Losing Friends Is Normal if You Live with Depression
Trigger warning: This post involves a frank discussion of suicide.
Last week, an online friend died by suicide. While I am still grieving and in shock, I am not surprised. They had been struggling with depression for a while. As someone living with clinical depression for years, I know that thoughts of self-harm and suicide are standard. It is hard not to act on them, and doing so can be fatal. Depression may or may not be visible, but it is always cruel. It impacts every aspect of one's life and can even cut it short. She is the first friend who I have lost to death by depression, and I hope she is the last. However, metaphorically speaking, depression causes one to lose friends. I know this because it has happened to me quite a few times.
The Average Person Cannot Deal with Depressed Friends
Even in 2022, the stigma of mental illness prevails, especially in the real world. People have a lot of preconceived notions about mental health, like how positive thinking is the antidote to depression, exercise wards off negativity, and so on. Due to a lack of information, the average friend does not know how to support their depressed friend. On the contrary, the average friend may suggest that the latter become strong and positive no matter what. This kind of advice hurts us because depression is an illness, not a weakness. And then, we tend to avoid such friends because we don't need to feel worse about ourselves.
If the above scenario hasn't happened to you, I'm sure this one has: your friends get tired of you. In my experience, "normal" people dislike spending time with us because we are difficult company. Oh, and of course, we are hard to reach and often cancel plans at the last minute. Sooner or later, depression-free friends stop staying in touch with us. It's far easier to unfriend us than checking in routinely and having mental health conversations.
Learn to Be Okay with Friends Walking Away
Friends who leave are not bad people by default because depression is a challenging condition. Of course, if a friend lacks empathy or abandons you in your time of need, blame them for failing you. But whatever you do, don't blame yourself. Go to therapy regularly, especially if you are prone to suicidal ideation and self-harm. Ensure you are not lonely and give yourself some credit. After all, you are doing your best to survive with an insidious mood disorder.
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.
Shaikh, M. (2022, June 9). Losing Friends Is Normal if You Live with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2022/6/losing-friends-is-normal-if-you-live-with-depression
Author: Mahevash Shaikh
Hello. Mahevash. I have recently recognized that I may have depression about a month ago after maybe having it for more than a year. I have been used to being alone since I was always quiet and shy as a kid. I haven't told anyone this because I think it's so dumb, but since around September of 2021. I would repeat the zodiac sign of the month in my head multiple times a day for about a year. I would say, "I'm a Sagittarius " a Millon times a day and try to act like any of the Sagittarius's I knew and so on. I did this in hopes of "understanding each of the zodiac signs and grow stronger personally" since I had anxiety for most of my life. It was kind of like I was collecting the infinity stones if that makes sense. This process cost me a lot of things. Friendships, Jobs, Acedemic performance, mental stability, etc. For a long time, I have bullied myself and deeply regret ever doing this. I have been in a slump about my future too after I was talking to a guy from late December 2021-April 2022. He was 24 at the time and I was to turn 21 in February. I was deeply infatuated with him since he lived in a really nice apartment complex and had a nice bmw and his family was rich as well probably. He had his degree and everything and he was a district manager and at so young. I knew someone that was barely going to be my targets main manager at 30 an here he was already managing several stores at 24. I was sort of envious of him at the time. I somehow decided to change my life trajectory and choosing to be a radiologist technician then it turned to computer science instead of chasing my dream in becoming a filmmaker an author because I wanted to impress him and because of my zodiac delusion thing. He ended up choosing someone else over me, and I was in full on spiral by then. I eventually left my first wonderful job at target because I hate myself to work for a borderline abusive environment at a Paris baguette bakery. Fast forward to now. I have a 1.9 GPA. I have been fired two times from my job. I have have one friend remaining that actually wants to talk to me. I maybe have depression/anxiety. I just feel like a total mess, and I feel like it was all my fault. I do this thing where I spill out everything that I was holding in during that time period only when I feel my symptoms improve. Like now. I have been through a self-healing journey, but I know I need to talk to a therapist to fully recover before I slip back into it. I never experienced this feeling of dread and hopelessness like I did this past month. I had persistent depression in the past, but I knew there was something truly wrong with me til now. I have been reading some articles about how to cope with losing friends when depressed and I feel like they have lifted a burden off me somewhat especially in the part where you said, "They are not bad people." because I felt like I had to prove all those who hurt me in the past that I was going to be better than them when I was actually miserable inside. I can just imagine myself bowing and thanking past friends, coworkers, and infatuations for the good times and telling them that I have to go to find myself so I can love myself and be free again. (Sorry for the long essay.)