Rebuilding Friendships Lost Over Depression


Depression cuts deep and quickly when it takes a swipe at your life, so that you are left with not one easy-to-treat wound but dozens and dozens of tiny cuts. After severe depressive episodes it is not unsurprising to find out that jobs have been lost, classes have been failed, and lovers have gone away.

While much has been made of why one should repair relationships that have fallen apart over complications from depression (or why one shouldn’t), these almost always focus on romantic relationships. What about those friends and acquaintances you might have lost by the wayside? How would you even go about trying to rebuild the roads that lead to those folks?

Everyone is different, so there is no sure-fire way to reconnect, but here are some tips that might help.

Reach Out

Regardless of why you may have lost touch with a friend—meaning even if it was his or her fault—you should be the one to reach out. First it puts you in control of communication, so if the depression is ongoing, you can both manage expectations for yourself and the other party. Second, it shows that you miss that person’s presence in your life. Pick the medium of communication that makes you the most comfortable, although public social media is to be avoided. Keep these messages private.

Be Honest

Once you’ve established contact make sure that you are able to be perfectly honest with this person. You’ll want to address what’s been going on with you, especially with your depression. Also, if there is some drama lingering in the air between you, be prepared to discuss that as well. Although remember, this is not a confrontation but a summit. So you have to be prepared to listen as well.

Don’t Blame Anyone

If you caught a virus or some other such illness that left you bed-ridden for weeks, you most likely wouldn’t feel the need to apologize to your friend. The same is true for depression. Don’t blame yourself for any of it, especially if you have already sought treatment. Conversely, try to not hold any resentment for your friend if you feel that he or she let you down. Unburdening the relationship from guilt or blame will leave behind only what was good about it in the first place.

Be Realistic

Sometimes people in relationships—both romantic and platonic—outgrow one another. Lives move at different speeds, ambitions and dreams take us in different directions. Even the relationships that last change over time, so don’t be surprised if things feel “different” after you reconnect. Also be prepared to let certain friends go. Everyone has their own issues and if, for whatever reason, the reunion doesn’t go as planned that’s okay, too. At least you tried.

Photo by Brad Fults via Flickr Creative Commons


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