Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

Translate

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dating while you suffer with depression

This post is just based on my own experience and thoughts and not based on any proffessional advice or factual studies. But also this post might not be so structured as it is just my own thoughts.

So i was recently asked to write about dating while struggling with depression, which is something i have done. I remember when i first started dating i wrote a post about dating while struggling with an eating disorder and i wrote how i didnt think i would have been able to be in a relationship while i struggled with an eating disorder. When you are dating someone there needs to be compromise and selflessness in some sorts, but both with depression and an eating disorder you become so absorbed in your illness, so isolated that in a way you also become selfish (not that this is a bad thing necessarily), but for me i became so sick with my depression that i did become selfish. I didnt want to see my boyfriend anymore, i wanted to be on my own all the time and wanted to push anyone close to me away... i didnt feel like i deserved to be loved or wanted. The relationship basically become a one way relationship as i completely shut down, but also i unconsciously began to self sabotage the relationship because i felt like "i wasnt worth a good relationship or worth to be with someone so amazing", the self sabotage was mostly just isolating myself and not being so responsive, and in the end it did cause problems.... i mean you cant and dont want to date someone who doesnt really respond and tries to push you away.

I think dating while struggling with depression can work, there are people who with the help of their partner can recover from their mental illness due to the support and loven they recieve. But for me it didnt work because of my isolation, self hate and lack of life motivation.... i completely lost myself and i couldnt even take care of myself, so how could i be with someone else and take care of them. Or how could i make someone else happy if i couldnt even feel happy myself.... at first there were fake laughs and smiles but eventually i didnt even have the energy or motivation for that. And there were times i would completely zone out or get panic/anxiety attacks for no explained reason.

Because i was struggling so much i also felt that it wasnt fair for my boyfriend... i knew he deserved so much better than how i was right then. Ii knew that my depression had changed me, going from the happy and positive and energetic me to someone very cold, distant and isolated.... and its not fun to date someone like that. So for his sake i knew it wasnt fair and that gave me even more anxiety and made me even depressed as i felt so awful for being an awful girlfriend. So in that sense, my relationship made my depression worse because i would get alot of anxiety and guilt over the fact that i wasnt the type of girlfriend i had been/wanted to be.

Relationships can be successful even if you - or your partner - suffer with depression, but it does also put a strain on the relationship. Its tough for both the person struggling and the one trying to help, and i think the important thing is that both sides are open and honest about how they are feeling and what the other one can do to help. Communication is key in all relationships, but also to realise that your partner cant read your mind.

Isolating yourself when you struggle with depression isnt a good idea, so having a partner who shows you love can be the exact thing you need, and someone who keeps you from isolating yourself.

Personally, despite having a great relationship in the beginning and being with the sweetest guy who did so much for me and tried to help me in so many ways, i pushed him away and the relationship ended in mutual terms based on the fact that i would be moving across the country, but in a way the relationship had already been going down hill. For me to recover i needed to be allowed to be selfish and just focus on myself. I needed to stop thinking about others and worrying about trying to be "Perfect" or trying to make others happy and just focus on making myself happy. I didnt need to have any "Musts" or "Have to's" or obligations towards people, i just wanted to focus on myself and thats what i did. Of course i made alot of changes at the same time so i cant say what it was that helped me recover from my depression as i think it was a whole mix of different factors that helped me.

I dont really know what else to write about this topic, it feels like i could keep writing forever but also that there are so many different areas i have missed. Bbut the important thing to remember is that relationships are different and you need to know what is best for you and your relationship, but also what is best for your partner. Its not easy for someone to just watch and unable to do anything if someone is struggling and pushing them away, its not fun to have someone walk away but at the same time i can understand it if someone is struggling so much and shows no signs of recovery/getting better, then it can be very draining for the people on the side. However in  the end, people who truly care will stay and help one way or another. I also think its important for a partner to realise that they cant "fix you" and that the depression *hopefully* isnt their fault either. All that a partner can do is to support the person suffering, to show them love and care for them and try to help them.... but they can not fix/make the person recover. The one struggling has to open up and make the changes to recover and recieve the right treatment to get better, but also the problem shouldnt be ignored... if its ignored it will get worse. Unfortunatly for me, both in my family and in my relationship it was like everyone tried to ignore the fact that i was struggling and suffering... thinking that it was "just a phase" or that it wasnt as bad as it was because i wasnt open about how much i was struggling. But the silence just made it worse.


So... for me personally when i struggled with an eating disorder i was not capable of being in a relationship, not to mention that i wasnt even interested in dating then as i was so obsessed with food and body and weight. And also when i struggled with depression i wasnt capable of being in a relationship, not in a type of relationship i wanted to be in anyway. But now when i am hapy and healthy again i feel like i could maintain a healthy and happy relationship (once again - like back in the start of 2015!), but of course i am scared of being in a relationship again.... scared that it might trigger something or that i would end up depressed again, but also i dont even know how ready I am to date again. But since recovering from depression i am myself again and know that when i am ready for it, i could maintain a healthy relationship and not isolate myself or push others away like i did when i struggled with depression.

