When Depression Affects Your Ability to Be Intimate

Depression affects many areas of my life.  Relationships and intimacy remain difficult areas to navigate through. 

“You have to love yourself in order for other people to love you.”  That’s a well-known saying you may or may not agree with. But what happens after you learn to love yourself? Once you make peace with your illness, how exactly do you share your illness with another person? How do you decide who to share your struggles with and if they can handle them?

Depression is more than being sad.

Depression isn’t crying because you had a hard day at work. Depression is debilitating. It’s when suicidal thoughts become routine and you soon find yourself fighting to get out of bed. How do you explain that to someone who has never experienced it? If I’m being perfectly honest, I haven’t done a great job because it’s easier not to talk about it. 

It’s easier to be intimate with someone without all the mess and shame you have in your illness. It’s easier to forget it for a night and pretend to enjoy the experiences “normal” people can enjoy. Because with honestly comes vulnerability. If and when you decide to share your struggles, your relationship will never be the same. Suddenly, you’re not the person who has everything together. Are you ready to be vulnerable?

What if your significant other can’t handle it?

You don’t deserve someone who can’t handle it. Someone who can’t understand and doesn’t attempt to make an effort to. You’ve been through too much and you owe it to yourself to find someone who can handle it. Whether you share your struggles before truly opening yourself up to a relationship or being intimate is completely your call. But don’t refuse to talk about them because it’s easier not to. Because, the truth is, once the sun comes up and you can’t find your socks, you may regret not being more honest. You don’t owe anyone anything. Keep your standards high. You deserve more.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty Images photo via nd3000.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

young redhead woman covering mouth with hands

What ‘Sarahah’ Made Me Realize About Silence and Mental Health

The stigma surrounding mental health speaks volumes, while those who struggle with mental illnesses feel as though they need to keep silent. If you take a moment to look around and observe the people around you, do you wonder what is going on in their heads? I don’t ever really talk about my anxiety and [...]
illustration of a woman peeking behind a wall. Her dress is the same color as the wall paper, so she blends in

Finding Routine After Suicidality

It’s been a little over a year since I left the hospital. I know I have made progress, but every day is a struggle. It is a struggle to do what everyone else seems to do without thinking — wake up, get ready, go to work, be a dependable partner, take care of the kids, [...]
split image of gunfight at the OK corall and breaking bad

What These Fictional Characters Made Me Realize About Depression

I am not proud of it. A few weeks ago, and for the first time in many decades, I unpredictably dipped into a depression that, to put it mildly, kicked my ass. Ha-Ha, I’m joking. Actually, I’m not. For the most part, throughout my life, my mental health issues have stemmed from severe anxiety and [...]

How Creating Comics About Anxiety and Depression Helps My Mental Health

As a creative, drawing has always been my best tool to explain the strange thoughts racing around in my head. I’m often drawing about “things” I don’t understand or understand later. These “things” are mental health issues. Some months ago, I shared some comics about my mental illness in an article. I live with anxiety, [...]