We were created to crave the company of others. Babies cannot physically thrive without positive social interaction. As adults, our problems are more difficult to face and our blessings are less meaningful without the support of loved ones.
Unfortunately, one of the first things to happen when a person becomes depressed is a pulling away from her social network. She begins turning down invitations to social events and stops initiating time with friends. The depressed person feels like this is what helps her cope. It almost feels like a security blanket, a hiding away from the world and all of its trouble.
But isolation is anything but healthy, especially for a person who is depressed.
If you are depressed and you feel yourself pulling away from friends and family, you need to know that this will only hurt you. Remind yourself that your intense desire to curl up on the couch by yourself is not what you really need.
In last week’s post I encouraged you to insist on solitude. It is important that you know the difference between solitude and isolation, at least within the context of this series: Solitude is a time of pulling away from the noise of the world to be refreshed and rejuvenated. Solitude is healthy and necessary. Isolation, on the other hand, is not healthy.
If you’re not depressed but you have been before, be proactive; build that social network now. Find the people and the activities that will serve as insurance against isolation should depression ever knock on your door again.
If you are battling depression right now, here are some tips to help you get back into healthy social interactions.
Start with an activity that will require very little involvement on your part, like going to a restaurant. Keep going to church, even if you can’t bring yourself to stay and chat afterwards. (But do work toward “visiting” a little more each time.)
Ask your friends to help you.
Tell a friend about your depression and how difficult it is for you to be socially active. Ask her to check up on you and give her permission to be persistent with invitations to lunch, or coffee, or whatever.
Use the time with friends to take a break from your troubles.
This is not to say that you can’t ever talk about your situation. Of course you need friends in whom you can confide and who will listen to and pray for you. But sometimes you just need to be with people and focus on the good things in life.
Avoid toxic relationships.
To the greatest extent possible, try to avoid social situations and individuals that will emphasize your negative feelings or make it more difficult for you to focus on healing.
Depression will try to pull you away from the very thing that can lift you out of the darkness. Don’t give in. Insist on time with friends.
. . . . . . . . . .
Beth Cranford believes every Christian has been equipped and empowered to do specific and effective work in the kingdom of God. It is her heart’s desire to see women live in the freedom that is theirs through Christ by helping them break free from depression and other strongholds. She encourages women to experience God’s power in their lives by understanding their identity and position in Christ and their unique design.
Beth has a passion for helping Christian parents design and implement an education that honors and nurtures their children’s individual design, equipping them for a life of freedom and power.
Beth has been married to her best friend for 21 years. Together they raise and educate their two children in middle TN. You can find her at http://www.bethcranford.com
Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)