This is such a powerful part of this article, that I wanted to share it.
How does this manifest over time in terms of our identity? Depression is not something that just disrupts our lives—it can change how we see ourselves as people. Let’s start with experiences and resulting connections that never happen because of our depression. Maybe we don’t have the energy to see a new band when they play a show in our town—so we don’t have what could have been a magical life-altering experience of discovering our favorite band. And our identity also becomes connected with helplessness. We don’t naturally assume we are someone who can “make things happen” and plan for the future, because we can’t be sure depression won’t severely undermine our life goals.
We start to lose faith in ourselves and our identity becomes connected with depression. We think of ourselves as a “depressed person” rather than someone who suffers from depression. Add to that the fact that our social relationships and work performance suffer and we assume that we are “not good at relationships” or “not a strong performer.” And as we see tangible evidence that supports these conclusions, our erroneously formed self-concept becomes further engrained as our identity and depression rob us of who we are.
This is true. This is one of the many reasons why, when we talk about depression, addiction, and suicide prevention, the one thing we constantly come back to is connection. Disconnected people are vulnerable people. If you want to help the people around you suffering, from any of these, fight to keep them connected. Not just to you, but to life. Listen to new music with them, connect them with other people, keep them connected to common interests. If they are sports fans, text them about the latest game. If they are fans of a show, ask whether they are watching it. If they are readers, ask about what they are reading. Encourage them to stay connected to the things, and people, they care about. Because depression is trying to remove all of those things from them and someone needs to help them fight that.
That’s how we save lives.