Understand Your Limits
Many times when we decide to start dating again, we think that our sole duty is to impress the other person. Though that is a part of the process, one of the most important things you can do is understand your limits.
Know exactly how much social energy you have to offer, and stick to that.
If you know that more than one outing a week is too much for you, don’t plan two. It’s okay to say “I’m sorry, I can’t do that this week, would next week be okay?”.
People always take rain-checks better than being ghosted. Social exhaustion is real, and so many people suffer from it, that whoever you decide to date is likely to completely understand!
When you do make the plans to go out, be sure to figure out how far you want to go on the date. Decide before you even leave home, make sure it’s clear to your date, and stick to your guns. One of the worst things about depression is that it’ll make you relive an uncomfortable situation for weeks, thinking about everything you should’ve said or done.
Don’t let it. Be sure you know how far is too far, and plan ahead to avoid those cringey encounters.
Be serious about your self-care
Self-care comes in many forms. For one person, it might mean physical pampering. For another, it might be spiritual healing. But for all, it’s psychological support. Always, always, always make sure that you have a mental health specialist in your corner before you even think about dating.
Everyone has things to offer in a relationship, but you don’t want your only things to be toxicity and bad behavioral patterns due to depression.
Get a therapist, and see them regularly. Let them know that you’re thinking about dating and allow them to help!
I know that the act of seeking help when you’re going through an episode is almost unthinkable, and can feel pointless, but trust me- it’s worth it. You can get better, and you will. You just have to ask for help.
Speaking of, knowing when to ask for help is a super important part of self-care as well. The people around you are there because they love you and would do anything for you. Take advantage of that. Make sure to reach out to them if you feel like life is becoming too big for you. Call your therapist. Let someone know that you’re not okay so that you can start to feel better.
Seek out people who are patient and gentle
This might be the most crucial tip of them all. When dating, the Who is always more important that’s the When. You should seek out people with personality traits that relax you and bring you peace. Look for people who are:
- Noticeably calm
- Nice to others for no apparent reason
- Good to their friends/family
- Kind to animals
- Understanding of your depression
These are the types of people who will give you the time and space you need to open up to them. If you feel rushed or pressured to give more of yourself than you’re willing to, remove yourself before it goes any further.
Your mental health is not your identity, and you deserve to be loved as deeply as anyone else.
Remember that. There are some people who would have you believe the opposite, but take my word for it- you are worth it.
Not only should you find someone who is patient with you, but you should also be patient with yourself! Give yourself room for mistakes and rejection. It’s a natural part of dating, so try to work on being comfortable with it.
Having depression can truly be overwhelming and discouraging, especially when you want to start dating. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
You can put yourself out there without it completely backfiring on you if you understand your limits, take your self-care seriously, and seek people who are patient, and good to you. Depression is not a death sentence, so get back on the horse!