How to cope with being depressed over your crush?

In this guide we will discuss the human experience of having crushes and what to do if you find yourself depressed over a crush. 

We will take a close look at what happens to you psychologically when you have crushes and why crushes tend to be emotionally painful. 

We will also discuss what you are actually feeling following a crush and what you can do to cope.

How to cope with being depressed over your crush?

Here are a few things you can do and steps you can take to cope with being distressed over your crush:

  • Talk to someone
  • Write to express
  • Spend time with yourself
  • Allow yourself to feel without judgement 
  • Experience new things and new people

The psychology of crushes

In  psychology, there is no clinical definition for a crush. However, the experience is mainly rooted in fantasy. When a person has a crush, they are mostly projecting what they desire onto someone else- usually this person is not fully known to them.

Developing a crush on someone often happens with people you’re still getting to know- they are new to us and a complete mystery. The possibilities make it entirely addicting or intoxicating. 

When we see a potential crush, an upperclassman or a stranger at a work party, our brain tends to go through a few changes. In fact studies have show that the brain associates pleasure with the experience of meeting them or seeing them releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin which can increase heartbeat and bing about that “butterflies in the stomach” experience. 

It’s not just seeing them but because our brain is wired to want more of these “good feelings”, simply thinking about them can release these chemicals which leads to developing an addictive cycle. This is why when we have a crush, we tend to be overwhelmed by thoughts of them and continuously seek them out.

The more we come across them, think of them, and get to experience things with them or around them, the brain becomes hooked on these positive feelings that are a result of the chemicals in the brain. 

This association makes us evaluate them in a positive light and we almost regard them as our perfect mate without knowing anything about them. This perfect fantasy is further fueled by our own imagination and we often tend to overlook inconsistencies and red flags. 

Why do crushes hurt so bad?

Now because of how crushes are set up psychologically, we tend to have a lot of our own emotions and thoughts riding on it. We tend to idolize them and fantasise ourselves as their perfect partner as they are believed to be ours.

So when our crush doesn’t reciprocate our feelings or when we realise that they are already with someone else, it can be a crushing experience. We grieve not only the disappointment of a possible lost love but over a hurt ego and a ‘what if’. 

We might see it as a personal failure. We failed to get them attracted to us, or want us the way we want them. We feel like there is something wrong with us that makes them overlook us. At the end of the day, rejection and disappointment becomes about who we are.

We all have insecurities and with this world that has impossible standards on beauty, success, and perfection it is no surprise for us to be insecure about our body, our abilities, and our lifestyles. 

It is very easy for those very insecurities to be brought to the fore when someone rejects us. We are crushed by the faults we judge ourselves to have- the hair, the neigh, the wrong car, the wrong group of friends. 

We are relentless in the way we criticise ourselves after our failures and oftentimes when we do not have a healthy support group- friends and family, these insecurities can overwhelm us. 

Another reason why we are so disappointed when crushes don;t work out is because we become too fixated on the what ifs. What if we were perfect for each other? What if she secretly liked me? What if she was the one? 

The uncertainty is overwhelming and the regret of not being able to get through can cause a lot of distress and emotional frustration. The fact that we have romanticised the crush and the longing aspect of it so much, we can get trapped into this yearning that we might find difficult to come out of. 

Unlike a relationship that has fallen out of love, having a crush does not allow you to try it out and experience the reality of love and all that it takes to make it work, you did not get a chance to grow into and out of your feelings.

So you are left in a limbo of what ifs and why nots which can be frustrating and even a little confusing. Let us take a moment to address whether you are struggling with depression or whether you are simply feeling dejected after the disappointment of being rejected or overlooked by your crush. 

Are you dejected or depressed?

Depression is not simply a passing sadness or deep longing and grief. It is an illness that has affected the lives of millions and has robbed them of their sense of control over themselves and their lives. 

People with depression tend to struggle with various symptoms that go beyond the emotion of sadness. They also struggle with unshakable tiredness in spite of not doing anything taxing. They also struggle with deep hopelessness about their lives and themselves. 

Very low self esteem can also be part of the reason why they feel or value themselves as worthless and can struggle with focus and concentration. People with depression can also be extremely irritable or angry and often withdraw from their relationships.

