Dating & Marriage, How is it Possible When Depressed?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Principessa, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    In the past year or so there have been numerous threads relating to depression, anxiety, and mental illness in general. Sometimes people discuss the effect their illness has had on marriages and dating relationships.

    I have a few questions about this, as I am living with depression and anxiety myself.

    Frankly, I am amazed so many mentally ill people are married, let alone happily married. How do you do it? :confused: Did you meet them before you were diagnosed with depression or what ever your illness is? Were you in a manic phase while you were dating, so they just thought you were spontaneous and fun?

    Did you tell them right off the bat and they just didn't care?

    When do you reveal to a new guy/gal that you are being treated for depression and are taking meds & going to therapy?

    Do you just not tell them? Is that ethical?

    Is it ever right to not tell the person with whom you are having sex that you are being treated for depression?

    How does your significant other handle your manic or depressed episodes when they occur?

    How does one go about meeting the type of people who are intelligent enough to not be scared off by your diagnosis and strong enough to help you through the rough spots?
     
  2. TinyPrincess

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    Well, just having sex I don't see any reason to tell.

    When the relationship is getting serious, then you of course have to spill it - and all of it. Hey, take it as a test of how serious the guy is. If he's understanding and supporting, then he can perhaps help you on - and if not give him a kick or just use him for sex. ;-)
     
  3. UtahCock

    UtahCock New Member

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    I actually struggled with this for a long time. I am bipolar. I was also always used to being the "strong" one in any relationship. So I felt like no one would want to marry me if they knew how messed up I really was.

    It took a few years in therapy and relationships (both friendship and romantic) for me to realize that absolutely people would want to marry me and be damn lucky to have me.

    I think it starts with having good, honest, accepting friendships, then you can start working on really accepting yourself. All of yourself. Including your mental illness. Your mental illness does not define, but it is a part of you, there is no point in trying to wrestle it into submission, just as it is unhealthy to ignore it.

    Look, we all have problems, some people are diabetic, some people have allergies, maybe someone has a congenital heart problem. We all come with shit. This is yours. BUt you are still you and I am sure you are wonderful.

    Whoever you get involved with will love you for who you are, and if they are a grown up, mature person, will accept your mental illness, just like he/she would accept it if you had some other illness, and just like you would accept him/her.

    As for when to tell your partner . . . I think you just tell them when it comes up, when they need to know, or something like that. There is no reason to make it this big huge announcement. The bigger deal you make of it, the bigger of a deal it seems. Depression and anxiety disorders are conditions that are totally manageable and liveable. It's not like you're trying to tell your partner you have cancer.
     
  4. BF2K

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    NJ - as most of my buddies know I have been going through a real rough spot in my life - 2007 was Hell Year for me both in professional and personal terms. Most of my problems, however, were recent and physically induced. I do know, for the first time in my life, what real depression feels like and it's not fun. My buddies in LPSG, however cyber-based the "relationships" may be, have really helped me. I understand, however, that the joy I find bantering with my buddies in the chat room cannot be a way for me to avoid having the same fun (a bit less sexually oriented) with my real friends.

    As I look back on my LPSG history, coming in here was not good for my mental health. I was finding myself in conversations helping other people with their problems and ignoring my own - I think some people sapped my positive vibes like dry sponges in a glass of water.

    My wife and I still have our ups and downs but we talk about it a lot - still difficult to bridge the cultural (American/European) and sexual (male/female) gap at times.

    My advice to others would be to 1. seek help, especially when the source may be somatic (physical illness) as opposed to psychosomatic. 2. talk a lot with friends and family 3. use LPSG to find the rare "real" person that is willing to listen to things you can't talk about with others (but don't dwell on the shit) 4. find what makes you happy in life and move in that direction 5. avoid turning to alcohol, drugs, random sex to find a "short-fix" 6. find short- and medium-term goals that can drive you forward (finding a guy with a 12" dick or stretching your own is probably not realistic)

    Life can be wonderful or it can be fucking difficult - don't blame others because most probably don't give a hoot - it's your life make it happen baby!!! (enough drivel for today)
     
  5. Love-it

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    It seems to me that more people are aware of depression than ever before and because of that depression is more acceptable and better understood. There is also more knowledge and experience with and about therapies and medications.

