Hello, I’m in my mid 20s. While I have a strong will to live and I’m not going anywhere, I am depressed and lonely. My loneliness has been slowly eating away at me, and I find it difficult to try to join new groups or communities and engage with them. The few friends that I have are very busy with jobs, significant others, and/or their own large friend groups that I’m not a part of (and would not really want to try joining). I just wanted to hear someone else’s thoughts on if it would be selfish to tell them that I’m depressed, expecting that they would offer to spend more time with me? In a way it feels like it is, and I don’t even know if I would want to spend time with them in that way because they wouldn’t have offered if I wasn’t depressed. That probably sounds silly, but it’s one of the main reasons why I have a difficult time expressing my problems to friends. I’m not really sure what I want from them because I don’t want to pressure or guilt trip them, and I don’t want to feel like I’m annoying them, but I also know that it’s usually a bad idea to bottle in my emotions and not say anything either. I guess my questions boil down to “Is it a good idea to tell friends about your depression even if your motives feel somewhat selfish?” and “Should I spend time with them even if it feels like they wouldn’t have offered without knowing about the depression?” Thanks to anyone who read this.
When it comes to making decisions like this, I think that reaching out to anyone, especially friends, is far from selfish. There is always a time when you need to take yourself and your needs first, and when you are depressed it is, at least in my experience, partly because you need to take time to take care of yourself and your needs. (Insert disclaimer, I am not a professional.)
If you think it will help you, definitely reach out to your friends. Even if they don’t spend a lot of time with you usually, they should know how important it is for you that you trusted them enough to open up, because admitting you are unhappy to anyone is scary. I would think if they were your friends they would understand that you are in a time of need, not being selfish.
I can say we all have your back here. I know it’s not the same as face to face friends, but we are all here for you.
Hi, thank you for your reply. You’re right, and it probably is a good idea overall but I’m sort of stuck in a cycle. My depression comes in waves and I have told them about this in the past, but the cycle sort of goes like this; 1. Start feeling very lonely. 2. Reach out to friends. 3. They offer to spend time with me when they probably would not have offered otherwise (I don’t begrudge them for this, they are good people and they’re just busy with their own lives). 4. I feel happy for some amount of time after spending time with them. 5. They go back to their own lives and don’t talk or spend much time with me again and I loop back around to the start.
I see. And this can happen as people live their own lives. It doesn’t mean they care any less about you though. Perhaps ask if they would like to hang out with you every other weekend or something. That way you know you will see them regularly but you don’t have to feel like you’re forcing them to spend their time with you?
Hello Soaring Owl,
I totally feel you - I am stuck in the same cycle. Exactly as you are describing it. I additionally made the experiance that if I reach out too often that I even scared my friends off. Sometimes I even believe, that they spend time with me out of sympathy, but not because they really value my presence.
I am currently trying to understand this cycle and how to break it. So in the first place I tried to see why I was reaching out in step 2 to my friends after I got lonely. It was because I was lonely, not because I was really eger to see my friends and spend time with them. I wanted them to heal me. Give me what I need. I reached out for them out of the “false” reasons.
I am trying to differ now what is happening, when I feel the urge to talk to my friends. And If I feel I “just” have the urge to fight my loneleyness, I reach out to other options, like posting here how I feel, trying to get around with other activities, always keeping in mind that my friends do not avoid me on purpose (I have a different post where I am dealing with that paranoia and conspiracies that people would avoid me)
I see the first effects, so I reach out to my friends when I am feeling good, and actually had no urge for them to heal me, and the time we spend together has a higher quality, it is different - I am different - and they of course feel that, and what I take with me is not my basic needs getting fullfilled, but building bonds, and even giving back something.
It is my way of trying to break that circle, I of course cannot say if it will work for you. .
Hi thank you for your reply. That sounds like a great way to think about things and it could definitely help me for sure, so I appreciate your insights since you can relate so directly. My only concern is I’m worried how long it will take me to break out of it and be willing to spend time with them for the ‘right’ reasons. I’ve been turning to videogames as a distraction but whenever there is downtime or I’m not doing too well in them, the veil of the distraction is lifted and I think about what I’m doing with my life and how I’m not interacting with other people much. But at the very least I will do my best to not be bitter about my friends or take it personally.
Breaking a cycle can be very exhausting. I also fall back into it over and over again. Breaking it once, does not mean you have done it. But each time you manage to break it you recognize it better when you fall back into it.
For me it also helped to talk to single friends, and tell them what is happening, and it turned out they reached out for me to get me into activities, to help me break that cycle.
Also does falling into the cycle in the first place has a reason. For me it was my personal background, how I was raised and how to deal with friendship and love in general.
What made me think about this cycle is, that it happend with all friends, even if they didn’t know each other, so I knew it was a problem with me in general, and I had to look for the reason for it.
Sometimes it is enough to change your behavior (like trying to break out of the cycle) sometimes you need to find out what brought you there in the first place. There is no global answer for that. Sadly. If I had it, I would be happy to share it with everyone
I’m pretty new to the site, I was going to check off the supported box for all of the replies on here from both of you, but I now realize I can only do it for one reply. Regardless, thanks y’all.