Is it possible to pursue a relationship while dealing with severe psychological issues (ex: clinical depression), or is that something one should focus on first, and deal with relationships after?
There are plenty of people out there with severe psychological issues who are in relationships, so it would not be fair of me to say that you should hold off until you’ve sought help. Every individual is different in how they handle themselves and their struggles, so this would be entirely case by case advice.
Usually I say that it’s important to love yourself and be happy with yourself before entering into a relationship. This prevents you from being too dependent on your partner or using the relationship as a crutch to be happy or get better. How many of us would be single if we put off relationships until we were mentally sound?
I think that it’s important to focus on yourself if you do have psychological issues that need attention, and a relationship can distract from this. A partner can also be a helpful aid in finding the strength to seek help, a good piece to a support system, and a teammate in positive thinking and getting better. A partner can also make things worse by not helping you seek help, attempting to “save you” by treating you themselves, or again – acting as a crutch, either intentionally or not.
It’s all over the place. It is individual.
If you’re finding that your depression is interfering with your relationship or that your relationship is interfering with your recovery, I would suggest looking seriously into that and ask yourself how you can find an appropriate balance. Presumably someone who is dealing with depression or another psychological issue would already be seeing a counselor – and this would be a great question to ask them.
A couples counselor might also be a good addition, as they could talk to each of you together and help find ways to interact with one another in ways that furthered treatment.