i really could sum this one up with 3 words:
relationships. fucking hell.
i'll try and write a bit more than just that though.
life is nothing without relationships of some kind or another. relationships with family and friends. romantic relationships. patient/doctor relationships. those complicated little buggers are EVERYWHERE!
Depression has definitely had an impact on the state of existing relationships and the chances of me building new ones as well.
in general, my ability to communicate with new people took a downward turn when my depression took hold. it was (and is) SO difficult to strike up conversation with someone i dont know. even more so if there is no common ground to talk about.
common ground is the catalyst to any relationship in my opinion. something you and the other person can both talk about. for example, during my depression its been a LOT easier for me to talk to someone new who was on a board at a skatepark. that person and i both skate. that common ground is the basis for striking up a conversation with that person, and possibly turning that person from someone with common ground into a friend. that friendship, and the relationship i have with that person may stop at the fact we share common ground with skateboard, or it may evolve and become a better friendship over time.
the relationships i have with my close friends; the ones who i talk to about my problems are totally different to the ones i mentioned above. my outlook on people changed a lot during the first year of my depression. it went from "yeah, everyone's alright unless they prove me otherwise" to "everyone is a wanker UNTIL they prove me otherwise!" fortunately those people closest to me (you know who you are) i have known since before my problems began, and while (as in any relationship) there will be rough times they have never let me down, and (i hope) i have never let them down. they look after me. i try and look after them. thats how it works. they have proven over and over that they are NOT wankers. they are the best people i know and i love them to bits.
i find those close friends easier to talk to than my family. sounds weird, but its true. a lot of the time i talk to my friends via the internet. i have time to think about what im going to say when im typing it. i can read things before ive said it and i can delete things before ive said them. the internet is a bit of a safety barrier, which i think is why i find it easier to talk to my friends.
talking to family is much more difficult. as i live with my parents i see them all the time. personally i find it a LOT harder to talk in person to someone about my problems than talk via facebook or whatever. it scares me that there is no control or safety net to restrict what i say or do. i may try and say one thing, but it sounds like im saying another. its very difficult.
my relationship with my family is good. but talking to them is something ive never been able to do very well. it takes a LOT of effort and courage for me to say something. even something as insignificant as "i need to go to the dentists" scares me when talking to them. that feeling of no safety net definitely throws me off a bit. that feeling that they may judge me for what i say or do isnt nice either. i know they probably wont do that, but its still a difficult thing to face- the overthinking doesnt help either.
of course, there the 'other' kind of relationship. the kind that isnt "just friends". the romantic relationship.
i'll be honest. even before my mental health deteriorated my abilities with these kind of relationships was about as useful as stephen hawking's football boots. im shit at talking to women. theres never been anything serious or long lasting. during my depression there's been no 'special relationship' with me and a ladygirlwoman. thats not to say that there isnt someone i care about a great deal. i may even have used the L word when talking about her to other close friends.
unfortunatly she doesnt feel the same way. a total kick to the feels. however, she is still a close friend and that is ace. we take care of each other when either of us aren't doing good. we've been through rough times and have both dealt with depression. its a very close relationship. (and yeah, there are still emotions and feelings there...)
there is something that makes a relationship between 2 people a lot more important if you've been through similar bad times. i believe that depression and self harm is something you cannot fully understand unless you have experienced it first hand. when i've spoken to people who have experienced them they seem to understand better. it adds an extra ammount of depth to a relationship.
depression/self harm sufferers should never underestimate the power of talking to someone who has experienced the same things. they can give an entirely different view than those who havent dealt with mental health issues. its also an entirely different support structure which they can give. im very lucky to have that lady in my life. and while its not in the way in which i wish, im still very happy that i have that relationship with her.
the last relationship i want to mention is the one i had with a counsellor from the YMCA counselling service. that was totally different to anything i've experienced when it came to talking about stuff.
the fact that it was a third party i was talking to made it so much easier to open up, even though it was face to face. i didnt have to see them all the time. i didnt have to talk to them all the time.
for that one hour a week i could just get loads of stuff off my chest and they would listen and offer their opinion.
there was no friendship. no complex connections. no fallout after speaking to them. it was basically like a patient/doctor relationship. you only said what YOU wanted to say. it really helped to have that option available to me and if you are reading this and need to talk to someone i strongly suggest looking into the YMCA counselling service or a similar service in your area.