    Honesty is always the best policy and if you find understanding on this issue you will have found someone with the capacity to care.
     
  6. Love-it

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    Sorry, double post.
     
  7. snoozan

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    It's better, but it's not nearly at the level it should be.

    Mental illness shouldn't define who you are.

    Mental illness is just another chronic disease. Seeing how someone does (or doesn't) deal with it says far more about one's character and ability to be a good partner in a relationship.[/quote]



    I'm not in the middle of a mood episode all the time, and even the small ones I can cope with, so really it's only when I'm very sick when it really becomes an issue. Not to say that it hasn't shaped my personality or made me make certain choices in my life, but for the most part I cope with day to day life and relationships pretty well. I just have to be a little more aware of what my mood is doing.



    One of the worst and best and most intense relationships I've ever had was when I was in the middle of my first major mood episode. That relationship still has very little closure and it still affects me a lot even 10 years later. It's not something I reccommend doing.

    I met my husband when I was relatively healthy. The thing is, my personality is influenced by being bipolar, but it doesn't dictate it. So when I'm doing well, I am a spontaneous and fun person, but it's me, not my illness. I've never had a "high" (euphoric) mania anyway. I know some of the hyper-ness in my personality is from dealing with being bipolar, but then again, I've always been hyper.




    I don't hide it, but if it doesn't come up in casual conversation, I don't mention it. With that said, somehow it always comes up eventually with friends. My husband knew my history because we'd known each other long before we started dating, and was undaunted by it. I don't think he knew the extent of it, but I tried to explain it as best I could before we got too involved. Ethical or not, I think someone you're involved with has to know what the deal is just so you both have some idea of whether you'll be able to deal with it as a couple or not. Even so, I think you have to be more careful with choosing partners because there are bound to be very hard times and they really strain relationships. My husband deserves a medal for what he's been through with me-- and I don't know if I could ever trust anyone as much as I do him for this reason.

    If it's just casual, who cares. If there's any potential for a long-term relationship of any kind, at some point you have to spill the beans. I've never lost a friend because I told them I was crazy. I have found out who my real friends are when I've gone crazy.

    Same way I do, any way he can. One day at a time. Making sure I talk to my docs and stay on my meds. He's a strong person. I love him for that.

    Luck? It's interesting to me that most of my friends have or have had psychiatric problems either with themselves of with their families. It's almost like I know how to pick out the other crazies. It's kinda like gaydar.
     
  8. B_ScaredLittleBoy

    B_ScaredLittleBoy New Member

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    One word:

    Compassion
     
  9. naughty

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    Workin' up a good pot of mad!
    PA,

    Read the book "Loving madly, Loving Sanely" It talks about just that issue. I found it very helpful. It discusses case studies of couples who had come to counselling because of the effect on the relationship of the mental health issues of one or both partners. It is definitely a great read.
     
  10. tripod

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    I have been prone to depressive bouts from time to time, but I wouldn't call myself depressed or mentally ill. I do refer to my sometimes erratic emotional stability as depression because I don't really want to get into labels and the ensuing imagery that it projects as well as the baggage that it brings along in casual conversation... I just don't have the energy nor the will.

    I don't believe that depression is a disease like diabetes or polio. I don't believe that drugs and therapy help very much at all. If someone tells me that they are on anti-depressives and see a therapist, I am out of there so fast, it ain't even funny. Depression exists in the brain, the brain is part of the bodies physicality, so most people and the medical community assume that the answer in treating it lays in the same medical practices one would use to treat other physical problems.

    Go and get some drugs and see a professional doctor. :eek:

    The drugs are dangerous and have MASSIVE side effects. The most of which, the medical community doesn't even know about or are suppressing the public knowledge of.

    I am well aware that a lot of folks in this world are not born perfect. Some have inherited genes that produce less serotonin or dopamine or have problems in metabolizing these substances... that is a fact, I am not disputing this. I just personally believe that the answer is in our thoughts.

    Everything starts with a thought, it is what we choose to think about that influences our brain physiology is my personal belief. I do not think that I am helpless to this disease... I am not a victim of depression, I am a victim of my own damn thoughts. It is my thoughts that lead to depressive states of consciousness.

