Limerence and depression

Can limerence cause depression? Or can depression cause limerence? Neither of them causes the other, yet there is something that they do share in common and that’s worth exploring. When you experience limerence, you hold a secret from everybody (maybe even yourself), and this can be all-consuming, and it can make you feel very isolated.

Limerence is not something to be “proud of”, especially when it is not reciprocated by your LO. In the end, you might ask yourself: Why is this happening to me and not others? How can I simply feel better? Your daily life is like a roller-coaster; you feel extreme joy when you receive any kind of reciprocation from your LO, but, at the same time, in those moments when your LO reacts cold, you are thrown into a deep sadness. Moreover, if the limerence experience is one-sided, the pressure is even higher. You have to hide it from your spouse/partner, friends and, of course, your LO. It’s such an inadequate experience to have, there must be “something wrong” with you if you experience it. In all this time, you repress your true emotions and this pressure starts to build up, to the point where you collapse. Limerence can indeed make you feel very lonely or very ill. 

However always remember there are plenty of people who are going through the same experience as you and would understand exactly how you are feeling. Limerence feels like an addiction; you feel guilty about doing something that you know is not okay. If you are completely disconnected from your body and emotions, you will even believe that your limerent experience is love and you’ll be likely to want to leave your current relationship for the new one, the limerent one. More than that, when limerence is not reciprocated by your LO, keeping control of your obsessive thoughts, heart palpitations and mood swings is even harder. 

Because experiencing limerence can make you feel lonely, it can be difficult to ask for help. It is hard to reach out to others because you believe they won’t understand you and, even worse, they’ll think you are a bad person.  The more you keep this within yourself, the more isolated and alone you’ll be feeling. If your LO doesn’t share the same limerent feelings, you can even spend months and years fantasizing about them and all that could have been. It is exhausting for the mind and the body; it can make you anxious and this pain can become unbearable, affecting your sleep and your daily life in general. You want to get over it, but it often feels like you simply can’t. You feel you’ve tried everything and nothing changes. So, what should you do now? Everything is pointless, there is no light at the end of the tunnel anymore.

Even though there isn’t any cause-effect link between limerence and depression, the emotional distress that limerence causes can indeed affect your ability to regulate your emotions and live your daily life in your usual manner.

Nowadays the word “depression” is commonly misused. You might hear someone say: “Today the weather was so bad, I felt so depressed”, as depression would be a mood that comes and goes. Depression is a serious mental illness that can interfere with someone’s daily life. Depression can cause long-lasting and severe feelings of sadness and hopelessness, but also a loss of interest in activities or appetite. The symptoms that cause depression differ from person to person, and gender plays also a role in how someone is affected by depression and how they deal with it. It is hard to explain depression to someone who hasn’t experience it, but what you must remember, is that depression is not the same as feeling sad. 

Many people with depression feel sadness as well, but it is much more severe than a normal emotion that comes and goes. The symptoms of depression can last for months or years and can make it difficult or impossible to carry on with daily life, even disrupt your career or relationships. 

Here are a few signs of depression, to help you understand how it manifests. 

  1. You feel that there is no joy in your daily life – Things that were making you happy now don’t do anything anymore, it seems that nothing makes you happy.
  2. You feel hopeless – You are in a tunnel and there is no light at the end of it. This is a very common feeling that depressed people have, they feel as if nothing will ever get better. 
  3. You don’t have any self-esteem – You might feel worthless or a failure. It is hard to remember your strengths or things that you have done well in life. Everything that you see about yourself is now negative. In a limerence situation, not having reciprocated feelings by your LO can make you feel even more worthless. 
  4. You have problems sleeping – Insomnia or the inability to fall and stay asleep is one of the most common signs of depression. On the other side, you can have also excessive sleeping during the daytime. 
  5. Loss of appetite or overeating – You can either feel that you don’t want to eat anything (causing loss of weight) or using eating as a coping mechanism for your stress. 
  6. No energy anymore – You feel exhausted all the time, even if you didn’t do anything during the day or just simple tasks as washing the dishes. 

Your limerence can get out of control the moment that you let your LO represent much more of your life than it should be. Introspection is an important key to understand yourself and not forget about your own life. We hope that this article was useful for you to understand more about limerence and its influence on depression. However, if you feel you have any of the depression symptoms or you are concerned about your wellbeing in general, please seek immediate professional support. There is nothing wrong with having professional help, sometimes it’s the best thing that you could be doing. 

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