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Social Support Dilemma
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warriorgal posted:
Dear Dr. Schwartz,

Thanks for your community outreach. I have a question pertaining to an issue of mine I hope you can help me with.

I have had depression (currently being treated with meds and psychotherapy) for many, many years. I've determined that one of the key ingredients to recovery is to expand my current support network. Presently, I have fairly regular contact with family members, but little in the way of friends. The latter has been very difficult to change.

In growing up, my family had difficulty accepting my introversion and both judged and pushed me to be more social. Through it all, I got the message that I was not "friend-worthy", despite having the equivalent amount of friends as my sisters!

Later, my introversion waned a little, though I still prefer more time alone than the average person. I am also much more confident, have more social smarts than before, and (in my opinion), have at least as many good characteristics as anyone else. Yet I cannot bring more people into my life.

Some of the issues I've encountered are: meeting people with serious
personality issues, intimidation due to my intelligence (I've received this feedback), people with little or no money with which to go out, etc. Naturally, I'm frustrated by the "pool of applicants" that exists--
there's little compatibility. So, while others always seem to be able to drum up a willing and loyal friend to do things with, I am left contemplating the dearth of kindred spirits out there.

How am I to overcome my depression if I can't secure one of the most basic aspects of well-being?

Any and all help would be appreciated.

Still the Warrior After All
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ria65 responded:
How interesting I should read your post. I identified with almost all you had to say. I too, have had depression (currently being treated with meds and psychotherapy) for many years. I've also determined that one of the key ingredients to recovery is to expand my current support network. I have my husband, mom, and two sisters, but no close girlfriends.

My therapist pointed me to some support groups, but the people there tend to have serious personality issues. Other issues I find are that many woman like to go to the bar and drink, which I don't find very fun. Or women that are very materialistic and care too much for shopping or what they are wearing. It's hard to find close friends as we become older. My advise to you is what I tell myself, I just need to keep trying. I hope that eventually I will find a friend with whom I can share my thoughts and opinions and feel a sense of intimacy. It's hard to get out there though, especially when dealing with the not so normal issues of anxiety and depression that we feel.

I'm interested in what the doctor on this site has to say about your question: How am I to overcome my depression if I can't secure one of the most basic aspects of well-being?
 
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isntitironic responded:
Warriorgal,

Saw this question and related as i'm an introvert as well. Just a few thoughts.

I've found that following your interests is a good place to start. Join an online group that is in an area of interest of yours. You can meet lots of people on Twitter also. If you follow your interests, you will meet other people with the same interests as yours. The old "birds of a feather".


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