People stupidly think that having depression means they lack strength of character when, in fact it's no more your fault for having depression than having a freakin cold! Depression doesn’t define who you are, it’s a health condition (like high blood cholesterol, for example) and it doesn’t make you any less worthy and interesting than the next guy or girl...
‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’ First and foremost, Gemma says you have to look after yourself. Using the analogy of oxygen masks on a plane — and how you have to put your own on first, before helpings other — she says that in relationships we can take on responsibility for the other person’s happiness but actually “no one can make you happy, except you.”
It's Not Just You
It may give you some sense of relief that you're not alone, according to Beyond Blue
One quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition equivalent to 4.96 million people today. 6.2% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder in the last 12 months. This is equivalent to 1.16 million people today.
Ditch the Stupid Dating Apps
Studies have shown...
About 1,300 (mostly) college-age students were asked about their Tinder use, body image and self-esteem. The study found that men and women who use the app appear to have lower self-esteem than those who don't. In general, Tinder users reported less satisfaction with their bodies and looks than non-users, study author Jessica Strübel wrote.
As a result of how the app works and what it requires of its users, people who are on Tinder after a while may begin to feel depersonalised and disposable in their social interactions, develop heightened awareness (and criticism) of their looks and bodies and believe that there is always something better around the corner, or rather with the next swipe of their screen, even while questioning their own worth, Strübel wrote.
Be Mates First
Let's face it, all healthy relationships rest on the foundation of friendship, so being mates first will take the pressure off the whole dating malarkey. Plus you won't over think it if things don’t take off romantically and if you're still interested in hanging out, they could have super hot friends!! (joke)
Give Yourself Permission To Have Fun
Often when you mentally feel like shit, you don't allow yourself to enjoy the moment when around others. No one is telling you that you have to “play the mopey sad sack of shit” but let yourself chill, play, have fun and have a laugh. Don’t feel guilty about the black dog FFS.
When you're on the date, try and get out of your head (not getting smashed or high AF) rather, don't get immersed in your own dark thoughts that could potentially make you spiral. Be present, and focus on getting to know your date by asking questions and finding out mutual things you both dig. It's a good mental distraction.
Be Open About The Black Dog
It's healthy to take action to make new connections, but the question is how much of your darkness do you reveal, and when? Too soon and you might scare them off. Too late and it feels like you’re hiding something, plus how will this person react to this news?
You might feel compelled to tell your date about your depression ASAP. However, that conversation is not exactly first date material. You gotta keep it light and breezy, don’t let the black dog take center stage. It's not being deceptive, but save some details until you know the person is worthy of being invited into your world. Not everyone will appreciate your openness, but those worthy of your time will.
Don't Date Em Coz You Think "SEXY BOOM BOOM" Will Fix It
That won't solve any of your problems, we've all seen American Beauty!! You could say (and not always) that people with depression choose someone they feel won’t reject them because they’re in a dark headspace, and that’s not necessarily someone they would have chosen to be with otherwise. IE "the town bike".
Ultimately depression isn’t something that can be fixed externally, even in the short-term. You and only you have to make the decision to go see a doctor or go see a psychologist. You can’t hope that a new relationship or a quick f%&* will make it all go away.
But If You Do... Your Sex Drive Will Suck
Jus sayin...Its only temporary so don't stress!! You may be attracted to your new flame but not feel like having sex, and this doesn’t mean that you and your new partner are sexually incompatible. Instead, it just means that your depression is hijacking your sex drive. Before you dump their ass because you reckon you're a wet fish. See how your sexual chemistry goes when your depression fades or when you’re further along in your journey of trying to get on top of the black dog.
Look Good - Feel Good
When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can be a challenge. You may lack any motivation to put on some nice clothes or even have a shower. To be honest, going on a date is the last thing you’ll probably want to do. But push on homie, you may have low energy levels and little to no will power but you’ll be surprised at how looking your best can positively impact your mood.
This does have an exception the rule though. If you're in a really bad slump we don’t recommend going on a date, you gotta focus all of your energy on getting better. Once you feel more like your usual self, then you can push yourself to get ya fine self out there. Do what feels right ok!
Exercise also helps but is by no means a cure. It's another way of feeling good so do a few reps before the occasion or go for a quick run.
Research suggests that regular exercise may increase the level of brain serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood, sleep, libido, appetite and other functions. Problems in the serotonin pathways of the brain have been linked to depression. Exercise can also increase the level of endorphins in the brain which have ‘mood-lifting’ properties.
Get Some Help and Find Your Own Support System
It’s difficult to ask for help because you may feel its a weakness or you're inferior. But It’s perfectly normal to ask for help. Those around you (IE your mates) can see your distress and your pain, no matter how hard you try and mask it. Allow them to love you by helping in anyway they know how.
A conversation can make a difference in helping someone feel less alone and more supported in recovering from anxiety and depression. Don’t underestimate the importance of just ‘being there’.
Dating with depression is realistic. It might seem scary AF but that’s also what makes it so exciting. Stay optimistic, be kind to yourself, We cant stress this enough. So much so we're going to say it in caps BE KIND TO YOUR SELF!! Be prepared for a few hiccups (shit happens). You'll be sound as a pound and if you ever feel defeated, come back and reread this blog post. Just knowing you’re not alone and that other people have the same challenges can make a world of difference.