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When Depression Affects Your Ability to Be Intimate

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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.

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Getty Images photo via nd3000.

Originally published: February 16, 2018
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