Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A Depressed Person's Social Life

This morning I got together with a friend and former colleague for a coffee.  Most people take this kind of get-together for granted, but for a person with serious depression, the prospect can be daunting  in a number of respects.  Just working up the energy to get ready for such a meeting can be an effort.  Almost by definition, I am miserable and I figure I don't want to inflict myself on other people, and why would they want to spend any time with me anyway?  Partly in response to this, I feel a need to turn myself "on", that is, fight to appear at least minimally social, if not exactly chipper, which can be thoroughly exhausting.

Collectively, these things pose a burden that on most days I am unwilling to bear.  Indeed, this particular friend and I had not seen each other in years, though we have kept in touch via Facebook and e-mail.  We have made plans to meet several times, but inevitably I would cancel because the effort seemed too much.  This happens often and so I have, to a significant degree, isolated myself from some truly great friends, which in turn exacerbates the depression, which makes it more difficult to get together with people, and so on, and so on.  Ironically, though, on those rare times I make the effort, I hardly ever regret it.  Indeed, as was the case this morning, I even feel at least a bit better having spent the time with a friend.

So, late last year I promised myself I would seek out more opportunities to socialize and make fewer excuses to cancel.  This is a first step and I hope to take a few more in the weeks ahead.


  1. Good for you for going forward with your plans. I'm glad you didn't regret it.

    I know what you mean, though. Sometimes being social is just about the LAST thing you can handle doing. I go through that from time to time. It's hard. And sometimes it's so hard that we can't even force ourselves. Hopefully, the people that love us understand.

    1. Most do seem to understand. Doing what our minds are urgently asking us not to, though, hopefully contributes to rewiring our brains in a way that makes our day-to-day lives easier. Don't know if you've ever read any of Martin Seligman's books. He is an advocate of - and indeed the father of - "positive psychology". Simple exercises, for the most part, and I find them helpful.