Unrequited love and depression
It seems to be human nature to want what you can't have.
The big house. The fancy car. A better paying job. But no matter how much people complain about money, especially in this economy, it seems the thing that hurts the most is loving someone who doesn't love you back.
And, with Valentine's Day coming up next week, the chocolates and flowers filling the aisles at stores only seem to serve as an unwelcome reminder to those experiencing unrequited love.
But chances are, if you are alive, you know what that feels like. You know what it feels like to have feelings for someone who doesn't feel the same. And it is a horrible feeling. There's a reason why it's called a "broken heart" -- because your chest literally aches.
And it's easy to feel like the reason that person doesn't feel the same is because something is wrong with you -- even though that's not true. This is from someone who has dealt with this several times in her life. Romantic feelings, honestly, don't make sense and can't be forced. Life is not like a movie where, if you try hard enough, the other person will have no other choice but to fall in love with you.
Therapist Mark Tyrrell writes in Uncommon Help, "It feels like it's always going to feel this way; but it won't always feel this way … Get into the habit of self-hypnotically projecting your mind into the future - to a time when you can look back to the present and wonder what all the fuss was about."
But this is easier said than done. If only crystal balls existed...life would be so much easier.
Dr. Riaz Baber tells the Naperville Sun, "The number of people who become depressed because of a genetic predisposition or as a part of other ongoing medical issues have stayed, proportionally, pretty much the same ... The third cause, which we call the ‘social issues’ that include loss of a job or spouse or having no social life — is on the rise.”
Unrequited love can lead to many harmful side effects. Studies show that it leads to increased alcohol and drug use. David Brendal, M.D. of the McLean Hospital, told ABC News that self-medicating oneself with alcohol, marijuana or cocaine serves as a quick fix for larger problems, but that it only gives temporary relief that, in the long run, intensifies the overall problems.
Instead, don't be afraid to talk about it. Talk to your friends or a medical professional. Many times we are ashamed to talk about it. We don't want to admit that we like someone who doesn't feels the same way. But, trust me, if you open up to someone, I can guarantee he or she will say, "I know how you feel. I've been there."
Some other tips on how to deal with these feelings on Valentine's Day:
1. Do not, and I repeat do not, watch a lovey dovey movie. Instead, rent a comedy like "Superbad." Or, when I was rejected by a guy I liked, my friends and I watched "House of Wax." There's nothing like a scary movie to make you forget how you feel -- especially a scary movie where Paris Hilton gets beheaded. Or have a "How I Met Your Mother" marathon, which is on its eighth season and the main character still hasn't met the "mother."
2. Get a massage. Doctors say massages help relieve symptoms of depression (and is a lot better place to throw your money than booze or weed).
3. Even if you don't feel like it, go out. Take a fun class to meet others (maybe this will also cause you to meet *someone* and take your mind off the person who doesn't feel the same) or host an anti-Valentine's Day party (I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who share your sentiments). If you can't be with the person you love, instead do something you love.
4. Take a vacation from social media. The last thing you want is to see the plethora of photographs of bouquets of flowers and mushy status updates.
And, most importantly, remember that depression is treatable.