Dating With Depression Is a Bitch

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My phone rang just after seven this morning. It was my sister D. . Like me, she’s an early bird.

“Hi,” I say. I stick my coffee in the microwave. “What’s up?” The optimist that I am, I always assume a phone call from home means something bad has happened.

“I wanted to call because I was thinking of you this morning when I saying my prayers.” (Backstory: she’s Christian. Like, really, really Christian.) I was asking God to bless you and your business and your book and to send you someone special and he responded.”

I picked at the cream skin in my too-hot coffee sat at on the edge of my bed. This should be good. “What did He say?”

“He said that you’re an outsider looking and you need to get in the middle of things instead of standing on the sidelines.”

“He said all that? Wow. God’s a Chatty Cathy.”

“Just listen,” D. said. “You plan all these events and your write this column–”

“That you’ve never read, but go on.” It’s true. My sisters have never read anything I’ve written. It’s a sore point.

“You shouldn’t just plan speeddating events. You should go to them. You need to get out there more.”

Apparently, God and my sister think exactly like, as she’s said this to my countless times. I let out an exaggerated breath. “I am out there. I am the gym every day for almost two hours. I take classes. I’m doing as much as I can do. My business and my book are my top priorities.”

“I know things are hard for you,” she said. “I know you get depressed, like most of us do.”

My hackles went up. “You do realize that my version of depression and your version of depression are different, right?”

“You know what I mean.”

“No, I don’t. You talk about depression like it’s interchangeable with sad. Maybe for you , that’s how it is. That’s not how it is for me.”

Now, let’s stop here for a minute. My family, starting with my father, wasn’t really big on the concept of mental illness. I’ve tried and failed and tried again to explain to this sister in particular that our other sister is seriously mentally ill and will likely never change. She keeps saying she doesn’t believe that, that my sister could become more responsible if she tried. She doesn’t understand that that’s not how mental illness works.

While my episodes are few and far between now, I still wrestle with bouts of extreme depression. My body aches; I can’t get enough sleep; I walk around exhausted; I pummel myself with searing criticisms. I become despondent. It happened today, and I know it was triggered by being back on OKCupid. All three of the men I began messaging with on Sunday have faded and a hefty portion of the messages I do get are from married men. They’re not men in ethically non-monogamous marriages. Nope. They’re straight up cheating on their wives. That’s enough right there to make a person feel hopeless.

It’s frustrating to know that my sister doesn’t understand what I go through some days. It’s hard for me to leave my comfort zone. Some days I feel worthless, like trying meet someone is a waste of time as they probably won’t like me anyway. On days like that I retreat back into my shell. It’s too scary out there and I’m so tired. But then I go to bed and wake-up the next day, my cat prancing back and forth across the comforter mewling because it’s six am, dammit, where’s my food? I rise, feeling refreshed and slightly hopeful that today will be different.

I realize that what I experience is nothing compared to those with clinical depression or other forms of mental illness. I am very lucky. My meds work and needed very little fine-tuning. My good days far outnumber my bad ones, a one hundred and eighty degree turn-around from just last year. I know my sister mean to be insulting. She had good intentions, and it does touch me that she was thinking of me. I just don’t need to be reminded that I am alone and that it quite possibly is my fault.

Dating really takes it out of me. I’ll keep trying, though.  As God told my sister this morning, “You have to be in it to win it.”

Cliched motherfucker.

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Can’t you update your preferences to search for “monogamous” men only? I know I did that when I was on OKC, and I’m sure it weeded out the straight-up cheaters.

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  2. I know that you know this, but having a man in your life will not eliminate the isolation that you feel. That is where your self care and doing things for yourself will help. So keep going with what you are doing-going to the gym, etc. It may not get “better” per say, but you will be better equipped to handle these times in your life. I hope you are still planning on going on your trip.

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    1. A relationship can absolutely provide someone with companionship and conversation. I’m tired of people (who are usually in relationships themselves) telling women that they’re wrong about what they want.

      Per se.

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      1. Yeah, seconded. A relationship means that you have someone who, in theory, is putting you at a very high priority, if not the highest in their life (outside of themselves and family). This is not nothing. You have physical affection and intimacy. You have companionship. You have conversation and someone to support you and bounce things off of. As time goes on, you have someone to share memories with and someone who has seen you through both good times and bad.
        I too am tired of people saying that single women who openly say they want to be in a relationship should “love themselves”. Part of my happiness is tied up in being with someone. Not a cardboard “boyfriend” cutout. A person who shares and witnesses my life. Someone who cuddles, laughs, and supports me (emotionally). Someone who shares in the duties and pleasures of life with me.
        I can have fun and be fine without a relationship. But wanting a relationship is not always thinking it will “fix” everything.
        It’s similar to money. It doesn’t create happiness inherently. But it solves a lot of the causes of unhappiness, that’s for sure.

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        1. I think you’ve missed the point of my comment. Anyway, I can relate these posts and have tried to relay what I have learned about the journey from my own experiences. I have been in this exact point in my own life. Isn’t that the point of comments? I would never tell someone that what they think or feel is wrong. I know this feeling very intimately. I’ve also noticed that the comments can get very pointed and do not always feel that the commentors are sensitive to what Moxie is writing. I don’t feel that my comment fits into that narrative.

          Anyway, all the best to you, Moxie. I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey. You are not alone in this.

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      2. I am not in a relationship. I haven’t been in one for awhile. I know isolation and loneliness. But there’s a difference between feelings of isolation and loneliness. This sounds like she feels isolated from the world, that others who are in relationships seem to have something she is missing and that’s what she is craving. Well, sure, he or she in a relationship has someone to come home to, to talk to, to sit next to on the couch, to have dinner with. But you can still have these feelings with that person there. It just manifests itself through different channels when you are in a relationship. That feeling of isolation will still permeate into your life, whether there’s a man in it or not. My own sister tells me this, while she has been in a solid, loving relationship for 15+ years. So you can want a relationship. I want a relationship. I want a connection. But the isolation will still come about in different forms. Where did I say that you shouldn’t want a relationship?

        As I have found with the help of a very good therapist and working on this myself while NOT in a relationship during these periods of feeling intense loneliness and isolation, you cannot depend on another person to fill that deficit, as your partner will not be able to eliminate all of that from your life. There are things you will need to do for yourself, to take care of yourself during these times, which is why it’s so important to continue doing things that you love. So, absolutely open yourself up to want a relationship.

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  3. Even if they are annoying as hell, it is reassuring to have family members who are perpetually on our side (God and all) even if they miss the mark. Your sister sounds sweet and like a good person to have in your life even if she misses the mark with her advise.

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  4. This really resonated with me.
    Spoiler alert: I am a Christian, and I have struggled with bouts of depression for years. I’ve battled with people on the whole “Christians don’t get depressed” thing, but whatevs. I just live my truth.

    Dating sucks. Online dating really sucks for me. I’m tired of people telling me “I just need to….” I am sick of men asking me why I’m still single. I’m damn sick of men gaslighting me by telling me how great I would be as a wife. I am tired of people making me feel wrong for wanting the same thing millions of other people in the world want and didn’t have to jump through hoops to get.

    I’m sorry if this comes across as an “I have it worse” comment, because that wasn’t my intent. I’m just a fan who felt like virtually sitting cross-legged on the floor with you and saying: “girl, me too.”

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