I remember when I first realized I was depressed and went on my anti-depressants, I instantly thought if anyone ever found out I was depressed, I would be judged by my friends.
I was convinced I would lose all my friends if they knew, that they'd think I was too sad to be around. This the unfortunate reality for many who suffer from depression.
They feel their moods are too much to handle for other people and they can't possibly have a normal life because they're "damaged."
The reality is sometimes we can't control our moods and sometimes we do just need to be sad. Most of all, we just need to know those who love and care about us wont judge us or abandon us.
As I near the "dirty 30," I'd like to think I've come to terms with my diagnosis and it's because of this I think I have the strong relationships I do with the people in my life.
Granted, it's not easy, but sometimes it helps to talk, share and know you're not alone.
When it comes to being in a relationship with someone who has depression, there are things you can be aware of to help and be supportive.
When we're having moments of sadness, anger or even isolation, know it won't "just pass" or go away. Don't tell us it'll be okay or "everyone has these moments" because what we feel is unique to us.
When it comes to depression, there are times it can feel like the world is against us, no matter how much it might not seem like that to you.
Know some days are better than others. Some days, we just can't handle it and we'll throw in the white flag. When we feel like giving up, don't get mad or frustrated with us for quitting -- let us be.
I promise you it won't always be like this, but there will be times when you just need to step aside and let us navigate through.
If your person is anything like me, we've had years of mastering how to manage our moods and temper. We know our triggers and we (sometimes) can try to prevent it before it becomes a full-blown mess.
When I started dating my fiancé, I knew I would inevitably have to share this part of my life with her. I worried my mental health would cause our relationship to fail. As a result, I learned communication is essential.
Communicating won't always be easy -- there will be times you'll ask how we're feeling, and it'll feel like you're pulling teeth. But don't give up on us. We just struggle sometimes to put what we feel into words.
I used to think my sexuality would define my success, but I was wrong. Now I know my mental health does not define me, either. This is something that can be hard to accept, but it needs to be remembered.
Just because you suffer from a mental illness doesn't mean you can't have a successful career, let alone a successful relationship. And when you're dating someone with depression, remember this is something that's a part of them.
Just like their quirky food habits or snoring, mental health issues don't simply go away.
One of the hardest things for me when I was diagnosed with depression was trying to figure out how to just go about my day. When you've been managing your mental health for many years, you eventually create this version of normalcy that might not be the same as everyone else's.
Our reactions sometimes differ. For example, what you might not find funny, we may find out-of-this-world hilarious. Please be understanding and don't judge or give us weird looks. Laugh with us (if you think it's funny) or smile.
While you choose to love us despite our depression, it's important to know we don't have a choice about being depressed.
It can be difficult to understand how someone who seems so successful and so full of life could suffer from depression, but the reality is people who suffer from mental health issues often seem OK and suffer in silence.
We know our moods can be exhausting for you, but it's exhausting for us too.
If you choose to love us and stick with us, know that in turn, we'll fight to beat our depression.