What is one of the darkest sides of depression? It wears out your relationships.
The lack of vitality that comes with depression can drain you in ways that your partner, family, or friends may not be able to grasp.
Depression can disconnect you from your feelings, motivation, inspiration, creativity, and your sense of agency. It strips off your joy and will to participate in life.
How can you be connected to others when you lost the most important connection: the connection to your own authentic self?
When you live with depression, your relationships can be impacted in countless ways. Often, you aren’t aware of how it creeps up and erodes the pleasure of connecting with others. Depression pulls you in an inward emotional bubble so impermeable to the outside world, nothing seems to reach through and create a flow between you inner-world and the outside world.
The lack of vitality is felt by those around you, leaving you and others feeling empty, disconnected, and lonely. Sometimes, when a sense of helplessness makes you irritable, you come out of your shell, but it’s not good energy. And, at times, your blue moods or apathy are easily misinterpreted as indifference rather than deep emotional pain.
Thus, you may not really understand the impact of your sadness, anger, or withdrawal on your most significant relationship until it’s at its breaking point.
Fulfilling relationships are at the heart of emotional health. And, many times, depression is the result of unhealthy relationships – either childhood or adulthood interactions with others left you emotionally bare. Maybe you’ve been in neglectful or/and abusive relationships.
With that in mind, you can get trapped in a vicious cycle: you need healthy relationships to get back in touch with your vitality, but you also continue to perpetuate old relationship patterns. The cycle has to stop.
Fortunately, with the right support, you can move from a hopeless disconnect to yourself and others into a more authentic and fulfilling connection. After all, human connections are the root of emotional health.
Psychotherapy is very effective in helping you face and heal depression at its roots. You can reconnect to your authentic self; therefore, facilitating your connection to others as well.
Let’s consider a look at some productive ways therapy can help.
Psychotherapy can help you communicate more openly
If you have depression, you may feel unable to communicate meaningfully. Whether you feel unworthy of the relationship, too drained to connect, or afraid of rejection, it’s important to recognize that depression will undermine your attempts to communicate.
Many people with depression worry that their emotional issues will scare others away. In truth, it’s the denial and unwillingness to face the problem that breaks relationships apart. People who care about you and love you, want to help. Want to see you coming out of your shell, work with them, and be in a relationship with them.
Your therapist can help you look deeper at the way you react to your partner (or friends) and see how low moods and withdrawal keep your communication stagnated.
One of the most important objectives of therapy is to help you understand your inner voice, wants, and needs. You can work through emotional blocks that impede your communicating with vulnerability, clarity, and compassion.
Thus, you can develop more awareness into your inner world, and start communicating from a more genuine emotional space; therefore, start having more intimate and more fulfilling connections.
Reaching out for therapy can help you shift from being trapped in your inner world and start communicating with those that care.
Psychotherapy provides space to address your relationship needs
Depression-related apathy, irritation, and detachment can steal years from your relationships – you can go too long without having an emotional space for your relationships to bloom.
You may feel helpless to start creating that emotional space for relationships on your own.
Psychotherapy, in itself, is a process of creating a healthy and authentic relationship with a therapist – a genuine connection infused with authentic and raw humanity moments. It will help you alleviate your sense of disconnecting, loneliness, and hopelessness. Feeling authentically connected in therapy will help you start showing in your relationships more and more authentic ways as well.
You can begin to enjoy the beauty of your relationships with those you love. Maybe you kids, your partner, your friend, or your colleagues…
Psychotherapy can help see beyond the darkness of the depression
While depression holds you stuck in dread and disappointment, psychotherapy can help shift the “mind” of your relationship. Old, automatic depressive feelings, beliefs, and reactions can be faced and healed through the psychotherapeutic process of a human being benign attuned to your own relational needs.
Balancing out the hopelessness and negative tendency with the beauty that is in your relationships is important in shifting depression and therefore your ability to start relating to others in more meaningful and fulfilling ways.
Therapy challenges and heals the depressive patterns that drive you deeper into colorless doom and gloom.
All told, depressive withdrawal, loneliness and low self-esteem damage your ability to tap into your ability and pleasure of creating joyful moments in togetherness with others.
Therapy will help you tap into vulnerability, self-compassion, mutual appreciation, and the stability of your love for others as a force against dark moods.
Psychotherapy can heal the root of your depression and relationships challenges
Psychotherapy is a journey that can really heal the root of depression. In particular when depression is rooted in relational trauma there is no other more powerful way to address depression.
You, in your heart, know if depression is related to unhealed relational wounds. Maybe you’ve been over and over again emotionally ignored and not played with as a child. Or, criticized, controlled, dominated or shamed. It could be that you’ve never really felt safe, understood, or seen as a child. Rejected time and time again. Perhaps you’ve witnessed your parents abusing and neglecting each other.
Now, as an adult you repeat relational patterns that leave you stuck feeling emotionally flat, joyless, unstimulated, and “better off” being alone in your own internal bubble.
To overcome these old injuries you need a therapist that has relational trauma expertise. A combination of psychodynamic treatment based on the neuropsychology of relationships and attachment-focused-EMDR are powerful and effective in treating relational trauma from its roots.
Take the Next Step
When depression wears on the fabric of your relationship, don’t withdraw. All is not hopeless. Don’t give up on yourself or others. Seek healing and connection to yourself and others.
Life takes a different dimension with meaningful connections and fulfilling relationships.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I am specialized in treating emotional trauma and in working with creatives and performers with emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creativity, relationships and love, PTSD, and addictions.