I’ve been thinking lately about my inability to maintain relationships with people. Depression has caused me to shut a lot of people out of my life. Mostly I haven’t given it much thought, but it dawned on me that it has to do with a sense of brokenness.
My illness makes it hard to be around people, and it seems like things ending up getting to the point that the relationship itself is broken, and no more fixable than trying to glue broken glass back together. And the brokenness is always my fault. Not my fault in terms of blame, guilt, or shame, but my fault in that the sense of brokenness wholly (or at least mostly) exists in my head, and may or may not have a strong basis in reality.
Probably what gets me into the most trouble is that once I feel that brokenness, it seems irreparable. It feels final. And I don’t know how to overcome that barrier. It’s not that I feel that I am broken myself; the brokenness applies only to the link between me and the other person. There’s a very detached quality to it; there really isn’t much of anything in terms of thoughts or feelings attached.
One of my oldest friends tried to stick by me the longest with this current episode of depression (although is it even an episode any more at this point?). While her efforts to reach out on a fairly regular basis struck me as kind, it didn’t change the brokenness. Did she do anything wrong? Not really; I felt invalidated by some things she said at one point, but I knew full well that was not her intention. And that wasn’t what triggered the brokenness. What really cemented it was when I went over to visit her and her kids while they were putting up their Christmas tree. I’m sure my friend thought the visit went not too bad, aside from me not saying much. In my head, though, that afternoon was inexplicably the death knell of the friendship.
It’s also a problem with my parents. I had my reasons for initially pulling away from them when depression came into my life again a couple of years ago, but that’s not really an issue now. What persists, though, is the sense that the close connection I used to have with them is permanently broken. I’m not sure how I would even go about trying to change that thought pattern. It’s almost like key pieces are missing that makes it impossible to reassemble the relationship as it was. They love me, but I sure as hell make it hard for them to do so.
This has all come to mind as a result of an altercation I had with a friend recently. It was over something that’s not really that important, but I’m getting that done and broken feeling. It’s not a conscious choice that I’ve made; it’s just there. Yet another casualty in depression’s destructive march through my life.