Five Ways to Maintain Friendships While Coping with Depression

By  //  October 17, 2019

Maintaining friendships while balancing your own personal and professional life is challenging — especially if you are dealing with depression.

Maintaining friendships while balancing your own personal and professional life is challenging — especially if you are dealing with depression.

Depression is a common medical illness that affects how you feel, think, and act.

The National Institute on Mental Health reports major depressive disorder affects approximately 7.1% of the U.S. population age 18 and older. Meanwhile, depression symptoms range from mild to severe, and they can include:

  • Chronic anxiety and sadness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced or increased appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Recurring thoughts of suicide or death
  • Back pain and other physical problems

If you are dealing with depression, it may seem virtually impossible to maintain friendships. Depression sometimes makes people feel disconnected from friends — even friends who have been supportive in good times and bad. It may also lead a person to isolate himself or herself from friends — and cause friendships to fall apart.

Don’t let your depression symptoms put your friendships in danger. Here are five ways to maintain friendships while coping with depression:

1. Accept Your Feelings

Depression sometimes causes feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and grief. These feelings may occur for a variety of reasons, such as the recent loss of a loved one, work-related stress, or alcohol or drug use. If you accept the reality that these feelings are associated with depression, you can take the first step to treat your depression symptoms.

Remember, depression is complex, and identifying the root cause of your depression symptoms is a great starting point to achieving long-lasting depression relief.

If you identify what is causing your depression symptoms, you can prevent these symptoms from escalating. Most importantly, you can treat your depression symptoms before they interfere with your friendships.   

2. Be Honest

It is often tempting to try to hide depression symptoms from friends. The shame and embarrassment associated with feeling depressed can be overwhelming.

As a result, these feelings may lead a person to avoid social situations. However, if you are honest with your friends about your depression, you could gain powerful allies in your efforts to overcome depression symptoms.

Friends take care of one another, and they will support you as you combat your depression, but they can only be there for you if you are honest about what you are going through. They may even be able to share with you their own experiences with depression symptoms and show you that you are not alone in your battle with depression. 

3. Provide Support

Your problems are important, but it is important to remember that friendship is a two-way street. If you share your thoughts and feelings about your depression with your friends, you should also be ready to listen to your friends’ problems and provide ongoing support.

You need your friends as much as they need you. By providing your friends with support, you can help them address their problems. At the same time, you may start to feel better as a natural consequence of helping someone that you truly care about. Over time, you and your friends can further improve your relationships and continuously provide support to one another.

4. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Although you may dedicate significant time and energy to treat your depression symptoms, you may still lash out at your friends along the way. In these instances, don’t make excuses or ignore your mistakes.

Instead, accept responsibility for your actions and apologize to your friends. No one is perfect, and even those who work diligently to address their depression symptoms may experience ups and downs during treatment.

But if you make a mistake during your depression treatment, you can move forward by taking responsibility for it. Then, you and your friends can let the past stay where it belongs — in the past.

5. Cut Ties

Friends will often go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you during your depression treatment. However, there are sometimes instances in which a friend is unwilling to adapt or unable to treat you with patience and kindness during a difficult time.

In this case, your friend may criticize you for feeling depressed, tell you to ignore your depression symptoms, or try to avoid you. If you believe a friend is doing more harm than good, you may need to cut ties with him or her.

The goal of your depression treatment is to help you overcome your depression symptoms — and prevent them from recurring. If a friend is contributing to your depression symptoms, you may need to let him or her go. It is always difficult to end a friendship, but in the long run, doing so may be the best course of action.    

Take Advantage of Depression Resources

In addition to the aforementioned ways to maintain friendships while coping with depression, you can access a wide range of depression resources. In doing so, you can get the insights you need to identify and treat your depression symptoms and educate your friends about depression.

For example, Mental Health America offers resources to help you find local depression support groups. Or, if you need immediate support with your depression symptoms, the National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a free helpline available via phone or text. You and your friends can work together to find and review different depression resources as well.

How to Treat Your Depression Symptoms

If your depression symptoms are interfering with your friendships, don’t wait to seek help.     Reach out to your doctor to develop an individualized treatment plan to address these symptoms.

A doctor may prescribe antidepressant medications to treat your depression symptoms. These medications often help patients alleviate depression symptoms, but finding medications that work for you may require many weeks or months. Antidepressants may also cause vomiting, nausea, and other side effects.

If antidepressants do not deliver the desired results, you can always explore other depression treatment options. For instance, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) therapy is a revolutionary treatment that has been shown to help people address major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression.

A Closer Look at dTMS Therapy

A dTMS therapy program generally requires brief, 20-minute treatment sessions completed five days per week over the course of six weeks. It involves the use of magnetic pulses sent to specific areas of the brain that cause depression when they are underactive. These magnetic pulses stimulate neural activity to help alleviate depression symptoms without the unpleasant side effects that are often caused by antidepressant medications.

There are many reasons why people choose dTMS therapy to treat depression, including:

  • Non-Invasive: dTMS therapy does not require anesthesia or electrical shocks. Patients can immediately return to school, work, and other everyday activities immediately after a dTMS therapy session.
  • Short Treatment Sessions: Each dTMS therapy session only requires about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • No Side Effects: The only side effect associated with dTMS therapy is a mild headache for some patients, which typically resolves on its own after the first week of treatment, and can be treated with a mild over-the-counter pain reliever.                                             

Since dTMS was FDA-cleared in 2008, research has shown that dTMS therapy has helped patients significantly reduce their depression symptoms. In fact, some studies indicate over 40% of patients experienced no depression symptoms after dTMS treatments.

Find the Right Depression Treatment Today

When it comes to treating your depression symptoms, there is no shortage of options at your disposal. By evaluating different depression treatments, you can find one that is both safe and effective. You can also discover a depression treatment that delivers long-lasting results — and helps you maintain friendships.

Achieve TMS Bio

Achieve TMS is the leading provider of FDA-approved dTMS therapy in Alaska, California, and Oregon. It offers dTMS to help patients dealing with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). To date, Achieve TMS has delivered over 30,000 dTMS treatments with a 49% remission rate and 70% response rate.