Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Coming In:
The Deliberate Exclusion Of The Mentally Ill

One of the most common symptoms experienced by people suffering from depression, one that causes them an enormous amount of anguish, is the belief that they are unlikeable. We do not like ourselves so we can see no reason why anybody else would like us. Unfortunately, this is a symptom that cannot be treated with cognitive behaviour therapy because it is impossible to persuade somebody that something is not true if the experience of their lives indicates that it is true. Because of the stigma of mental illness and the fact that those of us who suffer from it can be “hard work” at times, we are avoided like the plague and not included in social events. This exclusion increases when people believe that association with somebody who is, in essence, a social leper, would effect their own social and/or workplace standing.

It hurts.

It hurts far more, to the point of wanting to end it all, when you are shunned by one of the few people in the world you had trusted. It takes a heck of a lot for a clinically depressed person to reach out to make social connections. If an attempt to make friends is refused or (as is more often the case) deliberately ignored, we feel so embarrassed (how could I have been so stupid) that we just want to hide away from the world completely so that we don’t have to go through the pain of further rejection. Or we get out of the world completely which is what we believe people want us to do anyway. Why shouldn’t we believe that? What people really think about us is not revealed by their words but by their actions and we are depressed, not blind.

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