My Depression Is Better When I’m Single But When I Have A Boyfriend, It Gets Way Worse

For most of my adult life, I’ve struggled with recurrent episodes of depression. Unfortunately, new relationships, which are supposed to bring joy, often make my condition a lot worse. Here’s why and what I do to combat it.

  1. I analyze everything. Most women do this, but it’s even worse when you’re susceptible to depression. I start wondering why he didn’t text me yesterday or what he meant by an innocuous comment. Everything starts to point in the direction that it will never last, so why bother? I get so into my head that I can’t enjoy the present moment.
  2. Getting into fights is the worst. I’m more sensitive than the average person so I take things like yelling or avoidance very personally. The stress of a fight is all-consuming. If it’s not resolved and resolved quickly, it’s all I think about. It gets to the point where I feel more alone when I’m arguing with a boyfriend than if I were single.
  3. I take on his problems. If my boyfriend is sad, I’m sad. I feel his hurt like it’s my own. This is even worse if he’s taking his problems out on me. Then I just feel victimized and powerless. There’s nothing worse to me than the pain of someone acting out at me when I know I haven’t done anything wrong.
  4. I have a fear of abandonment. While I generally like my personal space, when something goes wrong, I need closeness to know that we’re “okay.” Unfortunately, a lot of men tend to avoid conflict and keep their distance after a disagreement. If I feel like I can’t talk about it with him, I feel abandoned. Even in a secure relationship, I get the fear that we’re breaking up whenever this happens.
  5. There’s a hormonal basis. Cortisol, which is related to stress, rises when you start to fall in love. This can lead to anxiety, loss of sleep, and weight gain. All of these things can contribute to depression. And, like getting emotional around your period, sudden hormonal changes are never great for overall mood.
  6. After the initial excitement fades, there’s nowhere to go but downhill. There’s such a high in the beginning that there’s bound to be a drop-off point. Like the day after Christmas, I feel a huge let-down. Sure, I really care about and maybe even love the guy, but there’s some inner voice saying, “What now?”
  7. We’re spending so much time together that I miss out on self-care. It seems like I can’t help but spend my free time with someone when I’m excited and entering a new relationship. However, this means I’m not taking any time for myself. Lack of time for exercising, meditation, and “me-time” in general means that I’m not taking proper care of my mental health.
  8. It certainly puts a damper on the relationship. Obviously, when one person is depressed in a relationship, it affects the other. Comforting me is an added burden for a boyfriend and one that he didn’t sign up for. In addition, dates may be less frequent if I just want to mope around. It’s hard to be around negative energy and sadness can even be contagious.
  9. It’s a vicious cycle. The relationship worsens my depression, which negatively affects the relationship. This, naturally, makes my depression even worse. I worry whether my boyfriend sees me as a nuisance and I may even try to hide my feelings, which inevitably just makes me more irritable.
  10. But it shows his true character. I’m not expecting a guy to save me from myself but I AM expecting him to be supportive and listen. I’ve dated men who ran away when I needed them most or would get annoyed when I cried. Those aren’t the kinds of men I should be dating.
  11. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps… CBT has helped me to recognize when my thoughts aren’t totally rational. I’ll admit I don’t always put these techniques into practice but when I do, I can stop with the overanalyzing and try to live in the moment.
  12. … As does the right partner. Having a supportive partner who can be empathetic can make all the difference. Not everyone can handle being with someone who’s depressed. It doesn’t make them bad people, but they’re not the ones for me.
  13. Support outside the relationship is important too. It’s hard to really express your frustration within a relationship when you’re worried about your friends judging the guy. I need friends who will stay neutral and just listen without taking sides or holding anything against him. After all, it’s likely that he did nothing wrong and I just need to vent my feelings. It’s also important to spend time with these friends because I don’t want to risk losing myself to the relationship.
Danielle is a world-traveler based in San Diego, California. She loves hiking, yoga, classic movies, and sharing her adventures on her blog