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Unble to Connect with Others

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, I am bipolar and usually cope well. Yesterday i met with my psychologist who suggested i reach out and talk to other more about my depression. This seems like a good idea and is always highlighted by media and psch services as something to do. But I feel very worried about doing so, you see when i am depressed i feel and act like a different person and through the years of living with this disease i have lost many valuable friends through their inability to cope with my depression. Everyone says they are there for you anytime you want to talk, but i don’t believe them, my beliefs have been confirmed today when i reached out to three people in a tentative way (just asked to meet up or text with general conversation)and got nothing back, two are too busy to meet me talk with me, one didnt respond etc. I know for a fact one of them is lying. How can i trust others, who can i talk to?

I don’t fully understand the reasoning behind your psychologist’s suggestion. There’s probably more to his thinking.

It’s always better to have more support than less support. Social support is a critical aspect of depression recovery. Maybe your psychologist thought you needed more support.

People with depression often withdraw and isolate themselves. Isolation increases the intensity of depression. Perhaps that is the reason for the suggestion.

I wouldn’t take the reactions of your friends personally. They may have been busy or had other things they preferred to do. You have your life and they have theirs. There should be some time in both of your lives to be together as friends. But maybe not as much you would like now or they may like at some other time.

Remember that they are not trained professionals. The layperson isn’t prepared to deal with other people’s psychological problems. The best person with whom to consult about psychological problems is a trained mental health professional.

My general advice is that you shouldn’t speak to just anyone about personal matters. Certainly, there are some people who would be better to confide in than others. You should choose someone you trust, respect, someone with whom you can relate or who understands what you’re going through. Be careful about sharing too much personal information, especially with someone who might use it against you. Sharing too much personal information can put you in a vulnerable position.

I would recommend revisiting this issue with your psychologist. Clarify why he or she thinks sharing your personal experience with depression is a good idea. Also inquire about how to choose whom to approach. Perhaps your psychologist can refer you to a depression support group. It would be an ideal place to share your personal feelings since everyone else in the group is also experiencing depression and can relate. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice

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