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?

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@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?

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Hello @anhedonius. I'd like to add my welcome to you as you have recently joined Mayo Clinic Connect. You have come to a group that will compassionately support you with our own personal experiences and information on what has helped us.

I agree with what @gingerw and @jesfactsmon have posted about the importance of personal sessions with a trained therapist in order to help make the "real" self come to the surface more often than the "haunted self" which is anxious, fearful, etc. (By the way, those are really good descriptors.) Often the haunted self does seem real, doesn't it?

If you have not had an opportunity to seek one-to-one counseling yet, I would encourage you, at the very least, to look into some of the books written by Dr. David Burns. He writes about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). His workbook can be really helpful in sorting out how to deal with "haunted self." I think you would find his writings very helpful.

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I've been in therapy on and off for six decades. I've currently been in therapy for three years. I've tried 25 anti-depressants and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I was going to yoga classes and meditation groups until covid, now I'm trying mostly without success to do those things on zoom or by myself. But I recently discovered a meditation app I'm trying to do daily. Everything I try is overwhelmed by the thought, Why do this, it won't work anyway, if anything would have worked it would have worked by now, etc.

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@anhedonius

I've been in therapy on and off for six decades. I've currently been in therapy for three years. I've tried 25 anti-depressants and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I was going to yoga classes and meditation groups until covid, now I'm trying mostly without success to do those things on zoom or by myself. But I recently discovered a meditation app I'm trying to do daily. Everything I try is overwhelmed by the thought, Why do this, it won't work anyway, if anything would have worked it would have worked by now, etc.

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Hello again @anhedonius, I do applaud you for all of your efforts to find some healing and peace. You have certainly worked hard to achieve results. I urge you to keep at it. You never know when a breakthrough might come about. Perhaps you will recover some distant memory that may be weighing you down or perhaps a therapist or a book will unlock a key for you in understanding why you are feeling the way you do. So keep up the good work!

In the meantime, I hope that you will keep as physically active as you can during this COVID crisis. As much as possible reach out to others by phone, email, or notes and try to help others who are also feeling lonely and downcast. There is some real healing of emotions that occur when you try to assist someone else. It is difficult to find volunteer opportunities during COVID but there are phone calls that you can make to shut-ins, etc. You might contact the NAMI organization in your area to see what they offer in the way of online support groups or phone call opportunities.

Have you tried any volunteer activities?

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@anhedonius

I've been in therapy on and off for six decades. I've currently been in therapy for three years. I've tried 25 anti-depressants and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I was going to yoga classes and meditation groups until covid, now I'm trying mostly without success to do those things on zoom or by myself. But I recently discovered a meditation app I'm trying to do daily. Everything I try is overwhelmed by the thought, Why do this, it won't work anyway, if anything would have worked it would have worked by now, etc.

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@anhedonius
Wow you really have been in therapy a lot, and since a very young age. Has it helped you? If so in what way(s)? Just very curious, and also curious what what form(s) your therapy has taken. Your pessimism about trying another new thing makes me think you have not been very happy with most of what you have tried so far. I am curious whether you have sought any help in a spiritual sense, i.e. do you have a belief in God? Hank

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@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?

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@anhedonius Hi there! Checking in to see how you are feeling these days?

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Nice of you. I am extremely up and down. If I have activities to do I'm ok and sometimes even enjoy myself. When I'm by myself it's like there's no one there. Like my own private life is not worth living. So I tend to collapse in the easy chair, or overeat while watching junk youtube. I keep trying to learn to take care of my self, but it's a slow process. Thanks again.

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@grandmaraines

Thank you for your reply. My husband tried going to an individual therapist who gave him strategies, met once more and felt it was all silly and useless to keep a journal or follow a weekly plan. He used to enjoy hinting and dud model trains as a hobby. He just gave all his guns to his son and gave up hobby years He has a psychiatrist who just asks how the meds are, suggests alternate ones to try, prescribed and checks in once every couple months .He is useless. In our area absolutely no one is accepting new patients. We have our church but fellowshipping is minimL due to Covid. All his peers who he called close friends are moved or passed away. We live in the country with no near neighbors and our church friends are almost 1 hr away. No one drives out here to visit. Our son is also over an hr away, who wants to help, but my husband won't discuss any of this with him (he is mortified- I have shared my heartache and what is happening with family, but I can't keep burdening them) and our son has a young family, busy with his own life. When we do see them it is usually with a group or special days like this last Father's day, so we do not mar the occasion with depression talk. My husband just tries really hard to not be a sad downer but he also is pretty silent whole time in a get together. No, I truly am alone in helping him.

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Hi my name is dave and for some reason unknown to me I kept this post. It's been almost a year since it was posted and I'm wondering how both of you are doing? Yes this covid is stopping people from getting together and I know it's hard and I believe you are away from neighbors where you live. But something struck me reading this post again which was your husband gave his guns away and the trains. So let me tell you what I think, the guns dont get used by your husband so give them to your sons for their use and enjoyment. Might give them something to talk about I'd your kids use them. Same thing with his train sets but what I wanted to tell you is that by giving these items away it will open up room for your husband to find a new hobby or something else he might enjoy. I hope all is well dave

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@marjou

Well where to start to answer your inquiries.
In my situation family has been non communicative nor understanding. True understanding friends are minimal but don't want impose on the friendship with my never ending depression. Had just went dancing a couple of times with a man whose I met through his family. Then pandemic so we had to isolate. We just started seeing each other after both getting negative COVID testing, but my moods have been up and down (mostly down). Prefer not to lead a relationship with my depression nor even know how/when to approach the conversation which is overwhelming.

I try walking a bit, at times 5 minutes is all I can do. Dance a bit at home. Therapy when budget allows. The constant depression, necessary isolation due to pandemic and financial constraints are all contributing factors.

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@marjou How are you doing ? I’m responding to an old post but am interested. The subject of trying to have friends and making conversation has always been difficult for me. It mostly comes from childhood trauma, both physical and mental. And when I get down, it surfaces. I’ve just moved 2000 miles, was divorced in the past year and am trying to be normal in extremely challenging circumstances. As someone who has worked constantly, my few friends or lack of friends wasn’t such a problem. Not that I didn’t realize, but I could busy it away. Now there’s no busy and I’m faced with me and my awkwardness. The evidence of my awkwardness is clear from those around me.

I keep trying though. I’m a writer and an artist and love my work. Procrastination is a bummer but I’m sure that’s part of the depression.

That’s a beautiful picture with your profile. Are you a painter? That requires alone time. I like that time alone to work. Anyway, if you’re still active with Connect, I’d love to hear back.
Thx, Suzanne

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