real question is HOW should they date? If you are suffering with depression and are interested in dating, here are some things to consider when meeting new potential partners:
Take Things Slow
There is no need to open up to someone on a first date and let them know that you suffer from depression. You’ll want to invest a little bit of time to see if this person is someone you think you could get serious with.
If after a few dates you think he or she could be someone you’d like to go deeper with, then feel free to test the waters on the topic of depression. Don’t feel you have to get into nitty-gritty details; simply tell them that you live with depression and see how they react.
Your potential partner may have follow-up questions immediately or they may think about things for a while and then bring up some questions later. Whenever they do, be honest with your answers.
It will be tempting to want to downplay things in order to put your best self forward. But not being honest about your symptoms and reality will backfire eventually. Let them know you have good days and bad and if you are currently taking medications and/or seeing a psychiatrist. Answer as many questions as you feel comfortable with, but when you do, just be sure to be honest and not pretend you are someone you’re not.
Learn from Your Past
Everyone has dating pitfalls and patterns, and people with depression are no different. It’s important that you respect past dating failures so you can prevent them from happening again. For instance, did you tend to date people who made you feel bad about yourself? If you find you’re doing it again, call things off and take some time to regroup.
Seeking the help from a psychiatrist can help you work out any issues you have that are hindering your relationships. If you notice you keep repeating past mistakes, try and talk with someone who can help you navigate your own behavior.
If you or a loved one suffers from depression and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.
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