I belong to a great Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) support group. I meet with them every week. And, save all but one occasion, I usually leave there feeling happy and understood and like I can live another week with this illness in my brain. Fight the fight. Rely on my support network.
Every week we read a sheet of paper about how the meeting will be conducted and then a sheet of paper at the end of thanks and encouragement. The second paper says something like “avoid the tendency to isolate. It only makes thinks worse.”
Have you noticed that when you are depressed you are usually depressed alone, that you push people out of your life? I stop answering my phone. I text my mom that I am alive, other than that I don’t give a crap. I avoid social gatherings, even ones that include my friends. My bed becomes my island, an island of isolation.
It’s easy to do, to isolate. Avoid people at all costs. Don’t return emails. Don’t answer calls. Because, after all, these are YOUR problems and YOU should have to deal with them, not other people. You don’t want to bring people down, you don’t want people to worry, and you especially don’t want to scare them.
Do not isolate. Do not feel like your struggle is singular. Accept help as it is offered. Get out of bed and go to your support group meeting or family dinner or happy hour with friends. You don’t HAVE TO BE HAPPY. You just have to include yourself with the rest of the world. Loneliness is wicked and will tell you lies. Depression is wicked and will tell you lies. Trust those around you – the grounded ones, the stable ones.
I know how easy it is to isolate yourself. You make the world about you and it is selfish. What about your best friend or the barista down the street who always remembers your order? It is unfair to push people out, people who want to love and know and help you.
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