Depression for Introverts: A How Not To Guide

There are lots of things to love about being introverted. You gain an appreciation for silence. You know the comforts of being on your own, and the independence that brings. Time spent snuggled up with fuzzy socks, a cup of tea, and a good book is treasured. A cozy night in with your cat will always win out over a night of drinks and dancing in the city.

But when you have depression, being an introvert causes a lot of issues. In my experience, the best way to cope with depression is to spend time around other people and to be active. It’s a lot harder to drown in feelings of worthlessness and abandonment when you are surrounded by loved ones. And in theory,it should give you something to look forward to. My problem is that being social often feels like more stress than it’s worth. When you’re depressed, all you want to do is recharge your permanently drained batteries in the comfort of your room. Going out is work. It feels like putting on a show because it’s far, far easier to pretend everything is fine and not ruin everyone else’s night out rather than talk about how hard it was to take a shower that day. And besides, why would they give two shits about how you’re feeling? You don’t really matter, and nothing makes you feel that more intensely than seeing your friends laugh and smile with each other while you sit there, absently stirring your poorly mixed cocktail. They don’t need you.

It’s incredible that being around other people can leave you feeling even more alone than if you’d just stayed in to begin with. But when you cancel on friends, you feel like a failure for not being able to shake the anxiety and depression off long enough to get out of the house and do something. It’s a precarious tightrope walk that I wish I never had to take. I thought medication would make it better; for awhile, it did make a real difference. But now I’ve settled into a new normal which is still not happiness. I feel the same listlessness I first felt when I was in seventh grade and first started experiencing the beginnings of anxiety and depression.

I don’t remember what it was like to not have depression anymore.Naturally, I’m still happy sometimes, and I’m able to have fun with my friends and family, but it never lasts. I’m told that’s just part of being human, but I can’t accept that I’m supposed to spend 90% of my life deeply unsatisfied, unmotivated, and exhausted. What the hell is the point of living if that’s all life is? People tell me how strong I am, and that I have so much to give. I’ve had people tell me the way I deal with my depression is inspirational. I don’t feel like an inspiration. I just feel tired.

I always said I wanted to inspire people, and help people, and change lives. I never considered that in helping other people I was avoiding helping myself. I haven’t done my laundry in a month. I do the bare minimum to keep myself presentable for work. I cut and dye my hair when I feel emotionally vulnerable so I can pretend I’m in control. I just want to feel like I have a reason to get up in the morning.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Author: Katherine Wheel

Katherine is a twenty-something year old writer from Greater Boston who is just trying to navigate adulthood. When she isn't writing, she enjoys going to concerts, painting, and spending time with her loved ones.

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