Does having depression make me the person no one wants to know? That’s a question I ask myself daily and no amount of reassurance from those around me can stop that.
For me, depression brings with it anxieties about who I am and what people think of me, which in itself is a vicious circle. Depression changes the way I behave, it makes me introverted yet erratic at the same time. Depression makes me too much but not enough all at the same time. It makes me low, sluggish, lack lustre, all the things that can be draining to be around.
Yet while making me behave in all these ways, ways that aren’t desirable qualities in someone you’re socialising with, depression also makes me paranoid that no one likes me or wants me around, a worry that is worsened by the fact that I can acknowledge that my behaviour isn’t exactly easy to deal with.
I find myself spending my days battling with the thoughts that no one wants me around because I have depression and at times, that can make me a little bit difficult to associate with. I don’t feel as though I don’t want to be here but I am constantly thinking that a life where I am introverted and isolated would be a better choice for me in order to protect both myself and those around me.
I worry endlessly that if I speak to those around me about having depression or how I feel, that they won’t want that kind of negativity in their lives and they’ll choose to back away. My parents always tell me to speak out and be open about how I feel and I know I always can with them because they’re never going to turn their backs on me but as a young person, speaking to those my age can be hard.
I’m just like anyone else, I want friends, I want a happy relationship with someone I love and care about but I often find depression hinders that. Am I just the person in everyone’s lives that is always negative? That always moans. That never has anything good to say.
My mind spends day after day telling me that my negative behaviour, despite not being entirely within my control, will ruin every friendship and relationship I foster and that I just have to prepare myself.
You may think the answer to avoiding damaging the relationships I have with my depression is to simply stay quiet about it but mental health has been such a big part of my life for so long and I have worked so hard to speak out and be an advocate for being open, that I find myself having to share with everyone I meet.
I’ve worked so hard to break taboos around mental health in my own life that when I make a new friend or start dating, I open up too soon. I maybe share too much too quickly as I don’t want to hide such a massive part of my reality from someone who is entering my life but does that scare people away?
So, between bringing down those that stick by me with my constant negativity to scaring prospective new relationships away by telling them the nitty gritty of my mind from the very start, am I right in thinking that having depression really does make me that person no one can face being around? The person no one wants in their lives?
The logical part of my brain that can believe those closest to me when they say they’re here for me, love me and care about me knows that depression changes nothing for those that are really worth having in your life.
I know in the stable part of my mind that actions speak louder than words and those that love you and want the best for you won’t just tell you they’re here for you but will show you and if I could give one piece of advice to anyone wondering how they can help a friend with depression, it’s to not tell them that you’re there but show them.
Text them first to see if they’re ok because they might be scared of bothering you with their problems. Call them to let them know you care, they might want to hear your voice but don’t want to ruin your day. Make an effort to cheer them up or show them you’re thinking of them because your small act of kindness, won’t only improve their mood but will also provide reassurance that they are wanted.
Depression plays games with your mind and I know from experience as a suffer that it is, at times, a living hell. So please, if someone in your life is struggling but don’t seem to be opening up, do your best to get them to talk because they could simply be scared of losing you because of how they feel.
I’m not suggesting that grown adults with depression now need mollycoddling by those around them to be ok but showing kindness and compassion to someone you love when they’re having a hard time and reassuring them that opening up isn’t just ok but is encouraged, should come naturally.
It is so difficult to feel down but also feel that by telling anyone, you’ll change people’s opinions on you or put people off wanting to know you but if you do ever feel down and really can’t turn to anyone, please call Samaritans or contact Mind to speak to someone who can help.
You are not alone. You are not unwanted and you and your existence is so valuable.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.