Life Chat: Dating with Depression
"How do you know you're depressed?"
"Girl, you ain't depressed, sit down somewhere!"
"Don't turn into one of those suicidal white girls."
These are the things I heard daily when I first realized that I suffered from depression at the age of 16.
It began after my mother died. Everyday I found it hard to focus in school, the burden of life was so heavy that I stopped eating, stopped caring about my appearance, and I lost my will to live, at the age of 18, I tried to take my own life, but God had other plans because my Nana (God rest her soul) called me before I got in the tub.
I had to continue to get up and try to face the day because I had to, but deep down inside I was battling a war of trying to decipher my emotions and put on a brave face for the world.
My battle with depression is an everyday fight, so when love came into my life, I was terrified.
I know when you see my pics or even if you see me in person, I'm smiling, I'm happy, I'm positive, energetic, and most times that's genuine, but there are the times when I use it as a front.
I never told my current boyfriend about my depression. I really liked him and I didn't want to turn him off with talk about the grey areas of my life, but I couldn't hide it anymore, so I told him.
He had no clue about depression, so when I told him I was prepared to say Bon Voyage to my future baby daddy. He never budged, he tried to understand, and I'm teaching him and myself about depression.
Our relationship, like many relationships, has it's ups and downs, but with depression, those ups and downs feel tens times bigger.
There are my down days when I don't communicate, my mood is very somber and sad. My stress level is higher than normal and I become extra distracted.
I cry, a lot.
It's an emotional roller coaster and luckily, this time, I'm not on this ride alone.
The good days are filled with laughter, smiles, focus, drive.
So I have a few tips to share about dating with depression.
Be honest. This person may not have a clue about depression, so don't hide it. Address it and then make a decisions on where your relationship is going.
Communicate. One of the burdens of having depression is that you feel as if you have no one to talk to and you're all alone. Talk to your significant other, tell him or her how you feel on the bad days and tell them how happy you are on the good days, that's what this person should be there for.
Be patient. This person may not have a clue of what depression is or you may be stressed because you feel like this person doesn't understand or want to be there for you. Be patient enough to allow this person try to learn and be there for you, and they should be patient enough to know that it will get there and to be strong enough to get through it with you.
Have faith. The bad times won't last always. Both of you should have faith that the better times will be often and the God (or whomever you believe) will carry you through and make your relationship stronger.
Remember, love conquers all. This person is there for a reason, and you're with this person for a reason. People with depression can give love and is capable of being loved, I'm living proof.