Breaking down relationships because of depression
I'm new to this forum so I'm a little bit hesitant to blurt out my story but here goes.
I was diagnosed with depression about a year ago after I hit rock bottom with an awful job and a relationship that was crumbling. I think I was carrying around the black dog for at least 3-4 years beforehand but never did anything about it until I was at breaking point. I'm now medicated and I am feeling a lot better than I was, but I still have some moments when I feel like I fall back into that hole.
I kinda like the fact that this whole experience is giving me a greater insight into who I am, but in doing so, it brings up a lot of sadness, regret and guilt about who I am and what I have done in the past.
I have always been in a relationship ever since finishing high school ten years ago. There have been fleeting moments where I have been single, but for the most part I have either been in a committed relationship, or been in a casual arrangement. For the majority of relationships, I have been the dumper and whenever I have been the dumpee, I have taken it really hard. I feel that I get super depressed when I hang-out with my friends who are all shacked up. I know I am still young, but I feel that I have missed the boat in terms of finding someone to be with.
Looking back, I know for a fact that I have ended relationships because I was depressed, rather than through any fault of the amazing girls I have dated. One relationship in particular has been haunting me lately because I know I was happy with her but I let the black dog loose and it made me end things. I didn’t understand what was going on until it was too late. I tried a few times to resurrect things but I couldn’t bring myself to do it out of shame and stubbornness.
I know in my head and my heart that I am not in any state to be starting a relationship but I continue to try because I am don’t know how to be alone. I don’t feel it’s healthy because all I am doing is setting myself and the girl up for disappointment.
I don’t know if anyone has been in a similar situation to me so I’d love to hear your stories and how you coped with the issues I am facing. The feelings of guilt, regret, and fear of being alone are not something I want to have shape who I am.
Welcome to the forums and thanks for reaching out.
It sounds like you have a lot of insight into what's going on for you and how your emotions have affected you and I think that's something to be proud of as not everyone has a lot of insight into their condition. Knowing more about depression and how it affects you and the mind-traps that it gets you in can help gain perspective and clarity - especially in relationships.
Wanting to be in a relationship because we hate being alone is not a good reason to be in one, because it means we'll always be looking for that 'fulfilment' - which unfortunately, nobody can bring because we have to create it in ourselves. There's a difference between being alone and being lonely though; so figuring out what you don't like about (or don't know how to) being alone can help. Is it fear? Shame?
As for dealing with depression in relationships though - that does take a lot of work. Again, this is where the insight helps - learning about what you need and what helps if you start to feel the black dog creeping in, or knowing how to have conversations when you need reassurance or support, or being confident enough to reach out for more help when you need to. For me personally whenever I got into a relationship I would be afraid that I would be rejected and unloved, so learning that I had that fear and shame helped me to address it head on. Of course - having a partner that respects you is key - because depression is not your identity and if they care about you they'll support you and work with you.
Maybe if you're not quite ready for a relationship, maybe start with finding and growing your friendships? It's not as easy as it sounds - but having friendships without the commitment of a relationship can often give you a good heads-up on when you feel 'ready' to start again.