    A depressed state of consciousness is just that, you are fucking almost unconscious with your body running amok doing what it thinks is right. Since most of my old daily thoughts used to be depressed ones... voila, I was depressed! We always have the ability to choose peace, it's just that most of us do not know how to think properly and allow our monkey mind to run the big show. Force yourself to think positively... you know... the ol' glass is half full, not half empty, they are both identical, but one viewer chooses peace and the other chooses disharmony.

    CHOOSE PEACE NOT DISHARMONY, LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF PROPERLY, DEPRESSION IS SIMPLY A STATE OF ZERO SELF LOVE. THE ANSWER IS IN YOUR INNER CHILD, GET IN TOUCH WITH IT.

    Don't get in touch with the inner child that was abused, mistreated, or neglected... get in touch with the one that loves to pet puppies and cats, the one that loves to play in the dirt, the one that is happy sitting there and just reading your favorite book or listening to your favorite song... in fact, seek refuge in truly meaningful music. Great music and literature is usually divinely created and are imbued with great power.

    Throw away the pills and fire your therapist if you really want to get better. Of course, if you are so far gone that you are a danger to yourself or others, then stay on the medication and keep the therapist. Just understand that the drugs are prolonging your depressive state and are just treating the physical symptoms of depression rather than the underlying wayward thought processes that got you into that state in the first place. The drugs are also sedating your mind a bit and creating a sort of fog that you will have to climb out of before you can gain more consciousness, which is what is needed to be more peaceful.

    Most therapists do nothing to encourage a new way of thinking and are usually looking for something that they cannot possibly find. It is like the drunk looking under the streetlight outside of the bar for his car keys. You walk up to him and ask, "Well, where did you lose them?" He replies, "In the bar." You then ask, "Well, why aren't you looking inside for your keys?" He just shrugs and says, "I dunno... the light is better out here."

    And just to reiterate my answer to your question.

    I will run screaming into the woods if a women tells me that she takes anti-depressants and or goes through therapy, because I know that she will be just as depressed and maybe even more so a year or two later.

    If a women confides in me that she gets depressed from time to time and has been working on her outlook and has sought refuge in God or the Universe, then I am all ears with a smile on my face, because I know that she is on th road to wellness. :smile:
     
  11. snoozan

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    Science has pretty much proven that you're wrong, at least for disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression. Look at people with schizophenia and how they lived before antipsychotics versus now. Look at people who are bipolar and how they live now compared to how they lived before the advent of lithium. Medication may not be the answer for you, but don't try to say that the millions of people who truly are helped by it need to do something else or aren't living right or whatever you think is the answer for everything.

    It makes me sad that there are still misguided people out there like you. It's why so many people refuse to seek treatment and why people with mental illness try to hide it away because they think it's somehow their fault.

    I would love for you to spend a few days in my head when I'm manic and then tell me I shouldn't take the drugs that enable me to work, have a family, function in society, and live a relatively happy life. Drugs don't fix anything, they give me the ability to choose to live in such a way that I can make healthy choices for myself and live well.

    You said you're emotionally unstable, maybe you're just scared. A lot of people are, especially men. It is very difficult for men to seek treatment and want to fix it all themselves.
     
  12. tripod

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    Well, I don't understand how people cannot control their own mind with some serious effort. To call someone who can control their own mind without the aid of therapists and dangerous drugs misguided is most likely incorrect... but you are free to call me whatever you want.

    Your reply is talking about bi-polar disorders and schizophrenia...

    My post was about simple "depression"... if you can't function without drugs, you are not depressed, you have something much more serious... You said it yourself, you get manic, which means that you are most likely bi-polar and then NOTHING I SAID APPLIES TO YOU! lol!!!

    An extremely intelligent person like yourself knows whether or not she can get off of the meds. I wasn't implying that you should throw your drugs away... I said if you aren't a danger to yourself or anyone else you should throw your drugs down the toilet. Your family is a entity unto itself, if going off of the meds can put the health of your family unit in jeopardy, then that qualifies as being a danger to others.

    For someone who is soooo fucking logical and rational to come out and say that they need drugs to function boggles me... I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Forgive me for being so obtuse and rigid, I have fascist tendencies! lol!!!!
     
  13. psidom

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    How do you do it? LOVE and patience,an open mind,dedication.

