Depression & Social Connection

triptych

Learning
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.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
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.
 
A

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.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
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.
 

triptych

Learning
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.

Thank you for your reply! I think that's really good advice-- it is okay to start small and work your way up! Not being able to hold a conversation makes me feel very "alien" too.
 

triptych

Learning
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.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I do think it's helpful to hear-- I definitely also hold people at a distance which I think is what lends to me feeling so disconnected, I guess I'm afraid of the honesty.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Does anyone else have any experience with attempting to feel some human connection in the depth of depression?
Over the years, I have discovered that when I force myself to try and connect - which everyone tells me I must do - it seldom works out. It doesn't help me feel better, and it often leaves me angry or more depressed. This past year, I have reveled in the lack of expectations to connected. I don't, and I am so much better for it.

Now I only connect when it feels safe and useful. That's not often. But when I do, it's a much more pleasant interaction that does not leave me feeling like crap.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
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.
I can really relate to this. When I'm really depressed I can barely talk and nervous of what I can say to people. I go to a walking and coffee group every friday. I say my hellos and ask how people are but it can take effort. There's usually some conversation going around. I try to gauge how people are. Last week one of the guys asked how I had been and I simply said "I've been really depressed" ! And laughed! I think being social even on a small scale takes practice though. And even the most simple interaction is enough. Thinking of things to ask people or remembering something that they had mentioned the week before. I've spent alot of my life isolated because of mental illness so now it's my goal to get involved with people and become more social.
 

grit

Not Active
I will concur @ladee and will add one more thing to your question:
, or how you interpreted your cycle of reasoning/emotions if you have ever felt any of this.

As Ladee said, when I am really out and out, I use my work personality (probably more intellect than emotions) and I articulate that in such the other person does not have to manage me or my feelings:
I am really feeling down, depressed, stressed, not up for fun etc so I hope you do not mind if I am a bit off.....I said that to my husband as much or as many as I need....and I do talk bout what I want or do not want when I am happy and fully integrated so no surprises.
One thing I do when I am really off is ramble ...gosh shut the f*ck up(I think i may have that today...LOL) and because I told my husband so many times you do not need to listen, just let me talk around you to get the shit out...we laugh about it when I am good...but it is serious alert for us when it is real!

It is like therapy, rupture and repair but the repair cannot or most likely does not work during the rupture as good as right afterwords when things are cooler!
For me in my darkness, I have two feelings that I need to manage: I do not care. I am not curious to know. but when I am in the mood to care and curious to know...I then show what I need to my husband or friends or people I feel closer to.
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
Does anyone else have any experience with attempting to feel some human connection in the depth of depression?

Wonderful and thoughtful thread as well as advice from members. Actually I am connecting to your thread to parlay my mild depression from medical relapse that leaves me somewhat fatigued. Service dog at my side and coffee in hand - here is my 2 cents lol.

We are all slightly unique requiring our own rhythms of energy, feelings, thoughts or parts of our journey to mirror somewhat back to us (at times) to feel connected. It is natural to want to be a part of something rather than shout across an emptiness for eternity.

However, depression (for me) can be liken to a wet blanket : it muffles the receiving. Then my PTSD symptoms may kick in a little and I become less trustful. So I am currently working with my Therapist to err on the side of caution not that of paranoia or distrust. Incremental steps within connections build a foundation of shared experiences. As well, certain people, members, ect strike that chord within my heart allowing me to resonate or perhaps just share that energy with them…if only for that post. Often it means an increased opening in my chink of armor within my depression.

Just gently pry your wall until the great divide, slowly closes between the heart chakras of those you seek as acquaintances or friends. One step at a time. Take care.
 

triptych

Learning
Over the years, I have discovered that when I force myself to try and connect - which everyone tells me I must do - it seldom works out. It doesn't help me feel better, and it often leaves me angry or more depressed. This past year, I have reveled in the lack of expectations to connected. I don't, and I am so much better for it.

Now I only connect when it feels safe and useful. That's not often. But when I do, it's a much more pleasant interaction that does not leave me feeling like crap.
I really resonate with this— I think I often force myself into situations which feel unsafe for the sake of feeling like there is Someone there but in reality it often leaves me feeling more isolated.

I wonder if it’s in some ways a method of cutting off connection to yourself & your own danger cues/fears in order to connect with other’s? But, at least for me that becomes challenging as my danger cues can be overwhelming & inaccurate.
 
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