The Girl Who Taught You Kindness - Dating with Depression
Hello again beautiful world. My apologies for the hiatus, I was dating!
What? So soon? For so long? And no updates?!
Yes, yes I'm sorry. It just all got a little intense for awhile. Dating with depression (and the anxiety that comes with that) is hard! Even dating normally is difficult in this day and age and I applaud each and every brave soul that puts themselves out there searching for a lover to connect with.
So dating with depression, what's that like? Terrifying. I mean more than the usual dating experience. Anyone who has suffered from depression or social anxiety knows full well of the sudden ups and downs that can occur at a moments notice. Something someone says out of passing can send you into the spiral of "What did they mean by that? Are they judging me? What if they didn't like what I just said?" and suddenly you are falling so far down the rabbit hole it's difficult to climb out long enough to be present in the conversation. AH!
Now firstly, I want to say that a lot of people have commented that I just need more "self-confidence" and that's the root of these spirals, not anxiety. That I should realize that it is just my own harsh criticism that puts me into these crashes. False, false, false. I am a confident lady. I am fully aware of my intelligence, my sex appeal and my overall awesomeness but, in situations (like dating) where there is time and emotional pressure, things get shaky.
So think about this, you meet someone (I've mostly been meeting people online because who on earth has time or energy to go to a bar anymore??); you're chatting via messaging, great! No pressure, answer when you want, think out your answers, swell! Then you decide, hey this person is pretty rad, let's meet in real life, great! The plans are made, the day comes, oh wait.. no no no... I take it back!!! Dates mean small talk, they mean that within a few minutes of meeting someone you have to be beautiful and interesting and mysterious and not awkward at ALL. I know within the first few minutes of a date how long it's going to last. Anywhere from, "I-HAVE-MADE-A-HORRIBLE-MISTAKE!!!" Like when I accidentally went on a date with a man in love with Stephen Harper or the guy that turned out to be a butcher... yeah... All the way to "Why aren't we making out yet... wow you're beautiful.... okay we should probably be making out now... I see your mouth moving but it should move a little closer to me. Okay? Great, thanks." ;)
Any who, so you have what, maybe an hour, to express the entire complexity of you as a person to someone else? And if you happen to actually like the person, this can become extremely stressful. What do you say/not say? What topics are alright to talk about? How much personal information do you divulge vs. asking them questions?
Personally, I've gotten to the point where I don't care. I say what I want to say and ask what I feel like asking. It's blunt and forward and usually scares people away faster then I can blink BUT that is who I am and I'm tired of all these little games of "what is acceptable."
For me, the trouble comes with date two or three or four! As stated before I am confident, sassy, blunt and may I say quite sexy ;) (jokes). But seriously, I consider myself a positive and fun person, on the right days. But my past is speckled and anxiety easily triggered. I have to make sure I drink the right amount of water, exercise, meditate and eat properly everyday to maintain my happiness. If for some reason I can't, things dip and say they dip on a date day? I can do my best to set that train back on track but it's a lot of energy to put out on top of learning a new human being.
I recently found this happening and I knew how the situation was going to end unless I could reel that side of myself in. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to and things dwindled. No fault of either party and I'm still a strong believer in "everything happens for a reason." The frustration comes with not feeling like those moments were fulfilled. It feels like only half the time the person sees who I really am and the other half I'm putting all my time into fighting to show them this beautiful light that I know lives inside of me. But with dating people judge very quickly and rightfully so. Most of us, including myself, don't want to waste time on someone we aren't seeing a future with.
But I've still yet to meet a person that's willing look past those times of downward spiral or understand them. Those silences as I live in my own overwhelming head, or withdrawals in moments of anxiety. So I try to be open with my emotions. Maybe too open. I usually say somewhere right off the bat that I suffer from anxiety and depression, that I get quiet because my brain is having a little freak out but, no matter what I LOVE my life. I am passionate and creative and want to explore this big crazy world. I do not allow my disorders to rule me or create confines to live in.
Sadly, when you only have a few brief meetings with someone, it doesn't matter how well you can act or how deeply they understand such struggles. Sometimes the anxiety side of me wins and that's all they get to see.
So, how does one date with depression? My little tips and tricks are:
- One day at a time. Really one moment at a time if you need it. Staying present and positive is so vital to keeping that smile going.
- Communicate. If you really like someone COMMUNICATE WITH THEM. It's adolescent to play games of any sort. Playing games is merely withholding information that could make or break any type of relationship, romantic or otherwise. There is nothing wrong with telling someone you are having a rough day or need some time for yourself to just reset. If you stop talking though this can lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings of where you are and why you're acting certain ways.
- Remind yourself of who you are EVERY DAY. Do no lose yourself in the other. Remember why you are a catch, remember what you are looking for and reconfirm that in those moments of slipping.
- Accept that this is who you are and there is nothing wrong with that. If you beat yourself up every time that'll only add to the anxiety. Being sad is okay, it's how you deal with it that matters.
Depression is incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking, but it does not need to keep you from leading a happy life. You can live with it, not in fear of it. The right partner will be open and supportive of everything that is you. Kissing frogs and finding fish and all those cliches.
To anyone out there dating though, as a general rule; if you find someone you click with, give them a solid chance. There are so many people that you will not connect with so when you find one, they are worth the vulnerability in this big bad world of craziness.
So my challenge for you this time kids; be honest with someone you care about this week. Be vulnerable. There is so much bravery in that. <3
- The Girl Who Taught You Kindness.