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DearSugar Needs Your Help: How Can I Get Out of My Slump?

DearSugar and In the Dumps Daria need your help. She's struggling with depression and is having a hard time meeting someone special. I offer my advice on how to meet men all the time, but what works for you? Hopefully hearing your success stories will help keep Daria's spirits high so she can break free from her relationship slump.

Dear Sugar,

I'm a 26-year-old woman who has been battling with serious depression for three years. I'm on medication and see a therapist regularly, and I have thankfully noticed an improvement in the last year. I feel in control of my emotions and am more hopeful about the future.

The one thing that really hasn't gotten better is my personal life. I haven't had a serious boyfriend in almost four years, and my feelings of loneliness really exacerbate my depression. I've tried dating but I just haven't found anyone compatible, and what's worse is that I go through periods of extreme discouragement. It's a terrible cycle — the depression makes it hard to meet someone, and meeting the wrong someone (or no one) makes my depression worse. Plus four long years of single life has made me fear being alone forever. I don't have low self-esteem, so how can I get myself out of this relationship slump? — In the Dumps Daria


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alexask alexask 8 years
i'm definitely not an expert, and i think my bouts of depression have been mainly situational, but i have had low self esteem, i was just naturally irrationally shy and self conscious for a long time. i would suggest actually listening to yourself think. pretend to step outside yourself and observe the way you think. something is turning your thoughts into negative thoughts, and you have to eliminate that thing. try to turn thoughts that go off the deep-end, ie depressing thoughts, into problem solving thoughts. turn the negative cycle of bad thoughts and bad events into a positive one. also, go with the flow to an extent. you have so much time, i think it may be because you're obsessing over these problems why it seems like it's taking forever. like madonna said, time goes by so slowly for those who wait. haha ok seriously though, you're young and you must believe the right person will come. they will.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well the thing to remember is that you're not alone in this one. even those who aren't suffering from depression go through this, and it's not fun, but there is hope. i think that sometimes we put too much importance on trying to find the perfect mate, and that's kind of i think that if you put yourself out there to just make new friends, chances are you are going to find someone that you want to have as more than just a friend. surround yourself with people that are good for you - your girlfriends, and that will raise your confidence and your spirits and sometimes i've even found that friends have perfect guys for us, and that could lead you to the man of your dreams. luckily you're still young and you've got your whole life ahead of you so be patient.
babysoftpink babysoftpink 8 years
Relationship is a tricky thing for someone who is prone to depression. I think it's best that you tried to build a strong foundation to other things in your life first. When everyone is in good conditions, then you will automatically be stronger and ready to face the ups and downs of a relationship. No relationship is perfect and ups and downs is part of it. If you are still dealing with your depression, the ups and downs will throw you off. perhaps you could set other goals first like educational, career, friendship, physically (fitness or weight gain) once you have taken smaller steps and know that you could live without depression, you are ready for a relationship. Most importantly, the work that you put in, in these other areas will make you feel stronger. Even if the down of a relationship throws you off, you will be supported by the network you built with many that share similar interest as you.
yaelly yaelly 8 years
I am in a similar situation... 25 with depression, 3 years single and only just now beginning to date. The depression just makes the loneliness worse and when you get that bit of attention for someone you hope so much for it to turn to something more just because you want it so much. After a bit of counselling I have learnt more and more how important it is that you based your happiness on you and not someone else. My suggestion is to take up something you enjoy or do something you've always wanted to do... I know its not a magic fix believe me I still have my days but I find when I am better is at the moments when I decide to live for me and not anyone else. Good luck!
Advah Advah 8 years
I agree with Jules - I noticed that by "personal life" you mean "relationships". It's sometimes difficult to be single when you're not going well, but I think you shouldn't see a relationship as something that will necessarily help you get over your insecurities or your depression. :) Try and see it the opposite way - if you are happy and well, then you will know what you want out of a relationship, or when you are truly happy with someone. Give yourself a break, you're only 26! No matter how long it takes, focus on feeling better about yourself. If you don't have a boyfriend to talk to, then talk to relatives and/or friends. I found out it really helps to have people to go for walks with, or that will just distract you from your bad day for a few hours. Join a club, go out...
