I’ve never dated much—not in my 20s where you’ll date anything that moves just to say you’re not alone—not in my 30s where you still have hope of that white picket fence—and not in my 40s where now you’re just looking for a little fun and companionship. I’ve loved, deeply, but being so shy, I was never good at playing the field.
Now that I work from home here in Atlanta and have 24 books in publication, it’s not been easy to get out and meet someone. The fact that I’m surrounded by wildly hot gay men, surprisingly doesn’t help. So, last month in a moment of insanity, I decided to join an online dating service. The cost was pretty ridiculous, so I figured anyone on there would probably be serious about finding something. I loaded up my profile, oddly tongue-tied for an author, and let it fly.
I’ve gotten about 80 responses so far. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen me make reference to a few of them. It’s turned out to be a great source for #RandomConversations because some of the things I’ve gotten make little sense. So far as meeting guys, however, it’s been kind of a nightmare for me. Not because they aren’t responding, but because they are and I’m not the beautiful, witty, charming girl they signed up to meet. It takes me a while to respond to emails I get, even emails I’m interested in, because I don’t know what to say. It’s like a constant job interview for a job you’re not even sure you want.
There is a guy I went on a couple of dates with—he made it easy. He liked what I had to say, he thought I was pretty, and his affection for me made me feel like maybe we could find something. Then, I fucked it up. I won’t mince words because that’s exactly what happened.
The problem I have with dating is that there are things I cannot hide. I can’t keep up the façade of normalcy for very long. If you’ve never been on depression medication – it doesn’t make you happy. That’s not what it’s for. Depression makes your moods swing from—okay, I’m fine—to hey, I feel kinda good today—to why the fuck do I bother? Seriously, it used to take nothing to make me swing down into the darkness. The medication is supposed to keep my mood even, so it doesn’t bottom out. For the most part, it does that. But, when I’m emotionally vulnerable, or isolated, or hurt, sometimes it still gives me problems—like when I’m on a constant fucking job interview.
I hadn’t planned to tell him about the depression and the meds, not right away. Of course, I’d have to tell him eventually—but a few things stopped me. First, he said he and his wife divorced because “she had issues”. Jesus, I don’t have issues, I have entire subscriptions. The other is that on a lot of profiles, it specifically states that people don’t want “crazies” or someone who is “heavily medicated”. I have no idea if I’m heavily medicated—my dosage is at half the max. Is that heavily? I still have my original Xanax prescription from April, so that’s not heavy use. But the point is crystal clear – no one wants to deal with someone with my kind of issues.
But, out of concern one night, he asked about my insomnia and rather than lie—I told him. I’m medicated for depression and anxiety, and those medications cause insomnia. After that, for some reason, a reason which is probably completely unrelated, our conversations slowed considerably. It could have been because he works nights or spent his downtime playing PS4. I don’t know. I don’t know because I didn’t ask and we developed a significant disconnect. The more we disconnected, the less we talked and my insecurities got the better of me. I wish I could take back those last few texts—even at my worst, those weren’t me. I was angry and embarrassed that I can’t be normal. Trust me, nothing would please me more, but life doesn’t work that way.
I’m honestly sorry, not only that I said things to him that I shouldn’t have, but because I lost contact with a really good guy. I miss the easy way we could talk to each other. I miss his affection and his easy laughter. More than that, I hate knowing that this cycle is just going to keep repeating itself. I know that it’s worse in my head than what other people see—but inside my head is the only perspective that I have and that will keep me from finding someone who can look past it.
So, for those of you who battle with depression (because it’s not just about “suffering from” it, it’s about an all-out fucking war)—know that you’re not alone. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or married—the same fight happens inside you that happens inside me. The same humiliation breaks your spirit when you can’t control it or someone learns just how dark it is inside your head. People who have never dealt with it don’t understand, they can’t. Trying to explain it is like trying to describe space—it’s dark and it feels infinite, and other than that, I don’t fucking know what’s there. But we take the next steps, we go on to the next day, and most days we’re fine. The days we’re not, we hide—or we seek solace we just can’t find.
Me? I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep blogging. I’ll keep taking the meds. I’ll keep doing all the things that keep my emotional health in check. I don’t know if I’ll keep dating—it seems kind of pointless right now. My friends deal with the shit in my head because they love me. I can’t imagine anyone would want to take that on that didn’t have to.