Depression & Social Connection


I have massive problems with depression related to being able to connect with other people in my life.

I’m very lucky to have some very good and caring people in my life who listen and who I feel comfortable sharing with, yet, when I am depressed I often walk away from conversations feeling empty and lonely. I feel deeply disconnected from my loved ones and therefore the world, hence the “you are no one’s priority”, “you might never feel close to anyone again” or “you are not capable of intimacy like other people” thoughts. (I know these are very black and white statements but even with more nuance they’re still pretty sad.)

I have become a lot better at opening up with people but I still constantly feel the need to be hyper vigilant in relationships. When I feel disconnected from people I find it hard to know their intentions and often assume the worst of them.

Does anyone else have any experience with attempting to feel some human connection in the depth of depression? I would really appreciate any tips about how to feel less disconnected from the people in my life, or how you interpreted your cycle of reasoning/emotions if you have ever felt any of this.


When I started having quite a bad depression in the ends of my first long term relationship, it lasted for two years. I wasn’t in the stays-in-bed-all-day kind of thing, so I didn’t identify what it was. I didn’t identify I had a form of generalized anxiety, ptsd with a depressive dominant. Anyway.

Moments I felt connected were when I realized my friends understood what was going on better than I and did little things or just invited me to come over. They could read between my understatements. There was something really disagreeable in knowing that they could see me so transparently but it was soothing at the same time. They knew they couldn’t do anything for me up to a point they could, and then, they did. I was feeling disconnected because holding control over the relationships and appearing a certain way, appearing to be functional. When I just gave up while remaining agreeable, well I could sense and appreciate the connection we had. It took years though. So far I was thinking "I’m simply not there." Which is a self-protective lie that makes you distant so if you get hurt "it’s not you" or not your core. But then you aren’t there neither. You have to accept your own presence in things. I find it very difficult.

I don’t know if this helps.

As it stands

I have problems getting close to people. I have a great partner and some good friends, but I am estranged from my family. The last time I saw my older sister she literally turned her back on me when she visited our mum (I was in the living room). Part of me says be the bigger person, and continue sending cards to my nephews when it's their birthday. I think my mother has a lot to do with it; I fell out with her for a couple of months (but 'patched it up later) but she told me at the time 'your sister's don't invite you round their house because of how they treat your mother'. When I reminded her of what she said the other month she said 'i don't remember saying that'. My older sister's partner had been rude to my mum, and my sister never heard my side of the story - other times she has screamed at me in the living room for staying with my mum (I rented in the family home). She has been running me down to friends and family. Sometimes disconnecting from family is the only option in order to heal and create the life you want. Now that I've left - they all come to see her. My mum invited my aunt (who runs me down for not 'cooking') and my sisters (which technically makes it 3 households during lockdown but didn't invite me or my husband for Easter.


Having chronic depression my entire life, I learned that I could 'connect' and it not be an 'emotional connection. I didn't have it to give or receive so I simply started paying attention to how I was like the people I was around.

I did not feel emotionally connected a lot of the time. But I could find other connections that at least helped me not feel like a complete alien.

Common interests. Topics to talk about that aren't exhausting and full of drama. Like a good book someone has read or a movie they saw. I could still look for things to connect with people over, but rarely able to connect emotionally.

I'm much much better at that now, but still have times when I am simply ok with having common ground. It doesn't always have to connect on the feelings level.