A letter about Depression: Shutting down and Disappearing


To my family and friends:

I’m sorry I disappear. Sometimes I disappear physically; not bothering to keep in touch and sometimes emotionally; I shut down to cope with being unwell. I do this to an extent to protect myself. I don’t want to be judged or rejected for who I am.

Unpredictable tendencies have shrouded my adult life. If you have spent a considerable amount of time with me you may just have noticed. One week I can be full of energy and enthusiasm , ideas and creativity flow easily. I don’t want help from anyone because I feel that I can do anything and everything. I may talk incessantly and very quickly. I may make jokes and comments that are confusing and might only make sense to me.

At times I can become very depressed. I don’t mean that as if others describe it; as having a rough day, a down day, feeling fed up. It may last days or it may last for months, I can never tell. That only thing I know is that suddenly I can no longer function as I used to. All my energy and enthusiasm has gone. I will feel numb and become difficult to talk to. I don’t want to see anyone or go anywhere. I can feel overwhelmed with the idea of talking to people, to the point of crying uncontrollably.

When I’m low I shut down and my concentration wanders. I’m not being rude when I don’t respond to what you say, or take weeks to reply to a message. I simply can’t interact socially; I can barely get out of bed.

Sometimes you may feel you need to tread carefully with me. I can be overly sensitive, irritable or just aggressive. I know that this can be frustrating, it is for me. I have never liked the term ‘treading on eggshells.’ The idea that people I care about feel they can’t act naturally around me is upsetting. If you feel you can’t, then let me know; it might help us both feel more comfortable in each others company.

I have always found it difficult to keep in contact with friends and extended family. I don’t want to use it as an excuse but I think my illness is one of the main reasons for this.  If I have lost contact I wasn’t trying to be rude or standoffish I was merely trying to feel healthy again, to be on a level kilter for a change.

I will never apologise for being honest about having Bipolar. It needs to be talked about and I can’t be around people that are uncomfortable or disagree with this notion. I may lose friends, but I’m ok with that. People are too often happy to live their lives in denial, pretending everything is as perfect as their Facebook page. I will never be like that.

I hope we can stay in touch, and that my openness about my illness has helped you understand why I sometimes act the way I do.

12 thoughts on “A letter about Depression: Shutting down and Disappearing

  1. ehop5230

    Wow I relate to every word of this! I have never been diagnosed with bipolar, just depression and anxiety but have wondered a long time if I was bipolar. Thank you for this.


  2. Deserae

    Thank you for sharing. I have recently pulled away from my extended family…because I use to be the oldest sibling that had helped out and cared for my younger siblings….I was diagnosed with bipolar 12 years ago and all that changed . My sister’s and dad use my mental illness as a scapegoat…there aren’t apologies that come from them. I’m fact when I have mishandled an issue and recognized it and apologized the responses I get are…well it’s good that you recognize when you make mistakes. I’m treated like I’m the only one that makes mistakes. I am no longer treated well. I’m gossiped about and judged and it hurts. When my sister learned she had lupus, I was researching and learning as much as I could…that is not the case with my mental illness.

    Feeling Rejection


    1. Katie Conibear

      Sometimes it’s best to walk away from people, if they refuse to even try and understand. I hope you other family and friends that you can rely on.


  3. alexander blades

    Thank you for writing this. I often find myself reading such things and saying “well that sort applies to me but not entirely” and I’m subsequently left feeling as if I’m alone and unquantifiable. I could’ve written this myself (albeit with less poise and heart) and it warms to know that I’m not alone in the way if which I process and cope. Thank you and please keep up the good work


  4. Brian Dick

    I struggle with understanding how to deal with this my gf is going through this the hardest part is when she distance herself and doesn’t want to talk I try to help but I don’t know how to help any ideas besides being patient with her.


  5. Ann Marie DiStefano

    I am laying here crying because I was searching the web for answers to why I am not the way that I am.
    You explained myself so accurately.
    Thank you so much..
    Stay well


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