Monday, August 19, 2013

Isolation and depression, as a friend or family member, how does depression effect you?

As I have talked to people with various addictions, one thing I heard that rings true is "Isolating myself from others so they don't know how bad it really is". I guess the it could be many things, "it" could be a substance such as substances or "it" could be taken a different way, such as the symptoms of depression.

I feel that sometimes I am isolating myself because I don't want to discuss "it": how I am doing in general with my everyday activities. I sometimes feel very silly because things are going "so right" in my life and I still tend to feel down. But once again, this is due to depression, and the few people I discuss it with, mostly do not understand. They may say things like "Why don't you come out?" or "You have so much to be happy for! How could you feel down?" I have had friends even get mad at me  and lost many friendships over isolating myself. The only true friends I have are ones who are able to keep coming back to me. It is almost as if I have the "All of nothing" complex. If I want to be with my friends, they are my world. When I am in my "depression" world, my friends are "out of site out of mind". Obviously, I am not being a very good friend. Although it is not an excuse, active clinical depression, in research, is linked to worse relationships in regards to all types of relationships. It makes me even sadder writing this, but it's something that I feel everyday.

OT Thoughts:
If someone you know is suffering from depression, you may feel effected too & this is entirely normal. 
You should always understand that your safety and your mental health is important, even if you don't have a mental illness. Sometimes it is easier to blame ourselves for how someone acts with a mental illness then recognize that it is the illness and not you or the person with the illness who is pushing you away. Different things can be helpful for different people. I don't have all the answers and I don't claim too, but here are some good ideas/resources...

These 15 ideas are taken directly from: "15 ways to support a loved one with a mental illness."by: By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S. Read more indepth here:
http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-ways-to-support-a-loved-one-with-serious-mental-illness/0007039


1. Educate yourself about the illness
2. Seek out resources
3. Have realistic expectations
4. Reach out for support
5. Work with your loved ones treatment team
6. Let your loved one have control
7.Encourage them to talk to their mental health professionals
8. Set appropriate limits
9. Establish equality
10. Realize feelings of guilt and shame are normal
11. Recognize your loved ones courage
12. Help yourself
13. Be calm
14. Convey hope
15. Get political

Here are a list of websites for support for families/friends of someone with a mental illness:
http://www.nami.org/
http://www.ouhsc.edu/safeprogram/ - All about mental illness and impact on families. This section is specifically for depression: http://www.ouhsc.edu/safeprogram/02Depression.pdf
Mental health support groups for people with illness & families: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/find_support_group
15 ways to support a loved one with a mental illness
http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-ways-to-support-a-loved-one-with-serious-mental-illness/0007039

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