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Friday, May 14, 2021

Opinion

Depression is manageable with socialization


Depression separates people from those they are closest to. Socialization is key to helping people suffering from mental health issues. | Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

Depression separates people from those they are closest to. Socialization is key to helping people suffering from mental health issues. | Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

The past year has left millions of people around the world feeling isolated. With depression rates soaring, many are feeling especially unmotivated to maintain their relationships. 

Socialization is key to helping people suffering from depression come out of their destructive periods of isolation.

Depression can make it hard to accomplish basic tasks like cleaning, bathing or eating, so talking to friends may seem like an impossible feat. Something that is usually fun and refreshing becomes another stressful chore on a seemingly infinite to-do list.

It’s often characterized by pretending everything is fine and minimizing problems so no one will worry, but choosing to not be vulnerable only contributes to a negative mindset. Assuring concerned friends and worrying parents that nothing is wrong is only going to extend the isolation.

Although it might feel like the hardest option, admitting to feeling alone or depressed is the fastest way out of the rough patch. Friends and family may not be able to help with mountains of homework or demanding bosses, but they can help rationalize the stress.

Mental health issues manifest differently for everyone, so they probably won’t completely understand where someone else’s anxiety or depression stems from.

There’s a stigma that exists around mental health issues that can deter people from confiding in those around them. They may not want to be known as the depressed person among their friends. There’s even the possibility of further isolation if people don’t want to deal with someone who they perceive as mentally unstable.

When a person with depression thinks about these factors, the negative consequences might outweigh the potential positive outcomes. They don’t want to burden the people around them with the trouble of dealing with their depressed friend. This feeling can be exaggerated through the lens of depression.

If someone suffering from depression or anxiety can get over the mental hurdles preventing them from reaching out to their loved ones, the payoff can be so rewarding. For short-term relief, the oxytocin released when someone receives a hug can lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels.

For long-term improvement, it’s important to establish a support system. Friends that can offer kind words or just be a listening ear are crucial to someone looking for a ray of light during a dark day of depression. 

It takes a lot of work to nurture relationships while suffering from depression, but one healthy conversation could be enough to lift someone from rock bottom. 

Depression doesn’t always have to be the center of the conversation. It’s OK to want to move on to more enjoyable topics or hear about a friend’s more positive stories. The main goal is opening up to have conversations again. 

No one deserves to suffer in silence, even if that’s what their illness is telling them. Sometimes it’s easier to hear that from an actual person with familiarity instead of a search engine. 

It’s hard to tell what someone is going through if they don’t make it apparent with their words or actions. Reaching out and confiding in a loved one could help them to open up about their own struggles with mental health.

Depression separates people from those they are closest to. It can feel like no one would ever understand their stress or fears, but people are usually more similar than different. Especially during a pandemic that has forced many into isolation, loneliness and anxiety are even more prevalent.

Suffering from depression can make one feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. It can be completely consuming, but friendship can serve as a life preserver for a drowning soul. Don’t hesitate to rely on relationships for extra support to overcome.

Jordan Hart is a journalism junior who can be reached at [email protected]

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