hautepink hautepink 8 years
Loving yourself is first and foremost the most important step to getting a successful relationship. It's the cheesiest thing to say, but it's very true. There is no "perfect" relationship or "perfect guy", which in my opinion, humbles the situation of finding someone to be with. But wanting someone to be with just because you are lonely always ends up in more heartache. Why? Because, if you find someone and you date them for a couple of months and then you date for a couple of years and they are super nice, cute, special, but there are little things that don't click and you are just waiting it out for it to work out, it never does. You'll be in a relationship for the sole fact of just being in one. I've been there and I've learned that if you can't be happy with yourself, alone, or with someone who you have to be alone with, then you should even think about dating.
Percy Percy 8 years
Second Mesayme... Also: a) Be prepared to take one step forward, then 3 steps backwards. It's a long, frustrating and tiring journey so please don't get discouraged. If you are doing 'better' now, at least you are no longer in your 'lowest' point so that's a good start. b) You could feel lonely even if you are in a relationship. It's ok to be alone - there is a difference. If you are cool with being alone, then you don't have to be afraid of being lonely. No one can fill that gap inside you if you cannot first find a way to feel fulfilled by yourself. c) Going through depression can be an isolating experience and sometimes when that 'moment' hits you, no matter how loud you scream or how hard you kick. Hang in there - really - hang on tight to your friends and take some deeep breaths. Get out of the house and take a walk around the block. Good luck, please know that you are not alone in battling depression.
Bodhar Bodhar 8 years
I really think you should discuss this with your therapist. She can provide you with tools to help you learn to feel whole with or without someone significant. Keep in mind, you're 24. The odds that you will never ever find someone who is compatible to you before the end of your long life are VERY low. But you can't enrich someone's life until you are complete in your own.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
Damn! I should have charged for that one. :P
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
(that photo is ridiculous...LOL) BUT anyway... Well Daria, "on medication and see a therapist regularly" >make sure your on the correct medicine or if you even need to be on medicine or if the medicine is causing side effects. I personally don't do depression medicine based on my own research but if you need it and it helps take it. But it needs to be reevaluated...and the dose adjusted on a regular basis! "haven't had a serious boyfriend in almost four years, and my feelings of loneliness really exacerbate my depression" >I think you're putting too much focus on finding a serious relationship...just live your life with or without a partner to help you live it. "tried dating but I just haven't found anyone compatible, and what's worse is that I go through periods of extreme discouragement" >That's normal, you also go through discouragement from unfulfillable on jobs and school...even attending the same church you feel you're getting nothing from. Maybe just stop dating for a long time, and just seeing men as friends. Worked for me and I'm doing just fine. "four long years of single life has made me fear being alone forever" >If you are a complete person, you will always see yourself as WITH yourself; therefore, you are alone but not necessarily lonely. Figure out what makes you a complete you and when you meet someone who fits you... you'll know. By then, you won't settle or compromise so much you're miserable again and then there's no need to feel insecure. Remember, many women have a husband, brag about him and secretly hate's not all it's made out to be all the time. OK? Best wishes to you Daria.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
In your state of mind, you're not ready to date. Because i think as much as it can affect you positively, it can also exacerbate your condition.
lemuse20 lemuse20 8 years
You gotta take some rain in order to get the sun. Perhaps you could stop focusing and worrying on such things as finding someone compatable (yeah, harder said than done, but it can be done!), you are so not alone in this world. Find some hobbies, go out and meet people, learn new things. Life is just too short, find joy in the little things!
gaulearnedimp gaulearnedimp 8 years
I agree with Jules. If you're happy and confident, you'll have 100x more prospective dates. With that many dates, you wont have to worry about being incompatible. You'll find someone awesome without trying. You're only 26. Focus on yourself and all the experiences that are yet to come.
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
honestly, i think you are putting way too much pressure on yourself and wayyyy too much importance on having a relationship when what you should be doing is focusing on you and what makes you happy and getting yourself better. go out with your friends, and make new ones. don't look at every guy like they aren't compatible as a relationship. instead get to know people as friends. you're looking at people and judging them based on your relationship standards. i think thats the last thing you should be doing right now... get out there... enjoy yourself and when the right guy comes along it'll just happen instead of you looking for it.
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