One of my least favourite things about depression is the sense of isolation it brings, especially as I am coming out of it.
When depression really kicks in, I tend to stop going out, stop doing anything with other people, and generally retreat into myself. Things going on outside my depression-limited world fade out of my consciousness, because they’re too much to deal with in the state that I’m in. The outside world stops mattering. Invitations are declined, social events avoided, and people withdrawn from.
The outside world doesn’t wait for me to start feeling better though. And the results of the depressive episode can be pretty painful. Many people don’t have much of an understanding of what depression can mean, and so they take the period of isolation as a tacit rejection, and pull away from me. Not going to social events means that I don’t get invited to them much any more. People move on with their lives, and I’m left behind.
It all makes coming out of an episode a lot harder, because I have to re-found friendships, rejoin social circles, and generally do a lot of hard work to get back to where I was in terms of interpersonal relationships. Some will just pick up where they left off. Others will have drifted so far away that I can never get them back. And most are somewhere in between.
It makes the climb out of depression that wee bit more rocky, and what makes it harder is that I feel like I’ve brought it on myself. If only I hadn’t been depressed, if only I hadn’t gone into hiding, then this would never have happened. But I can’t control those things. All I can do is slowly start reaching out to the world again.