I wrote this as a draft in Oct 2016 and it’s taken until now for me to have the courage to post it.
One of the most frustrating things about living with depression is other people not knowing, not understanding, or forgetting that every day is a battle for you. Sometimes a few hours, a whole day or even most of a week are a little less of a battle, but it’s still a battle.
I think one of the reasons I spend so much time fiddling about on the internet is that it’s safe and familiar, nothing is risked. I find it a real struggle to initiate being sociable with my friends, and often even to go to things I’ve been invited to. This avoidance of, or failure to be sociable is self perpetuating because if people don’t see me for a while, through no fault of theirs it really is a case of “out of sight out of mind”. My experience is that the less you initiate things the less people think of you as someone to be invited to things, it’s almost as if everyone has an unconsious “up for stuff” flag for everyone in their social circle which switches off if the flag isn’t used for a while. For me that’s the really hard part, because even before I suffered with depression I was quite disorganised, which is now amplified, and now there’s the added problem (which I think everyone feels to an extent) of avoiding initiating things because “what if no-one comes”. Also a lot of the time I’d just like to see someone for a cuppa and a chat, but always feel like I need to suggest an activity in order to spend time with people. So what seems to happen to me a lot is I get to a day or an evening where I have free time and either want to or feel the need to be sociable, but have nothing planned in advance. So I end up just texting people saying “what are you up to today/tonight?” which often takes a fair amount of mental effort, which is often only overcome because I’ve been spending too much time on my own and have got to a point where I feel desperate for company. The thing is, people like being invited to things, but are probably not so keen to be effectively asked “I need something to do, what are you doing that I can join in with?” because let’s be honest it’s not very flattering to think that someone is contacting you because they’re bored, rather than because they want to see you.
It also doesn’t help being single at 35, for two reasons. The first is that as I’m sure most people who are single will tell you, when you have friends who are couples, they tend to do things together with other couples, like have dinner together for example. They’re not purposely excluding anyone, it’s just sort of the natural order of things. The second is that if you are in a relationship all this stuff is easier because you automatically have someone to do things with.
I’m not really sure where I was going with this, I started with an idea but I seem to have gone off at a tangent. Ah well, I think most of it was worth saying. As is probably obvious from this post I’ve decided to take this blog in a far more personal direction, partly because I thought it would help me to write things down and partly because any small contribution I can make improving general understanding of depression has got to be a positive thing.