The weird thing about depression is the ability to socialize, act normally, and even have fun at times.
When all of that is over, though, the loneliness hits hard. Ironic, since everyone is home and getting along much better than before (yay!)
I’ve been virtually social, and have been checking in with my friends and family regularly. I even manage to update my fans from time-to-time.
But it is so hard to find the motivation to do productive and creative things when you are depressed and anxious.
I always thought it was worse being alone and depressed, but when everyone is around, it is much more difficult because I try to remove myself from others when I am “not feeling well;” my codeword for any emotional turmoil I am personally experiencing.
I isolate myself partially because I don’t want to burden others with my mood swings, especially when they are working at home with no real means of escape.
The other reason is because I am still individually trying to navigate this sadness and fear that keep returning.
I love having a full house, and I get space when I need it, but I knew that having my friends and partner around at all times wouldn’t fix the suffering.
Because it never goes away, socializing in any form can sometimes exacerbate the irrational behavior because it creates peaks of unhappiness that unbalance my average mood.
I’m happy to finally have people around, but now I feel the desolation quite powerfully when I’m not distracted with fun and company.
I cried simply because I wished that I had someone to talk to about silly little things, like good books or movies. I want to tell people about things I am interested in, and I want them to listen to me, even if they have different preferences.
I want people to acknowledge me when I am speaking. I want people to stop tuning me out when they look at their cellphones and I am trying to say something. I want people to ask me to repeat what I said when they can’t hear me, rather than pretending that nothing was said, or quickly forgetting what I said and letting it go. I want people to remember that I am overly-empathetic and to stop responding to me in a short way that makes me feel like a burden. I want people to answer my text messages, instead of always leaving me with the last lingering messages that, often times, are never given a response. I want people to know that I need help, too. I want people to listen to me.
These little things add up, but they hurt me every time they happen with any person.
I am not talking about people needing space, being busy, or having their own personal dilemmas. We all do, and they become monstrous in quarantine. I understand that it is hard for everyone, but I feel so alone when people don’t answer me, or stop listening and wait for their turn to talk instead, or blow me off until they need to speak to me themselves. I get so sad, or so busy, or so spiteful that even I don’t want to answer at times.
It never lasts long for me, though. I want people to know that I am still there for them, even if it occasionally takes me more time to being responsive. Even if it means being ashamed of my one-sided stream-of-consciousness convos when they will inevitably be shut down again at some point.
I have bad thoughts when I spiral. I think, will these be the type of people who wished they kept in touch better if I was in the hospital, or if I committed suicide? Isn’t that what you always hear from a victim’s friends and family? I wish I did more, I wish I answered, I wish I reached out, I wish I knew how bad it was.
I know we are involved in our own private universes, of which we are the center. We are all going through things.
But knowing that doesn’t stop me from wishing I had someone who listened to the little things that I share, instead of letting them become failed attempts at communication.
Will I say the wrong thing because I’m so chatty? Am I actually really annoying? Do people hate me? Do they just tolerate me? Are they uncomfortable around me because I’m too weird? Do they understand the severity of my depressive state? Do they know how to approach it? Are they scared for me the way my low points make me feel scared for myself? Do they care?
I don’t want to talk to people about depression or anxiety — they can read it here. I want to stop feeling like the lowest priority to mostly all of my friends. I simply want to talk. I only need them to listen.
Talk to your friends often and openly. Be receptive, not reactive. Practice listening, don’t wait for your turn to speak. Ask people to repeat or clarify themselves, so they know you are actively listening to them. Don’t let the little things add up to insecurities. Don’t let insecurities turn into outward and inward hate.
Don’t wait until your friend is self-harming before you ask how they are doing. Don’t wait until someone commits suicide to question whether you were a good friend. If you are a good friend, you’ll practice listening now.
If you seem annoyed when someone is talking to you, they might think you are annoyed at them and feel hurt. If you actually are annoyed at them for speaking to you… What did they do to deserve that type of response? Maybe it can be rectified, or maybe you can explain (or apologize when necessary) that you are not in the mood to chat.
If you are checking your phone when someone is talking to you and you don’t properly hear them, let them know you will be with them in a moment. If you’re checking your phone and ignoring someone speaking because you’re so engrossed in your screen that you don’t notice your friend talking… That’s just plain rude.
If you don’t have the time to text back, don’t leave people hanging until you’re ready to talk about your own issues. Try your best to keep in touch with your friends so they know that they can rely on you, even when they have to wait.
You never know if you’re one of many unresponsive people who aren’t available during someone’s time-of-need, so work on being available whenever possible. Little things like seemingly menial text convos might change a suicidal person’s mindset.
Be the friend you needed at your worst moments, whether they were there or not. We’re all in this together.
No one has to be perfect, but if your friend wants to share something with you — even if it’s not something you like yourself — it is because you are special enough to them that they want to include you.
I am hoping to be better tomorrow. I guess I’m bored and lonely and it is getting to me, but I don’t want to spend my whole Quarantine crying and sleeping still. Maybe I’ll try to tackle that list? Wish me luck.
Be excellent to each other.