Relationships are what we will be remembered by. When my time comes, I will be leaving behind the people who would be proud of knowing me. I will become a story people will tell and that can only be done when I have some sort of a relationship with them.
Relationships & Mental Health
Normally, in India, when people hear the word relationship, their mind directly goes to the relationship of love. The love of youth, the hormonal rage that we go through, the intensity of first love, is what we think about first when we hear someone saying ‘relationship’. Relationships are much more than that. We have a relationship with our family, our friends and of course our partners. We also have the general social relationship which is determined by our body language and non-verbal cues.
It is very hard for a person with depression to maintain and make new relationships in life. It is like wishing for the deepest, sincerest form of friendship but at the same time, always looking for excuses to end them. Isolation is a prominent characteristic of depression and when we break it down, there are very few people that have a good relationship with the sufferer. Let us try and break it down.
Relationship of Sufferer & Self.
Before being on good terms with someone else, it is important to be at peace with the self. It is something that is impossible for the depressed mind. It doesn’t see itself as worthy of love, care or any attention; all of this while it seeks the most unconditional love. A depressed mind hates itself. It focuses on everything that has gone wrong and gives a sense of worthlessness and failure. It leads to frustration and despair.
What would a mind like this convey with its body language? You would sometimes see a blank emotion on the face. This cannot be observed when the mind is engaged in a conversation, but when it just ends one. The face you make when you end a conversation with an acquaintance is something that would show a more true reflection of the inner self. We often get stuck in our thoughts when we stop talking. The thoughts that consume us in such a situation are what shape our thinking process.
Try it on yourself some day. Observe the thoughts you have just after a chat with a friend. Think about them for a while. You will get to know yourself better.
Relationship with Close Ones.
When a man or woman has a mental illness, he is not the only suffering because of it. The people close to the sufferer also have to go through a lot. The volatile mood, the low communication and the feeling of helplessness are all commonly reported among friends of families of depressed people. Most friends take the easy way out and slowly end their relationship but the family rarely does that. I must mention, though, that it is not unheard of.
Families may play an important role but it also depends on how they see the sufferer. A family has to reinvent itself when someone is suffering. If they stick to the old traditions, it is unlikely to be of any help to the person. A family that doesn’t express its affection overtly will have to find ways to do that in order to be of some help.
Relationships and Recover-er.
When a person is in recovery, they are unlikely to open up to a new relationship. New friends or partners will be hard to find or make. The routine of isolation is hard to change. The mind is closed off to outsiders and no one is allowed in the inner circle of trust. If a person does begin some sort of a friendship though, it might be different from your usual friendships. It would be something different, but in a nice way. You would find new parts of humanity and of yourself too. I cannot speak for every person in recovery out there but I would say sometimes we are worth the effort. It will take some effort from your side too but, I would like to believe that we would make it worth your while.