What to do when depressed: go out or not?

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What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by Andrew Corvero on Thu May 28, 2015 11:33 am

I've recently had a relapse of the symptoms of my depression, for a series of reasons I don't really want to discuss (they're not related to dating, anyway, so I think that I should keep them between me and my therapist).

I've found myself too sad to go out and have some fun, and I'm worried about dragging down my friends and other people I could meet, so I'm spending some time away from the world. On the other hand, though, I'm worried that being alone could fuel my depression even more.

So what should I do? Should I force myself to go out even though I could be the proverbial party pooper or should I wait until I feel a little better?

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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by reboot on Thu May 28, 2015 11:52 am

I get that way too. I usually make myself go out and do something that is in the company of others, but not high level social. In my case I will join a volunteer event like trail repair or leading a hike if it is daytime. Evenings are trickier. I will opt for some sort of activity based thing like a game night or museum where socializing is not the focus.

Sorry you are going through what you are going through. Depression is an asshole
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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by eselle28 on Thu May 28, 2015 12:12 pm

I would strongly suggest a middle option. Spending some time away from the world is not so great for depression - or at least when I do that when I'm depressed, it tends to reinforce tendencies to ignore self-care and to sit around nurturing my jerkbrain. Lower level socializing tends to be a lot better. Reboot has some great suggestions, and I'll add going to the movies to the list. I also find it helpful to sometimes do things that don't require socializing but that do require me to go out into the world, like going for a walk by myself or taking a book to a cafe. It gives me some stimulation without requiring any actual socializing.
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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by Guest on Thu May 28, 2015 12:54 pm

Personally, I like to go on walks by myself over at Balboa Park here in San Diego. But going to movies on my own definitely helps. :3 I just like exploring my hometown either 1-on-1 with a buddy or going what I like to call "Solo Adventures/Missions". I've played a lot of Metal Gear Solid which is why I call my solo outings that. Razz

Otherwise, walking alone somewhere in an area that brings you calmness is a good thing. Or just being outside and getting the suns rays helps in m opinion. Razz


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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by PintsizeBro on Thu May 28, 2015 1:11 pm

What I like to do in that situation is treat going out as an experiment. Sometimes I don't want to go out, and if I do go out I have an awful time. But other times, I don't want to go out, but if I do go out I end up having a good time. There's really no way for me to tell beforehand which it will be. So I go out, but I give myself the option to leave if I don't end up having a good time.

This means that some kinds of activities will be ruled out - anything where someone else is relying on me won't work out, because then I'll make myself stay for their sake. But low-pressure, anyone can show up or leave at any time sort of things, those work well. A neighborhood bar that's either walking distance or accessible by public transit, maybe.

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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by Enail on Thu May 28, 2015 1:22 pm

If you have a friend who's the sort that can do low-key, not-too-sociable hanging out and watching a movie or tv together (someone that you're close enough to feel comfortable saying upfront that that's what you're up for, and that you can trust not to try and stick around and chat for ages afterwards if you don't want it), that can be a nice compromise.
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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Thu May 28, 2015 2:31 pm

I've personally found that forcing myself to go out and pretend to have fun more often than not leads to having actual fun. Sometimes big heap social things are too much but a couple of friends or even just going to the movies is rarely a wasted effort.

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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by Prajnaparamita on Thu May 28, 2015 6:29 pm

Agreeing with everyone about trying for frequent but low-key social events. One of the things that got pounded into our heads in partial (probably because the counselors thought it sounded clever) was "an object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest" which I've found surprisingly true for me at least. Depression likes it when I retreat within myself--doing so often lets it get an even tighter grasp upon me, and keeping moving often helps shake it off.

One thing that might be helpful is coming up with things to do when you just can't go out--like when people flake on plans or the weather is nasty or you come down with a cold or depression just wouldn't let you that day (and that's okay too, remember to be kind to yourself!) Rather than having the default be to just be alone at home and potentially hurting, do you think you could come up preemptively with a list of things to do to keep you occupied? Having a list of home maintenance project for example that you've been meaning to get to that you could make yourself start on when you have that empty time might help keep yourself in motion even when you're not doing social things. Also having little projects and other activities to keep you in motion can help give a feeling of achievement and self-pride when they are completed, giving you little victories even if other stuff isn't going your way.

Anyway, just a thought. I'm sorry to hear about the depression, but it's really great that you're able to recognize this ahead of time and start planning ahead.

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Re: What to do when depressed: go out or not?

Post by eselle28 on Thu May 28, 2015 6:52 pm

Oh, yeah, having a set of activities that you can rely on when leaving the house isn't an option for some reason is a really good idea. I would suggest having more than one go to activity and that at least one of them should be something that's more toward the fun and the work end of the spectrum. When I'm having a particularly bad day and suggest to myself that perhaps it's time to do some cleaning, not so surprisingly, the answer is often, "Nah, I think I'd rather lie in bed and think self-defeating thoughts instead." When I added reading a book, working on the blanket I'm making, and planning my next vacation to the list, it's a lot easier to fight off the urge to be a body at rest.
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