If you haven’t read Sebastian Junger’s book Tribe and are suffering from depression, I highly recommend it. It has really helped me think about the way I am feeling and the way I have chosen to get better. The basic premise of the book is that we are happier and healthier when we feel we belong and contribute to a group who cares about us.
Over the past few weeks, I have reached out to everyone I care about, to tell them about what I’m going through. I had hit such a low point that I desperately needed to do this, to not feel alone. And it has helped enormously. People have been very, very good to me, messaging, emailing, calling and visiting so I don’t feel so alone during my stress leave.
I honestly don’t think I could have coped without them.
Right now I have so much work to do in terms of thinking about who I am and where I am going in my life. What this crisis has taught me is that I need to be around people. I can’t spend my weekends alone anymore while my husband is working. I have to put myself out there and risk the rejection, rather than be alone all the time. As a shy introvert this is extremely difficult, but I am finding the rewards outweigh the risks. Even if I’m not meeting anyone, my instincts now are to just go to the coffee shop, or the mall, and be around people. This is what I need.
In Junger’s book, he talks about how people heal faster from mental illness when they are around their tribe of people. The basic need to be around others is so deep-rooted that we don’t even notice how much we need it until we have a breakdown and feel so desperately lonely.
I am not sure where all this will lead me, but I have been thinking about changes in my life and how I need more than just work to sustain me in terms of my sociability. All my eggs were in my work basket, so to speak, and now I need to expand my social horizons.