Carly Sletten
May 18, 2016 8:45 am
iStock / Archv

My boyfriend and I both suffer from anxiety and depression. When we met, it took a while to tell each other what we were dealing with. In fact, neither of us had even been professionally diagnosed yet.  Now, almost seven years later, we are still trying to understand how these conditions affect our lives and how to manage them in a healthy way, both as individuals and together. Some people think that sounds like a nightmare. Some are happy or relieved that we have each other to weather the storm with. While our situation can easily be one or the other, the reality is that it’s more of a combination of both. Here’s what life is really like for us, and what we wish people knew.

Just because we both suffer from anxiety and depression, does not necessarily mean that we always understand each other.

So many times people will say, “Well, that’s nice that you have each other to learn on. You can’t really get mad at someone if you understand what they are going through.” When I hear this I feel like I want to scream. Just because I understand what it feels like to have a panic attack or be overly anxious about something, it doesn’t mean that I can’t feel annoyed or frustrated with my boyfriend when he’s in the midst of one. We are both human, and while I might understand, I still have feelings and reactions based on my partner’s actions and vice versa. No, that doesn’t mean we are heartless and cold people. It just means that we are a couple, and couples get annoyed at each other. Ours is a relationship just like yours, with the same issues everyone else experiences.

All forms of anxiety and depression are uniquely different. We don’t both have the exact same struggles.

Every case of anxiety or depression is different from the other, so no, we don’t experience the same thing or have the same symptoms. That means we also take care of our health in different ways. We don’t judge each other for what works best for each of us, and we expect that from the world as well. Suggestions and advice are nice, but with something so personal, we’d prefer to leave that up to our doctors. We also aren’t professionals by any means. We just have some life experience about how these conditions affect our lives. If you think you might be feeling similar things, please don’t ask us, ask a doctor. We want you to be healthy and safe, and we would never want to do or say anything that isn’t the right choice for your situation.

Sometimes we spend entire days alone, together.

I remember the first time I told a friend that my boyfriend and I spent our entire Saturday in separate rooms in our apartment. She said, “Oh man that sucks. You guys fighting?” The reality of that situation was simply that we were both feeling overwhelmed with our weeks and all we really wanted was some alone time to decompress. What might seem like relationship discord to outsiders, it’s really more like we love each other too much to put each other through our moodiness. We just sit back and give each other the space and time we need to stay healthy. Don’t worry about us, we are going to be fine!

Just because we turn down invites, it doesn’t mean we want you to stop inviting us.

One of the biggest issues we both deal with more often than we would like is the feeling that we’d like nothing more than to be home alone after a long week. Sometimes the idea of being at a crowded house party or busy bar on a Friday night is enough to send us into a panic attack on its own. That doesn’t mean we never want to go out and socialize or hang with friends. All it means is that sometimes we will say, “no thanks, we can’t make it” and sometimes we will be the life of the party. Just don’t stop asking us, because there will be just as many times we accept as we decline.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful that my partner understands me and that he always has my back. Our relationship is unique and it presents us with challenges every single day, but we are stronger together for them. We’re just a regular couple, making it through the best way we can!