Growing up, my parents’ marriage led me to believe that people with depression could never have a happy relationship. When I was diagnosed with the illness myself two months into my last relationship, I felt helpless and alone. Not only could the person who cared about me the most not understand what I was going through, but they didn’t know how to help me. The first five months following my diagnosis were hell for both of us, as I tried medication after medication with no success. What was the most damaging to my relationship was the lack of communication on their part, and the lack of trust stemming from anxiety on my part. I didn’t trust ANYTHING, not what they said, not even how I felt. Depression and anxiety made everything seem like a lie. I can tell you now that trust will make or break a relationship. It doesn’t come overnight, it needs to be earned, but if it doesn’t last, the relationship won’t either.
After finding the right medication and committing to a year of monthly therapy sessions, I was able to see everything clearly again. And that’s when I realized that I really wasn’t happy in my relationship, and I really couldn’t trust him. It was admission I’d been fighting and something I didn’t see for a long time. But once I was back to my normal self again, I was able to use the tools from therapy to take a hard look inwards, and figure out how I was truly feeling. Ending that two and a half year relationship was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do, but I learned the importance of checking in with yourself and making tough choices for your own wellbeing. Dating with mental illness is still a challenge, but with the right partner, it becomes easier over time. If you can find someone who can communicate, who is honest, and who you can trust, you’ve got the essential ingredients to a healthy, stable relationship.
By: Brienne Welton