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Anxiety and Depression Support
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Why do I treat my friends like crap whenever my depression comes back?

I'm 17 and I've been dealing with depression for 4 years, since before my mom died of cancer. I've had multiple traumatic experiences happen the past 4 years, I used to take psych medication & I'm still in therapy. Last time I would say I was depression was last school year towards the middle of summer. The beginning of this school year (Sept. 2017) is when I would say I finally discovered self-love & no longer felt depressed, even my therapist noticed improvements with my mental health. However just around December, my depressive symptoms started coming back slowly. I didn't think much of it, I thought it was just stress. I'm usually outgoing and talk to everyone, but lately I've been feeling suffocated staying in a room around people for more than 10 minutes, I just feel a need to be isolated. I've been having moods of not depressed, but just sad a lot more frequently. I get irritated easily, I lose interest talking to people & I push everyone way & treat them terribly (not intentionally, I only see it when people point it out). I also have bad and negative thoughts. I only realized my depression is coming back when my therapist told me last week that it sounds like I'm relapsing. I went off on my best friend saying she doesn't care about me anymore, I burden her when I talk about my problems, etc. She pointed out that it isn't true, I start pushing her away whenever my depression comes back & act mean to her, then when she ignores me I come at her saying she doesn't care about me anymore. I'm completely clueless to how I act until it's pointed out, why is it whenever my depression comes back I treat people I love terribly? How do I get out of that annoying habit? I don't like who I am when I'm going through one of my "depressed cycles". Idk what I would call it exactly.

3 Replies

Hi Angela, I know what you mean about pushing people away when you're falling into your depression. I do that too, I get irritable and would rather to just be left alone, because I know that if I surround myself with the people I love, my mood swings can get the better of me at any moment and I might end up saying something mean and hurting the ones I love. But this also makes it really hard to get help from those same people that I know want to support me and that care about me.

The only thing that has worked for me in this situations has been explaining to my family and closest friends that depression affects me in that way sometimes, to let them know that whenever I'm acting weird or mean in that way, it's probable because I'm not feeling well. Also, in my nuclear family, we use a color code. They will ask me everyday how am I doing and I'll answer Code Green, or Code Red, or Code Black or whatever, meaning my current state of mind and we've already discussed the meanings of each color. So, when I say Code Red, they understand that I'm having just "one of those days" where I could barely get out of bed and that I'm operating on a really short fuse, so they'll try to keep to themselves and only ask "is there anything I can help you with?". I found it to be very useful to set our expectations of each other while dealing with my depression. Maybe this could be a good option for communicating your feelings to your friend, too?

Hope it helps. Good luck :)


Hi Angela,

I think its common behaviour when you feel down. Depression has this funny way of pulling yourself further and further down. It is upto you to hold on and try not to break the relationships with those who love us. I would always snap at my closest people when I felt sad. I would blame them. I don't fully understand this behaviour but I know I do it. Just explain it to them. Tell them "when I feel depressed like the other day, sometimes, I snap at you and push you away really hard. It is not because I don't love you or because I want you gone. It is because sometimes I lose control over my feelings and my reactions. When I do this, please try not to take it personally and react like this (you give them some options of how to calm you down)". Have this conversation with your loved ones. You really don't want to push away those who care sweetheart!

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i get it. i do that too. i don't necessarily push people away, i just isolate myself. i would turn down offers to go out and socialize. i avoid my family at home. i stop eating. thats when my anxiety comes back. sometimes i am irritable and snap at my family members, ignore calls/texts. it's difficult but your true friends and family are the ones who will still be there when you come out of it. my family is so used to it now that they act like nothing happened. they take it, stay quiet and patient until i come around. so if your friends are treating you badly, they are not worth worrying about. good luck


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