Apart from these symptoms, they also struggle with diet changes, insomnia or hypersomnia. They also tend to have suicidal thoughts or preoccupation with violence and death. A person who is depressed may also experience physical pain. 

If you are to be diagnosed with depression, you should  be struggling with most of these symptoms, most days for at least two weeks. It would also impact your ability to work, study, and manage family relationships and friendships to such an extent that it negatively impacts your quality of life and is noticed by other people. 

For example, you might get fired from your job because you are not able to keep up with deadlines due to exhaustion and inability to focus. Or you might be failing in your exams because you feel hopeless and unable to study.

If you think this is happening to you, it would be advisable to seek out professional help. However, if you think that this does not apply to you, it could be that you are sad and dejected about the loss of a possibility. 

Let us look at a few things you can do to cope and overcome the dejection over a crush

How to cope

Here are a few things you can do to help yourself cope with being depressed or dejected over a crush.

  • Talk to someone

If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, talk to a therapist or a mental health professional. It could be more than just a crush that is affecting you, there might be underlying issues related to how you see yourself and the world. 

If you do have depression and the professional is able to identify it in you, they can refer you to get appropriate treatments and help for it.

If you are simply dejected, there is no harm talking to people you trust about the hurt and sadness. It is an experience that many people have come across over their lives, talking to someone can help you see things in a new light and help you understand yourself better.

  • Write to express

If you find it hard to talk to people about it, write it out. Write out the feelings you have for them and what you feel after the disappointment or rejection. Writing can help you express things that you have held onto. It can also help you see things in a new light and help you move on.

  • Spend time with yourself

If a lot of your interaction with your crush happens within mutual social circles, in school or at work, find activities that take you away from that and with yourself. 

Choose to stay in on the weekends, travel alone, read a book, visit an art gallery on your own. 

Take time to spend time with yourself because when you had a crush most of your attention was on them. It is time that you focus on yourself now by giving yourself the time you need and deserve to give yourself care.

  • Allow yourself to feel without judgement 

It is important that you allow yourself to feel sad, angry, hurt ect over this crush even if people might call it silly to be crying over someone you didn’t even love yet.

While that is true, it is also true that you did invest yourself in that feeling and that crush and having to let go of that and come to terms to the disappointment of it not working out can be difficult. So let yourself have that.

  • Experience new things and new people

In a bid to love yourself and focus on who you are, allow yourself to make new changes in the way you think, behave, and feel. This means taking mindful effort to being kind to ourselves and treat ourselves kindly.

Experiencing new things can also include trying out new lifestyle changes, taking on a new class, new hobbies. It can also mean meeting new people without the expectation of love or a relationship- meaning that the notion of meeting new people will have to take on a new perspective. 


In this guide we discussed the psychology behind why disappointment from crushes tend to hurt. We also discussed what i means to be depressed and how to identify it in yourself and how to cope.


Frequently asked questions related to “Depressed over a crush”

How long does a crush last for?

Recent research on attraction psychology, crushes can last for a maximum of four months depending on various factors such as how often do you see your crush, does your crush reciprocate, and most importantly how willing are you to nurture this infatuation.

How do I stop having a crush?

Some things you can do to stop having a crush on someone is:

  • Talk to them and get to know them as a friend
  • Get busy with other aspects of life. Take on a new hobby that allows you to meet other people and experience new things.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Confide in people you trust about your crush and hear them out.

Why is it so hard to get over a crush?

The reason you can’t get over your crush, in spite of it now being as deep as actual love, is that you have accidentally trained yourself into a mental habit of constantly seeking them. 

The more you see and interact with them, the more dopamine is released. The brain associated your crush to these good feelings and having let go of that can be experley hard. 

When should you give up on a crush?

You should give up on a crush and consider other options when you see the following signs:

  • They Talk About Dating Other People.
  • They Never Initiate Contact and tend to take advantage of your time
  • They cancel on you and Back Out Of Plans A Lot.
  • You’re left confused about what they want with you
  • Your Friends Are Telling You To move on.
  • You are often left disappointment by them

Why do crushes feel good?

Your brain involuntarily releases dopamine, a feel-good hormone, when you find a potential partner that you are attracted to. This happens every time you see them, talk to them, and even think about them.

These chemical can give the sensation of having butterflies in your stomach which makes various experience related to your crush thrilling. 

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