The Social Impact of Depression

Woman in Counseling - NIMH

Our personalities are us. That is to say, the personality we project to the world is who the world believes we are. If that personality is afflicted by symptoms of depression, anxiety or any of a number of other mental and emotional disorders, it can change the personality the world sees.

Depression and anxiety are not who we are. They are temporary disorders that can be treated and moved beyond. So when we include depression or anxiety as part of our 'face' to the world, it is not a fair description of who we really are.

This inability to get beyond our disorder can cause many to back away from social interaction. Our self-esteem and self-confidence erodes. We become anxious. We don't want to reveal this aspect of self, however temporary it might be, and therefore pull back from those who are most likely to spot the problem - and, just maybe, those who are most likely to provide us with support and understanding.

There are many who judge those who suffer from our set of disorders. We don't want to be judged, so we hide. We stop going out socially. We avoid gatherings of family and friends. We stay at home, hiding our 'faces.' This can damage our relationships with those who don’t understand why this is happening, in turn increasing our social isolation and loneliness.

This is the point where we most need a friend to lean on, someone who knows that we are more than just our disorder. For those of us fortunate enough to have such a person in our lives, it is important that we not shut them out.

For those who don't have this kind of support, professional support becomes even more critically important. We have to be able to lay out our feelings to someone who will listen without judgment, someone who will be unconditionally supportive.

Without appropriate help the emotional and social aspects of depression and anxiety may become persistent, with great lasting damage done.

Those who suffer from depression or anxiety should not hesitate to seek professional help. Medication and psychotherapy are both effective treatments that can ease the emotional pain these disorders cause.

If you believe someone you know might be suffering from these disorders, be a friend to them. Don’t allow them to pull away from those who care about them. Make sure they get help. Don’t judge them.

Sources: Elements of Behavioral Health and Lean On Me


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