Should I date/continue to date someone while trying to deal with my depression?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I have been dating a smart, funny and gorgeous woman who I met online for 2 months now, and with regards to the relationship, it is impossible to see how things could be going any better for the stage at which we're at. I'll just leave it at that. Also, let's call her A.
I've been depressed I think for a few years, since I moved from my home, and then I moved again 1 year ago. In addition to the uprooting away from family and friends, a few bad relationships and choices I've made exacerbated the situation. Sometimes it's not so bad, sometimes I struggle to get up in the morning and I find myself on the verge of tears when sitting at my desk at work. It affects my work, but doesn't affect my friends here simply because I don't see them very often. My family doesn't know how bad it is; I don't tell my parents because they are getting old, and worry too much for little things, much less this. My siblings attribute it to me being sad from time to time.
Recently, A and I spent a night and most of the next day together, and towards the end of this time, I had a couple hours of feeling very depressed and I couldn't hide it from her. And to be honest, I've started to really care for her and think she feels the same, so I wanted to be honest with her and let her know that this is an ongoing issue I've had. This was difficult, because I felt embarrassed, guilty, and very insecure when my depression hit. I also felt she might think that the confident, happy me that she interacted with for the previous couple months was a lie, and while I was always being myself, in my really bad moments sometimes even I think that of myself.
I tried to be as clear as possible that I do not see her as a solution to my depression,I know it is my problem that I need to take care of myself, and that our relationship so far has been pretty healthy, and I want to keep it that way. She acknowledged that this was a good thing.
Her reaction to my admitting of how depressed I get sometimes was very caring and encouraging. She shared that she had a friend who committed suicide because of depression, and encouraged me to seek out help, and even offered to go with me to see a doctor. She also said that she knows other people who suffer from depression and who got help and are able to have more functional lives. She was very supportive, and I don't think I could've asked for more.
But. This isn't what she signed up for, dealing with me. The last couple of days have been tremendously difficult and I don't know why. Since we spoke about it, we've just exchanged a couple of lighthearted texts, we haven't talked on the phone, although we probably will tonight, to tie up arrangements for tomorrow night. I have also been very careful from the very beginning not to attempt to use her as a crutch in dealing with my issues, because like I said, it's not her problem, and that's not healthy.
I haven't gone to see a doctor as yet; I don't know why. I guess I just feel there are genuinely sick people that need their attention. I also don't think anyone else can help me but myself; it's something I need to sort out in my head.
I've read most of Feeling Good, by David Burns, the CBT book, and it genuinely did make me feel a whole lot better. But after a while it started to wear off, then I was afraid to go back to it because I was afraid it wouldn't make me feel better again. I guess I haven't been doing the the exercises. Usually I am a very rational person, and CBT seems like it should be easy for me, but... it's not.
My question is, should I end things, at least until I have a handle on my depression? I realize this is probably a bad idea, as it takes the decision away from her, and she should really be the one to decide if she can handle it. But I don't want her to grow to resent me. Ending things would be very painful to me, because I really like her a lot.
Or should I give her the opportunity to end things? Or have I done this already and she chose to stay?
What else should I do? I want to feel better. I don't want to lose her.