Another Casualty of Depression: My Social Life

Tonight…

Tonight is tough.

By all rights, I should feel happy.

I’m on new meds.

Today was a relatively good day.

But I was texting with another dear friend of mine who is also severely depressed, and we were talking about how bad depression is for friendships because you just go INTO yourself and just…disappear.

And then by the time you get your proverbial shit together…those people who were your friends have moved on. You’re not on their radar anymore and when you try to get back on…it’s really really hard.

And in talking about it, I really faced the fact that I have sort of lived in a shell for the last 8 years. When I first had Punksin, I was so focused on being a mom, and also focused on slowly releasing the stress that my job had given me, that I just didn’t go out at all. I just wanted to be Stay-at-Home Mom. And that’s what I did for 2 years.

Then I started writing again, bit by bit. But I still wasn’t really going out much. And then I got pregnant with Pudding. And again, I stopped writing. I can’t say I stopped going out because…I hadn’t really started back.

Fast forward to today and…I homeschool my kids. But they get out. They do stuff. I keep them busy with outside activities so that they can make friends and see other kids and have fun and stay busy.

But I don’t really do that for MYSELF.

The worst part of it is that…I do try, now, to get out more. Because everyone TELLS me, “You need to get out more. Enjoy yourself! Go out with your friends!

But whenever I try now, no one seems available. When you fall of the face of the Earth for that long, people just…move on. And I know in many cases they don’t understand WHY I fell off the face of the Earth. I would tell them…if I could see them…

This week, I told one friend about a party happening that I was contemplating going to. Then today I texted two more girlfriends to ask them what they were doing tomorrow night.

No one responded. 🙁 So I can guess that they are all…too busy doing things with the people they keep in constant contact with to be bothered with someone they hardly hear from.

But I’m trying. I’m really really trying.

And it’s not working.

And I’m just getting depressed all over again.

Which then makes it far easier to just…disappear again. Although, I can’t really disappear AGAIN, when I haven’t been successful in REappearing in the first place.

The Tech Guru asked me if I want to go back out to work. And the truth is, I don’t. I love what I do. But the writing life is already very insular, and you pair that up with depression, and it…well, it’s just NOT a good combination.

Right now, I don’t know what to do. I just feel as though I have people who are friends, but in a very removed sort of way. They’d show up at my funeral if I died, maybe, but if we’re just talking going out for drinks then they’ll catch me another time.

Except another time never comes.

And sometimes that’s MY fault – a lot of the time that’s my fault – because when the time comes, I’m depressed. So I cancel. And I guess people get tired of it and move on. Because most of my “friends” don’t even know that I’ve been diagnosed with depression, that I’m on medication for depression, was in therapy, still NEED therapy, have seriously contemplated ending my life, and am still fighting what really sometimes feels like a losing battle.

This is why I want to do a Facebook purge, which I wrote about in another post I haven’t even published yet. I mean, really…who are these people I call friends, people with whom I can interact virtually but cannot see in person, cannot communicate my disease to, cannot get answers from when I text… Fuck, right about now I’d be GRATEFUL if another blogger sent me pictures of his genitals. At least someone would be remotely pretending to give a fuck about my existence, acknowledging that I am out here.

I’m not mad at anyone except, maybe, myself? Because really, who else is there to blame? And life goes on and the world goes around and around and if one person disappears, whether temporarily or forever…the world still turns.

 

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Posted in The Friends, The Spirit | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Another Casualty of Depression: My Social Life”

  1. Sarah says:

    Please don’t be mad at yourself. It’s not your fault you got ill.

    Maybe you could try rebuilding a social life in the same way you built one for your kids. Take up activities with a social life build in. You could take up a class or a sport where you could find people who are looking to reconnect in the same way. I met most of my circle of friends through a martial art class that none of us has attended in about three years. We were mostly just there to meet people.

