Relationships in Depression's Painful Times Are Important
I learned that relationships in depression are so important when my doctor prescribed prednisone to treat my autoimmune disease. Although he talked about its side effects, he failed to include depression as one of them. The first time I took the drug was an unpredictable blow that wreaked havoc on my life and my relationships.
I felt suddenly helpless; I felt no autonomy. When, for example, I forgot my laptop in my college classroom during the Halloween parade, and had to walk 10 blocks in the rain to find an opening through the crowd to retrieve it, it felt like a personal failure and like an inevitability that was indicative of my entire life. Never before had I felt the type of cynicism I experienced then. It was exhausting. I was depressed.
But my relationships were the reason I was able to identify my depression. I didn't understand what was going on. I felt like one day life was manageable and the next it wasn't. But at the time, I lived with my best friend. She could see that something wasn't right with me. After a few troubling conversations, she alerted my mother who connected the dots. She suggested I check in with my doctor and, lo and behold, depression was indeed a noted side effect of my medication.
Relationships Stopped Depression's Downward Spiral
I panicked when I realized that my medication was causing my depression. Finally, I had found an effective treatment for my many physical ailments. My ulcers disappeared, as did my inflammation, migraines, and stomach problems. But apparently, there was a cost; in order to be physically healthy, I had to sacrifice my mental health.
This news was so startling to me that even during periods between treatments, I felt hopeless. But because I was already accustomed to sharing my hardships with my roommate and parents, I had a support system in place. If I could simply force myself to make a call during my darkest moments, I was always better for it. Maybe my loved ones couldn't fix it exactly, but they made me feel loved and secure in that they would be there for me no matter what.
In Depression, You Need Relationships to Get Well
Depression can make it hard to invest in yourself and your future, but relationships are worth fighting for
Many times, I felt that it would be easier to hide from my best friend, mother, and boyfriend in the midst of depression. During these lows, my relationships felt draining. I often thought: why should I deplete myself of energy in order to develop relationships when the future feels so bleak and abstract? Sometimes, I couldn't help but hide in my room.
But other times, I had just enough energy to force myself to answer my mother's phone calls. In the short-term, these connections at least helped me understand that my suffering was not unseen, that I was not alone. This allowed me just enough hope to get through the day. Long-term, my relationships gave meaning to my life that is an essential piece of treating my depression.
How have relationships helped your depression? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Card, M. (2019, August 13). Relationships in Depression's Painful Times Are Important, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/relationshipsandmentalillness/2019/8/relationships-in-depressions-painful-times-are-important