How to have relationships while living with depression?

Posted by marjou @marjou, Jun 21, 2020

Need some help in coping or pointers in how to best handle relationships whether family,dating, friends. Because my depression is the constant factor every day, I isolate in a way as to not subject others to my depressive state which I have to live with but they do not. Feel it's not fair to them or they just avoid me. When to tell or not to tell someone especially if trying to date?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

@elwooodsdad

My reaction to this pandemic is more malaise than what I have come to know as depression, which generally presents in me as sadness and feelings of low self esteem. Dysthymia is my baseline, so depression at some level is a constant. I am 72, so I am in a high risk group for Covid-19, so my wife and I have materially sheltered in place for our benefit and for those we may come in contact. The last week or more has generated more than normal anxiety. We live in Tulsa, OK, and the unknowns surrounding the visit of Donald Trump were significant for the entire community. Thankfully, he came without incident, and the responses of both factions were largely peaceful. I am leaning into my feelings, allowing them to just be, and practicing some intentional breathing exercises for relaxation. This pandemic appears to be a long term problem, and the numbers in my state are increasing at a disturbing rate, due in large part to the populace choosing to not respond appropriately. Social distancing, masks and quarantine work. A great distress beyond the disease is the financial burden, not on us, but on those whose income stream is gone, their job gone, evictions and repossessions on their horizon. De minimus response from a government and an administration which seemingly is incapable of giving a damn, and we still have immigrants on the southern border being mistreated. Children in cages. We are better than what we show the world. Momentary end of rant…

Jump to this post

@elwooodsdad Yes this isolation contributes to worsening depression and living alone doesn't help. Then add politics to the mix and anxiety is at all time high every day.

REPLY
@marjou

@rossjt Can relate to your comments about the energy it takes to do almost anything like get out of bed, take a shower, etc. Have been on multiple meds with no luck. In desperation I just started Trintellix but no results thus far.

Jump to this post

@marjou You have attempted multiple medications for your depression but you have not found relief. May I ask what other sorts of interventions have you attempted or considered? I'm specifically wondering if you have tried therapy?

REPLY
@erikas

@marjou You have attempted multiple medications for your depression but you have not found relief. May I ask what other sorts of interventions have you attempted or considered? I'm specifically wondering if you have tried therapy?

Jump to this post

@ericka Yes, therapists, ECT, EMDR and long list of medications.

REPLY

@marjou, I am interested to see that you experienced ECT. I, too, chose to participate in ECT at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It was amazing in that my fibromyalgia pain completely disappeared! Disappointingly, the pain re-emerged shortly after discontinuation of ECT. I believe that ECT temporarily improved my depression, but the effects were not lasting. I had 8 ECT sessions. I think I should have had more in order to "lock in" the ECT effect; that is what the doctors recommended. My wife and I, however, were both concerned about my immediate, short-term memory losses. I was also having some long-term memory loss. I chose to discontinue treatment after #8. My short-term memory (I think due in part to fibromyalgia and in part due to depression) had not been stellar going into ECT. I still struggle with short-term memory, but I don't think it is ECT related. I'm not certain of the cause of my long-term memory challenges; could be ECT, could be depression and/or could be fibromyalgia (brain MRI is good). I tried Trintellix when it was first made available and it did not improve my depression, but I pray it will help you! Depression is a very skilled battle opponent and it is challenging (and tiring) to fight it and beat it! My hat is off to you and my prayers are with you! We can't give up!

REPLY

I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a child due to a horrific family life and never knowing what kind of a mood my father would be in or whom he would choose to pick on. I have not had an easy life; many subsequent situations of abuse have occurred, as that is normal for battered women. My first suicide attempt was at age 9 — the last at 21. I currently take duloxitine and buspirone and that helps me a lot. I recently was diagnosed with a rare and extremely painful disease, adhesive arachnoiditis. I also suffer from fibromyalgia. It would be so easy for me to fall back down into that black pit of depression, but I refuse. I am realistic; yes, I have been dealt a terrible blow. I purposely find something to be grateful for each day. Gratitude lifts the spirits. I express my gratitude to the people who bring it and to God (as you know Him) all day long. This helps a lot. I also have two cats who bring me much joy. Happiness is a warm kitty on your lap. I would recommend a mental health animal to everyone. While biological factors are to play in depression and anxiety, we can choose how we think. My thoughts of despair have often led me into that black hole. Sometimes it was PTSD bringing to mind horrible things that happened to me which I had repressed. WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE THINK!!! Find meds that work for you. Be grateful and trust me, joy will come to you. God bless you!

