top of page

Is My Love For Him Real Or Imagined?-From a Depression and Anxiety perspective

Love, through centuries has been expressed in different ways. Our ideas of romantic love keeps changing from time to time. There are so many forms of love and various ways that love is experienced and exhibited. There's unrequited love, there's romantic & passionate love, there's compassion, there's attachment and there's an emotionally dependent love. With all of this, comes one more added burden of experience, and that is commitment. We confuse love with attachment/ commitment and that is where most people face a problem. Truth is, there is no way that two individuals can feel and experience love in the exact same way. 


I have met many people who are going through anxiety and depression. One thing common in them is the guilt they encounter if they realize that they do not feel the same way about their partner any longer. For example, if there is someone who is in a relationship, might feel that she no longer loves her partner the way she used to earlier, purely because she doesn't feel the constant need to be around him any longer. This girl goes through tremendous suffering because she starts doubting the very fundamental ground of their relationship. She eventually starts questioning and doubting her love for her current partner. Anxiety and depression can cause excessive feelings of guilt in a person. Amidst these constant thoughts of worry and feelings of guilt, the love and attraction she feels for her partner, seem diminished to her. That scares her, because the fear of losing her partner intensifies.

Depression causes intense feelings of guilt

It is the way we think about love. If I think that love between a man and a woman is meant to be intense, then I would expect the same from my relationship. I would want to feel a strong connection with my partner all the time, I expect myself to enjoy and cherish every single moment spent with him, I expect myself to be attracted to my partner. But what if, I start defining love in a different way? What is, I think that love is an emotion, like any other emotion we experience, and you experience it when there is an external stimulus. Love is just like anger, fear, jealousy, happiness, joy, contentment. Do we feel angry all the time? Or fearful all the time? All of these emotions are triggered by external situations. So is love. 


A question then arises, what is it when people say "We are in love with each other"? Well, when you have strong feelings of attachment, you tend to associate that with love. A relationship is very complex. It does not survive purely based on love. It requires respect, trust, attraction, space, a feeling of commitment and most importantly, how you see your future together. The main reason why most relationships break is because either one of the partners or both partners view their future differently than the other. For example, I met a couple once and they parted ways because one of them wanted to settle outside of India and the other one wanted to settle down in India. If love is so strong, then why do these external circumstances and changes matter? Why can't two people be in love with each other, stay in the same relationship and yet live in different countries? The answer is simple: The future goals of one person does not match the other's. When two people start viewing their future as separate from their partner, a sudden feeling of loneliness creeps in, and very few people on this planet wish to be lonely.

Future is perceived as a narrow tunnel in depression

The purpose of this article is not to talk about how love can last long. However , it is about how is love defined and experienced by people who are going through anxiety or depression or both. As mentioned earlier, most relationships are based on how two people perceive their future choices. It is a known fact that someone who is in depression can perceive very little about the future. Or at least a happy, meaningful future. You can ask someone with depression how they feel about their goals. They will have a difficult time even imagining a fruitful life. A depressed person usually sees the world with a tunnel view. They also perceive the world as gloomy and dark, and suddenly most things in the life of the person, loses its meaning and purpose. Here, the brain chemistry of depression plays a very important part. Therefore, if you are in depression, it is likely that you may not feel the initial emotions of falling in love and being in love. Sometimes, depression can take a completely opposite turn, where you get overly emotionally attached to your partner, because you need them to be with you. Sometimes, the fear of loneliness is so intense, that a person with depression can confuse feelings of love with emotional dependence. It can get really messy at times, because you tend to cling on to your partner, and it might create toxicity in the relationship.

Anxiety can cause clinging behaviour

Now, what happens when you have anxiety and you are in a relationship? An anxious person perceives the world, a result of too many negative consequences. For example, if someone is worried about their job, then they will keep thinking about all possible negative consequences of them doing that job. "Is this the right place for me to work?" "I think I just wasted 10 months in this place and I've gained nothing. What if I have taken the wrong decision?" "What if I am unable to complete my project in the given time? Will we lose the client?" and so on and so forth. An anxious person imagines all possible scenarios that can go wrong. The same holds true when they think about their relationship. If they feel guilt when they are attracted to another, instead of accepting it as an experience, they will think all possible outcomes "Maybe I don't love my partner enough and probably we will break up." "What if he comes to know I'm attracted to someone else", etc. If they feel jealousy, then they will again imagine all possible situations where the relationship can go wrong. "What if he finds her more attractive than me?" "What if he leaves me for someone else?", etc.

Anxiety and depression are not easy to deal with. Both bring about a very devastating effect on our personal and professional life. However, if you have anxiety, depression or both, and if you are questioning your relationship, then just remember the following: 1. ACCEPTANCE

Accept what you are going through in your relationship is largely because of your anxiety or depression. There may be fundamental flaws in the relationship. However, learn to identify those, and separate them from your feelings and thoughts associated with it. For example, if your partner is abusive, and if you question yourself, "Do I love him? Is he the right partner for me?", your question is rational and valid, because this is a fundamental area of difference between you and your partner. However, if you are having negative thoughts about your relationship, speak to an unbiased third party who can hold a mirror for your relationship. Also, it is sometimes easier to accept that your anxiety and depression is causing disturbance to you and your relationship. 2. PATIENCE & COMMUNICATION

Communicate with your partner what you are experiencing. Understand and accept his/her views about your relationship. Let them know about the struggle you are going through, without expecting to latch on to them. Your partner is as clueless as you are with regards to what is happening in the relationship. Talk about your insecurities and let them know about the things they do that triggers your insecurities. Be patient with yourself and with your partner. Be careful when you treat them as your emotional dumping bag. Try not to dump your guilt, jealousy, and most importantly, anger on to your partner. Find an appropriate outlet for the same.

3. SELF LOVE & SELF GROWTH

This is the most important part of the healing process. When you have a good self esteem, petty insecurities in the relationship cease to matter. Your self assurance is very important in a relationship, whether depressed, anxious or not. Work on your self and get help to achieve a healthy self esteem. Your partner is your companion. He will be there for you when your relationship is healthy. However, do not forget, it is only you, who can be with yourself for the rest of your life. 4. TAKE CARE OF YOUR PARTNER'S NEEDS

Try to understand that your partner is also going through a rough time in this relationship. Be it dealing with your temper at times, or your depressed state, or you anxious thoughts. He is going through his own life simultaneously. Be a little empathetic towards him. Make sure that you don't dump every emotional baggage on him. This simple understanding can strengthen your relationship.

Relationships are complex. Human nature is complex. A strong relationship can be built by two understanding and empathetic individuals. First, take care of yourself and you will find beauty in your partner and your relationship eventually. You may not trust your emotions at times. Give yourself some credit for making it through so far. You can and you will overcome depression and anxiety with the help of your loved ones. Give them an opportunity to help you, and give yourself the courage to help yourself.

32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page