Living with depression: Do I deserve love?

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Answered by: Lucy, An Expert in the Living with Depression Category
Living with depression can be tough. I think most people are aware of this nowadays, even if they don’t have any first hand experiences of it. Dating with depression can seem like a minefield, often completely out of the question for people coping with the illness.

     I’ll be honest, when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety I felt like that was the end of my love life. The diagnosis wasn’t a shock, I had been unwell for a long time and unfortunately it was only after a hospital stay that I sought the help I needed. Just before that point, I was seeing someone quite casually, and when I told him what had been happening to me he ghosted me.



     Again, I wasn’t shocked by this, I’d expected it actually, but it completely reinforced the idea that me that depressed meant unlovable, that no one wants to have fun with someone who is struggling. My self worth wasn’t very high at that point, and I believed he had done the right thing.

     Of course he doesn’t want to see me again, why would he when he knows I struggle to get out of bed most mornings and will now be medicated to feel like a normal person?



     It was a very bad way of thinking. For one thing, I am a normal person. Everyone is. We all have different experiences in life but having an illness doesn’t make anyone somehow lesser. I wish more people would realise this before they judge people.

I shouldn’t have cared about what he thought anyway. The only thing I should have been focused on at that point was myself, my recovery, and looking after myself. A few weeks after all of this, I met someone. I had technically met him before, he was a regular customer at a supermarket I used to work in. We matched on Tinder, and a few days later had our first date.

     I remember feeling sick with nerves before that date. I had never really had a proper first date before, all of my romantic interests prior to this point had been focused on a friends with benefits type situation. I made a resolution not to give too much away. I was convinced I would scare him off and would be single forever.

     Then we met, and he completely changed the way I felt about my illness. It wasn’t that he made me better, this is not a story where I can say I’m fine now. That is absolutely not the case.

He was so open, so patient and understanding. I ended up telling him early on about my recent hospital stay, and that I was now prescribed anti-depressants. It didn’t phase him at all, in fact, he confided in me about his own inner demons and hardships in the past.

     I had decided that I wasn’t going to tell him anything about my diagnosis, and I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to. Especially with casual dating, I would say you absolutely do not need to disclose that information with the person. However if you grow to have a connection with that person, I think it would be a shame not to have the emotional support they could provide, even just by being someone who listens to you. I cannot express enough how therapeutic it can feel just having someone listen to you.

     Seven months on, we are still going strong. I am still on Sertraline, I still struggle. Some days, I still find it hard to wake up and face things. Some days, I get so down that I need to hide from the world. Yet I know he’s there. He understands. He doesn’t expect me to be happy 24/7, I don’t think that’s possible for anyone anyway. He makes sure I’m okay and he holds me when I’m not. I don’t have to hide anything about myself when I’m with him. Even in my weakest moments, I never fear judgement from him.

     At the beginning of this year I believed I would never find happiness in a relationship, and here I am now, proof that you can be yourself and that you can have love when you are living with depression. There are so many people out there who are supportive, loving and understanding, and I know that with depression that can be hard to believe. The people who matter will love you for you you are, not what you are labelled with. We should never feel inadequate for asking for help, and we should never feel ashamed for speaking up when things are bad. Yet the most important thing I’ve learned this year, is that we should never apologise for being who we are.

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