Depression And Navigating Relationships

Image: Anthony Tran/Unsplash

Relationships can be hard enough to navigate at the best of times, particularly when you are young. Finding the right combination of boundaries and goals is an almost lifelong task. But what happens when you add depression to the mix? Well, things start to get a lot more complicated.

Depression has a funny way of telling you that you aren’t good enough, that you aren’t worthy of love, and that other people don’t really love you. All of this is obviously not a great foundation on which to build a relationship. However, just because something is more difficult does not mean that it isn’t worth it.

The unlovable feeling of depression

I spent a lot of my early adult life feeling very alone and very lonely.  I have always been quiet, introverted, and somewhat of a loner by nature, but depression exacerbated that. Not only was I not great at showcasing my personality to new people, but I was also being convinced by my own brain that I wasn’t worthy of love. 

Despite being painted in bright colours, my teenage bedroom, felt like a very dark, isolating place. All I could do was sit and watch all of my friends have relationships and experience love, all the while becoming more and more convinced that I wasn’t worthy of that myself.

Those thoughts don’t stop if you are in a relationship. If anything, they get worse.  Not necessarily in intensity, but in the fact that there is more to lose. Despite being in a happy four-year relationship, I still have thoughts of not being worthy of love. I have thoughts that he deserves better. 

That I am either holding him back, or he is settling. I know, rationally, that these thoughts are just my brain sabotaging me.  Nothing my boyfriend does indicates that there is any truth or weight to those statements, but it doesn’t stop my brain from trying. 

Handling depressive thoughts

The biggest piece of advice that I could give you if you suffer from similar thoughts, is open communication. People around you aren’t mind readers. They certainly aren’t mind readers when they aren’t doing anything to validate your thoughts. Be honest about how you are feeling and the thoughts you are having. People love you, and they will support you.   

In tandem with honesty though, is acknowledging that your thoughts, your feelings of being unlovable, are not reality. You are loved, you have people around you who love you. Challenge these thoughts when they arise. It isn’t easy, but I promise you can find examples that prove the people around you do love you.

If all else fails, there are great support groups online, and on social media that can really help you to feel less alone and learn how to challenge your own thoughts. Remember, we are all worthy of love, despite what our brains tell us.

Leave a Reply