Q. My depression started 10 years ago when my brother committed suicide; 6 months later my Mom died from cancer; and 2 months after her my Dad committed suicide. My husband, of 14 years, couldn’t deal with my depression. He mostly ignored me and used me for several years before leaving me.

I was so depressed that I stayed at home alone for about 3 or 4 years. I rarely saw or spoke to anyone during this time. Now, for the past 3 years, I have been going out and trying to socialize with friends (old and new). But I am finding that, for the most part, I am being rejected by almost everyone I come in contact with. They are polite when I talk to them, but they do not make an effort to talk to me or include me in any of there lives. I am left out of all social events, never invited to social gatherings, etc. I had a Christmas Party two years ago and no one, (not one person) showed up.

I am taking antidepressants, and I always try to be in a good mood when in public, however I am still rejected because of my depression. And being rejected makes me more depressed. Therefore, this is a never ending cycle that continues to make me more and more depressed. How can I end this cycle? How can I get people to view me as being not depressed anymore? How will I ever get anyone to accept me? I am very lonely and sad because of this.

A. Even though you may think that you are not, it is likely that you are sending out the vibe that you are depressed or that something is wrong, in some form or another. You say that you are basically pretending to be happy but the truth is that, per your own letter, you are not. It is not enough to pretend that you are happy. The people around you probably can see right through this lie. Maybe you’re acting the part but your heart is not truly in it. Your happiness and desire to be around others has to be authentic. Being authentically happy is the only way to get people view that you are not depressed.

In some ways, you may be caught in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Being depressed and emotionally unavailable, you fear that you cannot connect with others or that others will reject you. This thinking likely makes it difficult for others to connect with you, and you them, and this inability to connect fuels and reinforces your depression. The best way to break this cycle is to rid yourself of your depression. Once the depression is gone, you can be yourself and finally start connecting with others in a genuine way. Your depression stifles this process.

Overcoming depression, as I sure you and thousands of others would be willing to attest to, is no easy task. This is especially true in your case because you have endured a great amount of loss and pain. Despite your pains and losses, your depression is not insurmountable. You mentioned that you take antidepressants and that is a good start but a medication regime alone will never be enough to help you work through your depression. A seasoned therapist can help you work through your depression and regain your life and your social ties. I would strongly encourage that you find a counselor to connect with and get help in ending your depression. I wish you luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jul 2007

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2007). Depression causes rejection and rejection causes depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/07/12/depression-causes-rejection-and-rejection-causes-depression/