REPLY
@rossjt

@marjou, I am interested to see that you experienced ECT. I, too, chose to participate in ECT at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It was amazing in that my fibromyalgia pain completely disappeared! Disappointingly, the pain re-emerged shortly after discontinuation of ECT. I believe that ECT temporarily improved my depression, but the effects were not lasting. I had 8 ECT sessions. I think I should have had more in order to "lock in" the ECT effect; that is what the doctors recommended. My wife and I, however, were both concerned about my immediate, short-term memory losses. I was also having some long-term memory loss. I chose to discontinue treatment after #8. My short-term memory (I think due in part to fibromyalgia and in part due to depression) had not been stellar going into ECT. I still struggle with short-term memory, but I don't think it is ECT related. I'm not certain of the cause of my long-term memory challenges; could be ECT, could be depression and/or could be fibromyalgia (brain MRI is good). I tried Trintellix when it was first made available and it did not improve my depression, but I pray it will help you! Depression is a very skilled battle opponent and it is challenging (and tiring) to fight it and beat it! My hat is off to you and my prayers are with you! We can't give up!

Jump to this post

Thanks for your kind of words of encouragement

REPLY
@lulu4982

I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a child due to a horrific family life and never knowing what kind of a mood my father would be in or whom he would choose to pick on. I have not had an easy life; many subsequent situations of abuse have occurred, as that is normal for battered women. My first suicide attempt was at age 9 — the last at 21. I currently take duloxitine and buspirone and that helps me a lot. I recently was diagnosed with a rare and extremely painful disease, adhesive arachnoiditis. I also suffer from fibromyalgia. It would be so easy for me to fall back down into that black pit of depression, but I refuse. I am realistic; yes, I have been dealt a terrible blow. I purposely find something to be grateful for each day. Gratitude lifts the spirits. I express my gratitude to the people who bring it and to God (as you know Him) all day long. This helps a lot. I also have two cats who bring me much joy. Happiness is a warm kitty on your lap. I would recommend a mental health animal to everyone. While biological factors are to play in depression and anxiety, we can choose how we think. My thoughts of despair have often led me into that black hole. Sometimes it was PTSD bringing to mind horrible things that happened to me which I had repressed. WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE THINK!!! Find meds that work for you. Be grateful and trust me, joy will come to you. God bless you!

Jump to this post

@lulu4982
Hi, I'm happy to say welcome to Connect! You sound like a true survivor. I am VERY inspired by your story as you have told a part of it here. Unlike you I grew up in a loving home. My depression must have come into the world with me as I see no reason for it in my life. It is very good that you have come through all of that deep darkness in your life to what sounds like a state of successful coping. I'd like to know how you started the journey out of the depths. Did you get counseling /therapy or did you manage your way out on your own, like me? You've been living with fibro you say, but did you have mostly okay health otherwise prior to the recently diagnosed arachnoiditis?

Thanks for your sad but uplifting tale. Best, Hank

REPLY
@lulu4982

I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a child due to a horrific family life and never knowing what kind of a mood my father would be in or whom he would choose to pick on. I have not had an easy life; many subsequent situations of abuse have occurred, as that is normal for battered women. My first suicide attempt was at age 9 — the last at 21. I currently take duloxitine and buspirone and that helps me a lot. I recently was diagnosed with a rare and extremely painful disease, adhesive arachnoiditis. I also suffer from fibromyalgia. It would be so easy for me to fall back down into that black pit of depression, but I refuse. I am realistic; yes, I have been dealt a terrible blow. I purposely find something to be grateful for each day. Gratitude lifts the spirits. I express my gratitude to the people who bring it and to God (as you know Him) all day long. This helps a lot. I also have two cats who bring me much joy. Happiness is a warm kitty on your lap. I would recommend a mental health animal to everyone. While biological factors are to play in depression and anxiety, we can choose how we think. My thoughts of despair have often led me into that black hole. Sometimes it was PTSD bringing to mind horrible things that happened to me which I had repressed. WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE THINK!!! Find meds that work for you. Be grateful and trust me, joy will come to you. God bless you!

Jump to this post

@lulu4982 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Your horrific family life growing up has certainly left its scars. You also have an extremely painful disease called adhesive arachnoiditis, along with fibromyalgia. Despite this your message is that, "WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE THINK!!!" You detail your gratitude practice of choosing something each day to be grateful for.

You may like the Gratitude Discussion Group linked below.

– Gratitude Discussion Group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/gratitude-discussion-group/

May I ask more about your therapy animal? Did your therapist write a letter to "prescribe" your therapy animal?

