More than 18 million people suffer from depression in the United States. Worldwide, about 121 million people are affected. It's one of the leading causes of disability in various parts of the world. Depression can also lead to suicide and claims about 850,000 lives each year.
The World Health Organization defines depression as a "common mental disorder characterized by low energy, depressed mood, loss of interest and pleasure, feelings of guilt, disturbed sleep, low appetite and inability to focus." These symptoms can impair a person’s ability to take on daily responsibilities, thus affecting a person’s career and personal life.
Even dating can be a challenge for someone who suffers from this mental illness. But the good news is, depressed people can have a better chance of finding the one with these simple but practical tips.
Get Professional Help
For someone who’s depressed, the dating game can worsen some of the challenges that you’re already facing like fatigue, low libido and low self-esteem. The best way to stay on top of everything is to seek professional treatment. Getting help from a therapist will equip you with better awareness of your mental problem.
The combination of therapy and medication is often successful for depressed people who want to go back to the dating scene. According to Mental Health America, about 80 percent of people who seek professional treatment vouch for the relief of symptoms that can be linked to dating.
Choose the Right Time to Date
As they say, finding love is all about perfect timing. Before you can go out on a date, you need to take good care of yourself first. Seeking professional treatment is the first step. After that, you have to help yourself. Be religious in taking your medication and attending therapy, surround yourself with positive people and consistently engage in positive self-talk. Then, when things get better for you, you can choose the right timing to go out there. Don’t force yourself if it doesn’t feel right.
Don’t Talk About It on the First Date
It’s never a good idea to talk about your illness on the first date. And it’s not only because you don’t want to drive the person away or scare him off with your problem. It’s more about letting the person see and get to know who you are without having depression taint the first impression. If you bring up that topic right away, your date will already have a biased impression of you, as if everything you’re doing is due to your mental ailment. It’s not a recipe for dating success.
If you see that things are getting serious between the two of you, that’s the time that you should open up about it. For example, if you two have decided to date each other exclusively, or you have admitted affection, then you should tell him about it. You would also know if the timing is right for you to talk about it.
Know the Right Way to Talk About It
If you have decided that now is the time to discuss your condition with your partner, tell him first how important he is for you. After that, go on to tell the person that for a time you have struggled with a common condition and that you have been diagnosed with depression. That’s easier to take in than if you just blurt out, “I am clinically depressed.” Assure the person that you’re taking care of yourself with treatment and that you care about your relationship as well.
Deal with Low Libido
The condition as well as the medications used in treating it can drive your libido down. Be sure to talk to your doctor right away if this is a problem for you. Ask for alternatives that won’t take a toll on your sex drive. If you don’t feel like having sex, remember that there are other ways to show your affection like through kissing, cuddling, sweet talks or giving gifts.
Learn from Past Dating Mistakes
Sure enough, you've dated in the past, and if you know better, you won't repeat any of the dating mistakes you’ve made. Look at your past relationships and determine if there is a pattern where things might have gone wrong. If there is, talk to your therapist about this so he can help you avoid those scenarios and do better this time.
Consider Online Dating
If traditional dating isn’t for you, why not try to go online? Online dating has become a worldwide hit ever since it was introduced. Nowadays, millions of people rely on the internet to find prospective partners. Remember though that it takes time, skill and patience to achieve success in this type of dating arena. It would also be smart to consider dating sites specifically geared for those with mental conditions like depression.
If you are finally able to find the right person for you, depression shouldn’t be a hindrance to cultivating a lasting relationship.