    I’ve also found it’s helped to be more open about my illness with people I’ve drifted away from. Not going into gory details, just mentioning that I know that I’ve been rubbish for a long while but that I’ve had depression and PTSD and just haven’t been up to it. Some people haven’t responded to that, others have disappeared completely because I guess they don’t want to have to deal with anyone’s mental illness. But the ones who are actually worth knowing have understood and have taken on a bigger share of the ‘making an effort’ now that they realise that I do want to its just that I’m not necessarily able.

    • Leila says:

      Thanks Sarah, for chiming in. You are right, and I have tried the social thing, but the same thing ends up happening that I do with my friends: I bail out. It’s also hard because I generally have to wait for the Tech Guru to get home from work before I can do anything on a weeknight, and by the time he gets home, sometimes I’m already shot. I need to find outside help and we just had a lovely babysitter, and JUST as I was getting around to asking her if she could come by sometimes during the day to free up some of my time, she got a full-time job. So now I’ve got to go through that all over again. Sigh. I think that I need people to push me out or force me to come out…a no-excuses kind of thing. When it’s a social situation where I don’t yet know anyone, it’s so easy to just NOT go. Even if I’ve paid money ahead of time.

      I used to be very comfortable in social situations but recently I’ve been feeling more shy, especially around old friends, because I realize they have so much going on to talk about, so many memories that have been made with each other and other people over the last several years, met new people who have been brought into the fold, while I just… disappeared. So now the old gang has new people who are way more “in” than I am, and I feel like a newcomer with people I already know, not to mention the new folks I don’t know.

      I don’t know. The sad thing is, I thought about it last night and realized I am repeating the exact same pattern my mother did. She had me, and especially as she was a single parent, pretty much gave up much of a social life. Then when I was older, she decided to try to get back out there, and for a while she did some new things and made some new friends and reconnected with old ones, but it was the same thing: the new ones never really became tight, and the old ones had moved on without her and she wasn’t successfully reintegrating. And then one year, I remember she threw a party in her apartment – this was when I was much older, in my 20s. And she was so excited about this party: she rented flatware and glasses and dishes and table linens and cooked and had some food brought in, and had her music lined up and ready to go.

      And no one came.

      I sat with her, she played the music, and we waited. And waited. Another family member showed up for a bit, and eventually they left. Then ONE old school friend of hers came by and they danced for a bit…and that was it.

      And I remember feeling AWFUL for her. As the hours ticked by and it became apparent that no one was going to come, only one old friend and no new ones, she grew more and more sad and dejected. The next day I helped her repack all the things she had rented from the party place…things that hadn’t been used…and they came and took it back. She was packing so slowly and I could see that she just felt so embarrassed and unhappy. The food, we had given a lot of it to our family members that did stop in, once it became apparent that there were going to BE no other guests to eat it. And…that was it.

      Even then I remember thinking, it’s as though people forgot she existed. She’s been out of sight for so long that now that she’s back…they have all sort of moved on from her. I felt terrible for her, really really awful.

      And yet didn’t realize that 15 years later I would be doing the same thing.

      She is still fighting depression. She has never been diagnosed but I know she is depressed. She still keeps to herself. She has no friends. And I’m afraid I’m going to end up like her, alone and miserable. I try to hold on to the facets of my life that are different, like the fact that I’m not a single parent, but although my husband and I ALSO need to get out TOGETHER, he can’t be my only social outlet.

      It’s just so hard when people you had great times with are all of a sudden too busy for you…well, not all of a sudden, but you’re still holding onto the relationship and trying to pick up where it left off but for them, eons have passed and it’s almost too much effort to try to re-integrate you into their lives. You’re right that I do need to let people know about the depression…I have but I find that those who don’t live it don’t get it. They think depression is a CHOICE. Like I wake up in the morning and CHOOSE to feel like shit. And if I would just CHANGE MY OUTLOOK, everything would be chocolate and roses. They really have no idea what it is like to be depressed, because they liken it to being a little sad for a day or two and then bouncing back. Whereas I know that depression is sort of like a cancer, almost: it goes into remission at times, but there’s always the danger of it bouncing back. As a matter of fact, it’s quite LIKELY that it will come back.

      Thanks for writing though, because it honestly means a lot. When I feel like this, any little outreach of humanity helps me to live another day. Thank you so much.