But anyway, leave your comments or experience below and i might make a post with some articles or studies based on depression and dating if you would find that helpful as well.
Image result for dating and depression

Image result for dating and depression

8 comments:

  1. Depression is hard for the person going through it and their loved ones as well. I like that you talked about learning how to support them during their struggles. It might be smart to talk to a depression therapist if you are wondering how to support them.

    Lung - e-counseling.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. uggh sometimes when I read your posts I feel tired, when you are talking about depression you are talking about:"the way YOU COPE with depression"
    because Im diagnosed of depression by a physquiatric and I do have a boyfriend (we have been together for a year and a half) and our relationship only have brought to me happiness, if I have thoughts like:"Im not good enough for him", I DECIDE to fight them in an active way.
    with mental illness its always "easier"to stuck to your wrong thoughts instead of fighting them, and here is where your problem is.
    You have overcome your eating disorder, but there are things that you need to overcome, and you just get attached to your thoughts, there wont be a day that just by magic you will start feeling:"now I feel that I deserve a partner""I feel that Im good enough for a boy" this wont happen to you!so start fighting

    Also maybe there are people out there that have depression and want to have a partner, other people that have depression that are not ready to have one, and people who dont suffer this illness and arent ready/dont want a partner at all.
    I will recomend that you make inner work thinking if what you think its because depression or its your own personality, maybe yo dont want to have a boyfriend and thats also okey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read what I wrote at the start of my post..... I. E the post is written from my own experience

      Delete
  3. I can tell from my own experience that dating someone/being in a relationship while suffering from an ED has destroyed a long term relationship of almost 4 years, very slowly but steady, until there was nothing left but desperation and resignation (from my ex-boyfriend) and sadness and isolation (from myself). We had been dating for almost 2 years when anorexia hit me. It is extremely difficult for the other person to break through the wall the person with the mental illness has built around her/him. My ex tried everything he could and in the end, I ended the relationship because I couldn't see him going down with me, it was heartbreaking. I wanted to be alone with my ED without hurting anybody else and also not being "disturbed" in my illness. Giving true and honest love to another person when you hate yourself is next to impossible. I wouldn't say any relationship in which one person suffers from a mental illness is doomed to fail ( especially long term relationships can be stable enough to overcame this "phase" because there is already a built-in-intimacy) but it is certainly next to impossible and in my opinion a very selfish thing to start a relationship when you're deep down in depression or an ED and "expect" the other new person to bring all the happiness to you to make your sad life a little brighter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe you split with your ppartner because when you met you weren't ill, now you have an ED the relationship starts to hurt both of you, so you decide to stop.
      If you have a mindset where the only reason to be in a relationship is to "expect the other new person to bring all the happiness to you to make your sad life a little brighter"this couple wont work because you are the only one able to overcome your dissorder thougts.
      But if you mindset is:I wont let irrational thoughts that come with depression stop me from: sharing my life with a person/create my own family/wake up every morning to go to university/meet with my dearest friends....
      Maybe things will start working for you.
      Also I dont undestand when from my coment you conclused that a depressed person that is in a relationship is because she/he expects the other person make their sad life brighter.

      Delete
    2. I think her comment was just her own experience.... you can't tell her why her relationship might have ended,only she and her partner knows the reasons. Of course dating someone or struggling with a mental illness yourself can work... it's all about the individuals.

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Izzy..I was just stating MY personal experience. Also I mentioned that not EVERY relationship is going to fail because of a mental illness. But tbh, when I was deep down in my ED (I am recovered by now), I was far from thinking about creating my own family, I couldn't even get up in the morning due to physical weakness and go to university, I was rather occupied with just getting through the day somehow. Having a healthy relationship was - at least for me- impossible at this point.

      Delete
  4. My experience of depression and the effect it had on my relationship with my partner is somewhat different. Although I shut myself down emotionally ie isolated myself from my friends, didn't talk to my partner very much I also became very needy of him. What didn't help was that in the early weeks I couldn't be left on my own, so he had to take time from work to look after me. Basically although I withdrew into myself I was terrified of being alone in the house. I had to be with him 24/7. Iould like to say that as a result we became closer but this really wasn't a healthy position to be in and put an enormous strain on our relationship. He has since told me that although I was present physically, emotionally it was as if I had placed a shield around myself that nothing and no one could penetrate. The real me had disappeared and in her place was a silent, detached person who was completely numb. But in those early weeks I clung to him - if he hadn't been there I really don`t know what would have become of me. I needed constant reassurance and the knowledge that I wasn't on my own - which is strange because up until I became ill I enjoyed having "me time" and was quite independent, happy in my own company and to do things that didn't involve my partner all the time. So I don`t unserstand to this day just why I became so needy of him yet on the other hand remained so emotionally detached.
    So depression gets you in different ways and if you write more posts on this subject Izzy I would find them very interesting.
    I am so glad though that you have managed to overcome the worst of your depression and feel like you can live life again. I hope you do meet someone very special, after all that you have been through you deserve to be happy.

    ReplyDelete