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Healing Friendships During Depression Recovery

Depression is very hard to beat on your own. You need the help and support of the people around you -- especially your family and friends -- when you are recovering from depression.

Here are some things you can do.

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  • Create a support team. In the early stages of recovery, you might want to seek out a few close friends or family members you can really rely on. Don't choose only one person since that can be overwhelming for the person. Talk to all of them about your depression and your own experience. Let them know that it's fine to check in on you once in a while to make sure you're doing OK. Or they can help with your treatment by reminding you to take your medicine or driving you to health care appointments.

    Your support team can also help you watch for any signs that your depression might be coming back. They should also have a clear idea of what to do during an emergency.
  • Join a support group. Although they mean well, your family and friends may not understand what you've been through or may have their own attitudes and beliefs about depression that can prevent them from giving you the validation and support you need. If that's the case, think about joining an organized support group. That way, you can meet and talk to people who have experienced depression and recovery from depression just as you have. Depression can make you feel alone. Being part of a support group helps you see that you aren't.

    Ask your doctor or therapist for the names of support groups in your area. Or get in touch with organizations like the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).
  • Consider talking to your co-workers. Deciding whether to talk to co-workers -- or to your boss -- about your depression is complicated. It's your choice. Legally you do not have to tell them anything you don't want to. But sometimes, people with depression find that telling some people at work can be a relief. Your co-workers or employer may have been confused or concerned by your behavior when you were depressed. If you feel comfortable explaining the situation to them, you might put them at ease. Knowing that you have the support of your co-workers may make you feel a lot better.
  • Get involved. Now is a great time to meet some new people and get more active. Volunteer for a charity or a political campaign. Join an exercise class. Sign up for a book club. Just don't take on anything too demanding at first. Also, keep in mind that you don't need to tell any new friends about what you've been through. You'll just find that meeting new people, and being a part of some new activities, can help your recovery.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 11, 2014

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