Dating a depressed person

Suppose you had treatment-resistant depression (or any chronic mental illness), assuming that you had been going the medication-and-therapy route for years to no avail, and that you were doing all you could to help yourself in your condition, but that you were just not able to function on the same level as a healthy person (i.e., too unstable to keep a job, on social assistance, disability status, etc.).Assume also that you had had this condition your entire adult life and did not expect to get better any time soon–unless there was a significant breakthrough in the field of antidepressants or therapy techniques. How would you find a partner who would accept that you were not healthy and could not have a job or “contribute” to society, but could still love you for you?Or if your condition did not improve and you stayed that way your whole life, would you be expected to live a celibate/companion-less life?Are there any particular pitfalls in dating that depressed people are more susceptible to than healthy people?All of these people might be kind, deserving people, but they’re not going to end up with the dream job simply because they’re kind and as worthy of an amazing career as the next guy. I’ve seen relationships torn apart by depression, generally where one partner tries to overlook the other partners’ significant issues.If the next guy went to an Ivy League school, had his still-married parents pay for his grad school, and chose a career path that allowed him to capitalize on the tech boom, that guy is going to have a better job 99% of the time. But those issues always come back to haunt the couple, the same way you’re still haunted by your own chronic mental health. And that’s not a life that most people are going to voluntarily sign up for.

Every time I raise this issue in the therapist’s office, it gets dismissed. I’m really interested in getting your opinion on this whole complex issue. And not in some sort of vague, quasi-sympathetic way either.

They got caught up in their own rebellion and never went to college. I was a cesspool of negativity, scattered thinking and helplessness. I didn’t even like to be around myself – why would any woman enjoy being around me?

They had kids too young and couldn’t give as much to their careers. Especially when she can choose to keep the company of another guy who wasn’t crying spontaneously every morning.

I’ve never seen this issue addressed in a way that’s been helpful to me. I had trouble with anxiety in my early 20’s and depression in my late 20’s, so I know what it’s like to attempt to function with that black cloud hanging over your head at all times.

The only response I’ve ever gotten was the clichéd “You need to be healthy to start a relationship. My issue was largely situational – subconscious freak-outs about graduating college in 1994 and the shattered dreams of failing to become a Hollywood screenwriter in 2001.

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