REPLY
@lulu4982

I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a child due to a horrific family life and never knowing what kind of a mood my father would be in or whom he would choose to pick on. I have not had an easy life; many subsequent situations of abuse have occurred, as that is normal for battered women. My first suicide attempt was at age 9 — the last at 21. I currently take duloxitine and buspirone and that helps me a lot. I recently was diagnosed with a rare and extremely painful disease, adhesive arachnoiditis. I also suffer from fibromyalgia. It would be so easy for me to fall back down into that black pit of depression, but I refuse. I am realistic; yes, I have been dealt a terrible blow. I purposely find something to be grateful for each day. Gratitude lifts the spirits. I express my gratitude to the people who bring it and to God (as you know Him) all day long. This helps a lot. I also have two cats who bring me much joy. Happiness is a warm kitty on your lap. I would recommend a mental health animal to everyone. While biological factors are to play in depression and anxiety, we can choose how we think. My thoughts of despair have often led me into that black hole. Sometimes it was PTSD bringing to mind horrible things that happened to me which I had repressed. WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE THINK!!! Find meds that work for you. Be grateful and trust me, joy will come to you. God bless you!

Jump to this post

Hello @lulu4982,

Thank you for sharing your story of gratitude and joy in spite of your personal history of abuse and physical problems. As Erika, @erikas, mentioned in her post you would probably like Connect's Gratitude discussion group. We also have a discussion group on how pets help us. Here is the link to that group, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-pets-can-do-health-and-healing/?commentsorderby=DESC&pg=2. As you look at this discussion you will see stories and pictures of beloved pets who have become emotional support animals in one way or the other.

I look forward to hearing from you again. As you feel comfortable doing so, will you post a bit more about your recovery process?

REPLY

Plus one on this. I'm 67 and lonely. My REAL self is handsome, funny, interesting, good listener, loyal, resourceful, even wise sometimes. My haunted self is fearful, anxious, easily discouraged, pessimistic, ungrateful. I show the first when I meet a woman, and then torture myself asking when and how to be honest about the presence of my other side. I was just dumped by a woman after a torrid affair, because I said too much too soon and she was afraid to commit to my REAL self for fear of my haunted self. Now I'm online dating and trying to handle it differently. It's important that I remember that everyone's showing their best self at first and withholding their dark side. And everyone has a dark side. So who's to say I'm being more dishonest than they are because I don't start by blurting out all of my shortcomings, real or IMAGINED?

REPLY
@anhedonius

Plus one on this. I'm 67 and lonely. My REAL self is handsome, funny, interesting, good listener, loyal, resourceful, even wise sometimes. My haunted self is fearful, anxious, easily discouraged, pessimistic, ungrateful. I show the first when I meet a woman, and then torture myself asking when and how to be honest about the presence of my other side. I was just dumped by a woman after a torrid affair, because I said too much too soon and she was afraid to commit to my REAL self for fear of my haunted self. Now I'm online dating and trying to handle it differently. It's important that I remember that everyone's showing their best self at first and withholding their dark side. And everyone has a dark side. So who's to say I'm being more dishonest than they are because I don't start by blurting out all of my shortcomings, real or IMAGINED?

Jump to this post

@anhedonius Welcome to Mayo Connect. As you can see, we are all patients, caregivers or family members here, and sometimes we wear more than one hat! We offer and share our experiences, what worked [or didn't], our stories.

You give very different descriptions of your real self versus haunted self. When does your haunted self present; have you done or thought about therapy work on the darker side of you? You're absolutely right, everyone has a darker side. Being aware of both sides, and how they affect you each day, helps you to see yourself truly. And gives you a starting point to address what you want to change.

Being brave and stepping in to a dating world, can be very taxing. I know it was for me, as an adult over 60! All I can say, is to be who you are. I told my husband I was on the autism spectrum before we got married, but he was not versed on it, and didn't fully comprehend how it affected me. We did not live under the same roof until 4 months after the wedding, and did a long-distance relationship prior to that. We both learned a lot about each other!
Ginger

REPLY
@anhedonius

Plus one on this. I'm 67 and lonely. My REAL self is handsome, funny, interesting, good listener, loyal, resourceful, even wise sometimes. My haunted self is fearful, anxious, easily discouraged, pessimistic, ungrateful. I show the first when I meet a woman, and then torture myself asking when and how to be honest about the presence of my other side. I was just dumped by a woman after a torrid affair, because I said too much too soon and she was afraid to commit to my REAL self for fear of my haunted self. Now I'm online dating and trying to handle it differently. It's important that I remember that everyone's showing their best self at first and withholding their dark side. And everyone has a dark side. So who's to say I'm being more dishonest than they are because I don't start by blurting out all of my shortcomings, real or IMAGINED?

Jump to this post

@anhedonius
What you describe is enough to pique my interest. But not enough to know precisely what you mean by "REAL" self and "haunted" self. There are a few different ways to interpret what you describe but without more blanks filled in it would be inappropriate to comment. It sounds like you would like to know how to move forward through this so you can arrive at a point where you can have a lasting and fulfilling relationship and not be so lonely. Have you spoken to any professionals in the therapy/counseling world about these issues? That would be a good place to start if you haven't already done this, and it's never too late to start. I think you have a lot of inner exploration to do to understand yourself better. Hoping the best for you, Hank

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment