Friday, 10 June 2011

Keeping Friends

Whenever I suffer a particularly severe period of depression I always seem to lose friends. For me, it's one of the worst consequences, I've never been great at making friends and the friends I do have are always very important to me.
It's only recently that I have begun to recognise this pattern of depression and friend loss, through work with my therapist making me think long and hard about the friends I have had and lost over the years. While identifying this reoccurring pattern may be helpful to me in helping to maintain friendships, or at least reduce the feelings of guilt and abandonment associated with losing friends, at the moment it's just making me worry about my current friendships, which I can see disintegrating before my eyes.
Losing friends can send my emotions in one of two directions, either I blame myself and descend into self loathing and blame, or I blame them and get angry and defiant. Neither of these reactions is helpful in trying to resurrect the friendship, if I blame myself I usually shut myself off and don't want to see people, if I blame them I don't want to see them and become insistent that they should contact me if they want to keep me as a friend. So both these courses of action basically result in me not contacting or seeing anyone, and everyone else gets on with their lives completely unaware.
I know depression isn't an easy thing to understand or deal with, but I do make efforts to try and help people understand the problems I experience and the very simple things they can do to help me. I won't pretend that I didn't write my blog on how to help a friend with depression without hoping that my own friends would read it and take the advice. I don't mean to imply that all my friends are useless and unhelpful, some of them are wonderful and I would be lost without, and I am truly grateful for them.
For anyone, either my friend or a friend of someone else with depression, if you want to be able to do something, you don't have to play counsellor or be with them all day making sure they perform daily functions like washing or eating, just show that you are interested and you care, give them a call or send them a message to ask how they are, do that regularly, try not to ignore them if they attempt to contact you and, if you haven't seen or heard from them for a few days, check how they are. I know that would make a massive difference for me.

Hope you are doing well,
Betty
x

4 comments:

  1. I have lost many friends over the past few years. I think %90 of it is my own doing. Basically, I only trust very few people with "my secret of depression." All others are confused by my lack of life and pry and... I shut down, don't return calls...It is sad that I don't trust more people I guess, but I have learned that good understanding people are hard to come by.

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  2. I also lost friends and some family over the years. My solution has been to totally isolate myself. I gave up trying to have friends I found trying to make plans and stick to them, return calls, answer the phone etc. too much. I know my solution is NOT the healthiest option but for the most part it works for me - for now.

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  3. When I was younger I used to always have friends and still have some very close ones from high school, but they live 4 hours away. Now, I isolate and wish I wouldn't. I don't trust people with telling them about my psych problems because you really shouldn't--at least until you get to know them really well. Anyway, I've found when I reach out to people and am with them more, I am so much happier. It's almost as if I isolate because I don't think I have the right to be happy.

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  4. I have struggled with friendships due to my depression. I return emails and phone calls inconsistently, often feeling so low that people won't want to hear from me. After my hospitalization, I have come to realize I need to be involved. For me that will be the way out of my depression. So when it feels the most painful to reach out, that is what I now know I need to do.
    Matt

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