So we’re sad, those of us battling depression. Lonely. Feeling unloved. Feeling like failures. Whatever it is. Ever imagine what we must look like to the casual observer? The expression on our faces or the set of our shoulders or how we walk?
Do you ever find yourself drawn to other sad, unhappy-looking people? Do they make you smile and feel good or is your first inclination to oh-oh, better stay away!
The problem with depression is…we show this black mood on our faces and on our demeanor. We’re sad, and people can see it. We hate or excessively find fault in ourselves, and people see that too. Trouble for us is, most people seem as a rule to seek out happiness and fun.
I know I do. I long to be among people who make me happy or help me be happy. Trouble is those people are also searching for happy people to give themselves a lift. Are they going to notice me looking sadly at them hoping they’ll include me? If they do, probably I’ll be the last one they’ll want to connect with or talk to, because my demeanor shouts to them all the doom and gloom I’m feeling inside. They can see at a glance they’d be doing all the work to make me happy,while ignoring their own desire to stay that way.
What does this do? I am left isolated even when I do dredge up the energy to go out and try to be among people. Because I transmit sadness, and most people don’t want me bringing them down. So I sit isolated, watching other people get the companionship I am yearning for, and then I feel even more isolated, unwanted, unloved, unaccepted, etc. etc., which of course makes me even more miserable inside. It’s a vicious cycle. Unwittingly, I cause myself to be alone.
This all goes back to the whole belief that we need other people to be happy. And that’s the other thing. How many people go out on the town thinking “tonight I’m going to find a sad person to talk to…tonight I’m going to expend all my energy helping a depressed person be happy…even if it destroys my chance to have fun?”
Not bloody likely. And yet here I am sitting at some bar or wherever, hoping to connect with someone fun and entertaining to brighten my mood. And of course when no one steps up to the plate, I bow my head, I stare at my hands, I blink back tears and transmit even more misery to the people around me trying to have fun, and not only do they then not want to deal with me–they silently resent me for being such a black cloud on their otherwise good time and are wishing I’d just go away.
Depression is self perpetuating. It generates more depression because of how we respond to it. It’s so easy to hope the external world will distract us–give us those little happy moments we crave and hope they’ll last when of course they never do. The external world lets us down and we feel sad all over again. Dependency upon other people to make us feel better or happy…this is a huge contributor to making ourselves feel worse. No dependency is a good thing–addiction to that happy feeling we get being around happy people–is like any other addiction. The feeling accepted and happy doesn’t last–we end up back on the street again searching–or huddled alone in tears suffering withdrawal.
When we were children it was easy to appreciate just playing by yourself. You could imagine whatever you wanted, become whatever you wanted, do whatever you wanted. There were no rules. No one bossing you. No expectations. Why is it as adults we find it so hard to be like that and just have fun & be content by ourselves? Why do we need other people to affirm our worth for us, to help us succeed at being happy? Who says we can’t go out and do whatever we want to, for ourselves, just to make our own fun?
The term “making friends” is an interesting one. “Making” implies something you have to work at to have happen, or pursue, or seek out. Like it’s a task that needs doing. Why not just stop caring so much about having friends? Enjoy your own thoughts, be your own company, whatever the activity is you like to do. Don’t go do something with the point being making new friends. Go do something for the sheer fun of it, and the friends will just…happen. Don’t try so hard. Don’t care so much. Don’t be something you’re not to earn someone’s caring or appreciation. Be yourself. Do your thing, walk the path of your journey. Relax.. Find little things to smile about.
Don’t look to other people to find happinesses for you. Enjoy what is (recommend the book “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie), rather than fret about what is not. Your demeanor will change. You will have a lighter step and the stress or pain will leave your face. You will smile more, breath deeply and relax, see more of the good in people and situations and less of the bad. People will sense that about you and then it will be YOU they’re drawn to, YOU who is the happy one they’ll hope will lift them up.
Why compare yourself to someone else? You are not them and they’re not you. And really, does it matter what other people think? It’s really only your opinion that matters–you’re the one who has to live with you–and if you’re doing what feels good–feels right for you, isn’t that all that should count? There will be no dependency on others–no pressure put on other people. Your happiness will be real–natural. Because it comes from within you, not from without.