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Depression as a social illness



New member
May 21, 2015
I'm currently struggling with a depressive illness and social anxiety. I understand that to rid the social anxiety I have to expose myself to the situations for long enough, however, I have physical symptoms of depression that slow me down and reduce concentration to the point that I am unable to work (I just walked out of my first job in six months, because it was overwhelming working in an office), and this makes exposure difficult.

I have been through a lot of emotional pain in my relationship and I continue to do so as time goes on. I know that my relationship (which is positive and healthy for the most part) plays a part in the stress mechanism in my anxiety and depressive illness. For what difference it makes, my anxious thoughts centre around the social obligation I feel to others. I am a highly sensitive/good looking man and have always felt a pressure from society to act a certain way, but I have become very introverted with mental illness and this contributes to my ability to cope in situations. I have become extremely mechanical in social situations as well.

I am trying to decide what to do now. I will either find another job, that's part time, or find a less socially demanding job.

Or I have considered taking antidepressants, (ssris work for me) to get me out the acute phase of my illness and then to use cognitive behavioural therapy during a period of stabilisation and while coming off of the drugs.

I am very much aware of depression and anxiety being a somewhat social illness, that it is affected by others and others are affected by it. In fact it may even be somewhat adaptive to the depressed person playing the 'victim' which causes others to attend to them. I am also aware of the how the suffering endured in love somewhat affects the mechanisms involved in depression, and I believe that understanding this might be the key to alleviating a lot of the symptoms.

I refuse to be a victim. I see this as a somewhat physical/psychological condition that can be overcome by exposure and possibly with the help of pharmacological treatment to help the physical side of it.

But I am concerned that by continuing to treat an illness I am accepting this victim status. I know intuitively that the only way to get over mental illness is to expose oneself to the fears, or to create a life that is relatively stress free, but I am also amibitous to do many things in my life.

I am interested in any insight.


Well-known member
Jul 12, 2012
Hi Nicky,

I am no fan of medication, either. I try not to take it at all, except when I absolutely have to, in order to function. And if you can't hold down a job because of your depression, then it sounds to me like you absolutely have to, in order to function.

So why not just try it for a while? You already seem to know that SSRI's work for you. You are a victim if you don't take them, then, in the sense that your depression is preventing you from doing the things that you want to do. Don't let an illness run your life, if there is anything you can do to prevent that. Use the meds as a tool to make things better. You are not a victim, then. You are a victor, conquering your illness with some pharmacological help.