    Did you meet them before you were diagnosed with depression or what ever your illness is? she was diagnosed after we met,i made her go,actually my mom.

    Were you in a manic phase while you were dating, so they just thought you were spontaneous and fun? she was just quiet...i was used to loud obnoxious,so i was intrigued.

    Did you tell them right off the bat and they just didn't care? never knew.

    When do you reveal to a new guy/gal that you are being treated for depression and are taking meds & going to therapy? 2nd date...

    Do you just not tell them? Is that ethical? tell them if they do not understand...i think there is more that they wouldn't understand.

    Is it ever right to not tell the person with whom you are having sex that you are being treated for depression? i see no reason to not tell them.

    How does your significant other handle your manic or depressed episodes when they occur? i usually tickle her...it will be awkward,but it makes
    endorphins rush which neutralizes her for a minute or 2.


    How does one go about meeting the type of people who are intelligent enough to not be scared off by your diagnosis and strong enough to help you through the rough spots? we are a rare breed,try hanging out in the psychology classes.
     
  14. exwhyzee

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    NJQT: I just have a few vague thoughts. Does one actually ever cure one's self of depression, or does one just learn a new way of dealing with challenges that provide tools to cope with depression? If one actually learns to cope with depressive thoughts, then maybe finding a person can be part of the cure. Maybe, through dating, you can take an opportunity to act differently, take different stances or viewpoints as part of a learning process to react differently to your environment. Thats how I have dealt with times when I am "down." I don't know if I have ever technically been depressed or not...but I do withdraw and can be my own worst critic. Several times, finding that new person gives me a new focus in my life and can give direction where I didn't previously have it. 99% of the time, I've not been looking for the person who ends up meaning a lot to me, but they find me.

    Again, its just my way of dealing with things. You obviously have a lot to offer your partner - just remember that you likely bring more to the table than you might take away.
     
  15. snoozan

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    Then let me rephrase. There are many people who are medicated who shouldn't be, I don't doubt that. Mild to moderate depression can be well controlled with exercise, diet, good mental hygeine, etc. Everyone has a tendency to get clinically depressed (which is different than what we colloquially call depression). Most people can and should work their way out of it with non-pharmaceutical methods.

    With that said, if you're so depressed that just getting out of bed in the morning is impossible, you need medication. I know if you've never experienced that kind of crippling severe depression, it's really hard to conceptualize it. I can't explain to you or anyone who hasn't experienced it what it's like to be so depressed that the effort it takes to brush your teeth makes you sob uncontrollably. I can't explain what it's like to have your brain taken hostage by evil, dark, unrelenting thoughts that won't let you up for even a second. That's severe depression, and it's such an altered state of mind that even I can't really remember it well when it's over. When you're at that point, using coping skills simply doesn't work and medication becomes necessary.

    Even so, if medication helps someone who isn't prone to servere depression function, I'm all for it. There's a misconception that antidepressants are happy pills. They aren't. For people with mild to moderate depression, all they do is give you a little bit of a breathing room to deal with the things in your life and make positive changes toward mental health.

    Okay, point taken. Yes, I'm bipolar and I do very well on my medication. Good mental hygeine is very important to me. I exercise, have a good support system, work on changing the way I think, etc. That stuff alone works for most people. But if you have a severe mood disorder, most likely you need to be medicated.

    Thank you. I apologize for my knee jerk reaction-- I get so frustrated about misunderstanding mental illness because it is so close to me. I'm not a danger to anyone (and never really have been), but the hell I've experienced when I've been off medication is enough for me to know it's probably best that I stay on it.

    Yes, that's the choice I've made.

    It should boggle your mind-- it boggles the hell out of mine. I don't understand why my brain decides to go haywire. It's amazing to me how my entire thought process and brain can change within days to something that makes no sense to me. Even at my sickest, there's always been the very rational, collected part of my mind that thinks, "what the fuck is going on here? this isn't me." I really don't understand it.
     
  16. MTHgasm

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    I wouldn't worry about it but if you do decide to tell someone talk to someone who knows you're unaffected personality first.
     
  17. Principessa

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    njqt466 deftly sidesteps the Snoozan/Tripod fight in the main ring.

    I should give a bit more info than I did in my original post.

