What is LDR depression?
In this blog we will discuss what LDR depression is.
We will also briefly touch upon the possible causes of LDR depression and how one can deal with Long Distance Relationships depression.
What is LDR depression?
LDR depression refers to depression that one experiences when they are part of a long distance relationship and it is fairly common.
Though it is no a diagnosable disorder per se, it does manifest in ways that are similar to depression that is marked by:
- Persistent feelings of sadness and longing for one’s partner
- Hopelessness about one’s situation.
- One might feel unmotivated to carry out day to day activities
- Decrease in appetite or increase in emotional eating
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Social withdrawal such as avoiding family and friends
- performing poorly at work due to a lack of focus
- Fighting and conflict between partners
- Anger and frustration
- Substance use and engaging in other forms of distractions to deal with feelings of sadness and hopelessness
The depression one feels due to a long distance relationship commonly arises due to how one perceives their romantic relationship and the feelings of emptiness and longing they feel in their lives due to the distance.
At times this can cause an individual to feel hopeless about their romantic situation or even resentful towards their partners leading to conflict and more stress.
This emotional distress due to separation can take over one;s life by the overwhelming feelings of sadness, distress, and hopelessness that can cause problems in other relationships and one;s ability to fulfil their occupational responsibilities.
This dysfunction caused by LDR depression can in turn make a person more frustrated and dissatisfied about their situation and at the same time cause conflict that leads to more stress and more hopelessness.
Why does LDR depression happen?
There are plenty of factors that can lead to long distance relationship depression. Let us take a look at some of these factors:
The first and obvious reason being the distance. For any relationship intimacy and closeness be it physical or emotional closeness is very important.
Distance can be an obstacle for any relationship no matter how strong and healthy the relationship might be.
Distance can become barriers to intimacy and the lack of intimacy- be it physical and emotional that is caused by lack of communication due to conflicting schedules etc- can lead to feelings of loneliness and ultimately depression.
Lack of clarity
When partners are separated and there is a lack of clarity about the condition of the relationship or where each partner stands with the other, it can lead to conclusion and conflict.
When the partners are unable to rationally and calmly communicate to create clarity about their situation, it can be distressing to the partners and the distance between them does not help.
As conflicts arise, it can lead to insecurities bubbling up, anxiety, and because of the stress it can lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness about one;s romantic situation.
If you find yourself in a long-distance relationship where you are no longer happy due to the lack of intimacy, clarity, connection, etc- it can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction.
This dissatisfaction can lead to conflict or the sense that one is trapped in a loveless relationship.
If the couple is able to resolve this the relationships and the mental health of the partners can remain healthy however, in the case that one is unable to resolve the feeling of dissatisfaction, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness and unhappiness.
Lack of communication
One major issue when it comes to long distance relationships is the problems caused by lack of communication.
When partners are separated it is possible that conflicting schedules can get in the way of connecting and communication or the changes that occur over time can lead to emotional distance that make it hard for couples to communicate.
Partners that do not communicate tend to struggle with anxiety, distress, conflicts, and dissatisfaction leading to unhappiness and frustration that can lead to depression.
Loneliness in solitude is one of the reasons why people who isolate themselves experience low moods and this desire for social connection is what causes much mental and emotional distress.
Loneliness while also wanting social connection tends to be caused by involuntary separation, rejection, or abandonment by other people. For example, partner had to leave for their job even if the other partner did not want this change.
When people go through unwanted social isolation and alienation, it can bring about intense emotional distress. They might feel hopeless, worthless as they perceive themselves as unwanted or unvalued.
Lack of physical intimacy
Lack of physical intimacy in terms of sexual intimacy can create sexual frustration and put a strain on your relationship.
This strain on the relationships can be further worsened by conflicts, isolation and misunderstanding due to the lack of intimacy and communication.
This continuous feeling of loneliness and the belief that there is nothing you can do about it may lead to you feeling depressed.
How to deal with long distance relationships depression?
Here are a few things that you can do to help yourself through long distance relationships depression:
Engage in life outside of the relationship
According to positive psychology research, positive feelings are an important aspect of well-being.
For a person to engage in activities and other experiences that help them feel positive feelings such as love, belongingness, achievement, and a sense of hope is important.
Take active action to seek out these positive experiences in your day to day life that are outside of your relationship.
Even if you do not want to, even if your body is refusing to- take that chance for yourself and choose to do something that makes you feel less miserable.
This means that you stop being dependent on your partner’s calls, messages etc for your happiness and instead focus on the many things in your life that you have on hand that can make you happy.
This could be as simple as watching a movie, petting your cat, taking your dog for a walk, eating ice cream. Do what makes you happy without judging yourself for these choices.
Focus on other relationships
Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing. Focusing on them, investing yourself in them is important to make your life meaningful.
This means being present with your friends and family that are with you, engaging with them, and creating memories with them.
Talk to them about how you are feeling, allow them to get distracted while doing fun things together. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them.
Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships.
Have realistic expectations
It’s good to think positively when you are in a long distance relationship with whoever you have to be realistic when it comes to expectations.
For example, while you might be wishing your partner would text you all day, everyday, while you’re both at work, it’s not really realistic or healthy.
You have to understand that their life and yours could be going on at different paces. Thus, it is important that you discuss and set realistic expectations with your partner.
This means discussing when both of you spend time together, what the end goal of the relationship is, and what the future could look like for both of you.
Setting expectations can be a way you and your partner can build on a healthy relationship even if you are far apart.
Seek out professional help
If you have been depressed for more than two weeks and it is impacting your other relationships and your professional life, we advise you to seek out professional help immediately.
Depression is not just low moods, it won’t simply “go away”. There needs to be an active effort to work through your condition as well as pharmacological support that you might need in the case there are neurological causes to your condition.
Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person.
Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you, might prescribe you medication if needed, and can help you tap into your own strengths that can help you adapt to challenges, changes, and overcome them.
Understanding your condition, diagnosis and Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will help you during this difficult time.
Focus on self-care
While it might be hard to take care of yourself- you might find it hard to eat, wash, wake up, and do other basic things.
It is okay to allow yourself to let yourself go for a few days but making the effort to stick to routine and structure in your day to day life can help you move forward.
Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first.
You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself.
Join a support group
Another thing you can do for yourself is to join a support group of people struggling with depression caused by long distance relationships so that you can experience emotional support first hand within these communities and over time learn how to manage your challenges by learning from each other.
It is possible that people with depression can also struggle with a sense of worthlessness, a feeling that you have nothing of value to offer.
By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey.
BetterHelp: A Better Alternative
Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.
BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.
In this blog we have discussed what LDR depression is.
We have also briefly touched upon the possible causes of LDR depression and how one can deal with Long Distance Relationships depression.
7 Ways to Maintain Your Mental Health in a Long Distance Relationship. TalkSpace. Retrieved on 29th March 2022. https://www.talkspace.com/blog/healthy-long-distance-relationship/
10 Ways to Crush Long Distance Relationship Depression, Backed by Science.Lasting The distance. Retrieved on 28th March 2022. https://lastingthedistance.com/long-distance-relationship-depression/
Depression in a Long-Distance Relationship. Couples Coaching Online. Retrieved on 28th March 2022. https://couplescoachingonline.com/depression-in-a-long-distance-relationship/