    I dated a man for 10 years. We broke up and were apart for four year then got back together for two years. During the 4 year break is when I had my first major depressive episode (nervous breakdown). No, it was not because I was upset about our break-up. He noticed me taking my anti-depressant medication and I told it was for depression. He then made a rather flippant remark about always having known I was crazy. Rarely did a week go by wihout him alluding to the fact he was afraid I would go crazy and stab him in his sleep, or he would tease that he was afraid he would wake up to find me putting a pillow over his face. Before y'all start in on him being a moron he was a doctor! Well, a dentist, DMD. So in theory he should have been able to comprehend the basics of depression.

    It is because of his reactions to my revealing my depression that I still feel hesitant in revealing it to a man for whom I have feelings. Oddly, I have no problem discussing my depression with my friends and complete strangers online.:redface:

    Fast forward to April of 2006, I have once again been without sex for four years. :frown1: and I meet a charming man online. We IM , email, talk on the phone and he tells me he wants us to be exclusive. I said, "no" because I knew I was on the brink of another depressive episode. We ended up having an exclusive fuckbuddy relationship. I didn't tell him that, I suffered from depression until right before we broke up. When I did tell him he was like, "that's why you didn't want to date me?":eek: "That's stupid!" "My ex-wife was bipolar and rarely took her meds. That's why we got divorced; but you are nothing like her." "You go to therapy and take your meds as directed."

    This guy was a doctor too, not sure why I keep attracting men in the medical profession. :confused: Not that, that's a bad thing. :cool:Anywho, he and I still keep in touch via e-mail and IM.

    These two experiences have left me not unsure of if I can handle a serious relationship; but unsure the other person can live with dating a chronically depressed person.
     
  18. whatireallywant

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    Hmmm... this sounds like me. I also seem to gravitate toward people with physical disabilities (although I don't have them myself) as well.

    I personally choose not to take medication, mainly because my depression is triggered by specific events (the latest episode by being fired from a job) and the best way to combat that is to fix what triggered it. In other words, getting a better job and being able to keep that job. Also, I have found that anti-depressants have side effects in me that are worse than the depression itself. (I sleep literally 20 hours a day, and cannot function to be employed or have a social life or anything! I can't live like that!) Plus, my depression (when I have it, which is not always) is more mild. I do have social anxiety which is more severe, which also was triggered by specific events. Again, the medication has side effects in me that are worse than the problem. So I just stretch myself further and reach outside my comfort zone, and hopefully things go ok and I don't feel as uncomfortable. I still have trouble at parties or where there are crowds of people talking - I don't like having to raise my voice for the person I'm talking to to hear me (I have throat problems and it literally HURTS if I raise my voice! I have to get something to drink in order to soothe the tickle/scratch in my throat.) I also have trouble starting conversations a lot of times, because I often simply don't know what to say.

    I have no problem with other people taking medications for depression, etc. if they feel they need it, though.
     
  19. MTHgasm

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    i take the medicine because i physically and emotionally feel like shit all of the time if i don't. Like i felt before i started taking it. My disease is always there and the only side effects that i have is that i'm tired and sometimes i have a hard time falling asleep. The medicine isn't a quick fix-happy pill but i'm a much more efficient and happier individual when i do take the medicine and that's pretty much how explain my depression to people usually sugar coating it a little more and they really don't think it's an issue though usually i'm closer to more intelligent people. However, i do get the feeling some people think i'm crazy and some people just don't get it that i'm not just depressed about one think..hung up about one thing...it was in my nature to find something to be depressed all of the time. I think of it as...take the medicine...don't be an asshole simple as that.
     
  20. SpeedoMike

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    I particularly want to enforce Snoozan's remarks by saying her experiences are quite similar to mine.

    What needs to be said is that, simply speaking, there are two major types of depression: situational and clinical.

    Clinical depression is a medical condition requiring medical treatment. Without determining and correcting the cause, the symptoms continue. Medication is one possibility for treatment.

    Situational depression relates to situations which occur in a person's life. These can be relationships, loss of a loved one, an accident, issues at work, etc. These do not usually respond to medication, but therapy may be useful along with self initiated lifestyle/behavior modification.

    Receiving medical treatment for my depression is no different than medical treatment for my diabetes. Neither goes away by willing it away.
     
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