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Depression is a very isolating disease. It is difficult to make friends when you rarely feel like leaving the house; and when you do feel like leaving the house, chances are, you are not a very sociable or approachable person. It is hard to feel sociable when you assume the worst of people, dislike yourself, or feel that life is just something to make it through; of course those feelings often manifest themselves in outwardly ways that do not make you approachable. I remember in high school my brother told me that all his friends thought I was a snob. I do not know if he said it because he liked picking on me or because his friends really thought that; I suspect that it was a bit of both. I have had several people tell me once they got to know me that they had thought that I did not like them. Rarely was that the case; often people just interpreted my introversion as dislike for them. My social skills have disintegrated even more throughout the seven years that I have been with my boyfriend; being in a relationship with someone I am so comfortable with has made me even more of a homebody: why leave the house when I live with someone whom I enjoy spending so much time with? I am an introspective person though, so I have considered that relying on one person so much for my happiness is not only unhealthy but not fair to either of us.
As I mentioned in my first post about depression, at the end of 2013 I was strongly considering moving back to my home state; I was chronically depressed and was longing for the support network of family and friends that I have back home. After finding an anti-depressant that worked for me, I decided that instead of moving back home, I wanted to work on making my life in Chicago what I wanted it to be. One of my top priorities is to make more friends here. So, yesterday I went to a Meetup by myself. By myself! I felt that it was important, both for my confidence and my friendship goals, that I take a large step without my boyfriend. I was nervous because anti-depressants do not magically make up for the social awkwardness that comes with years of social isolation. I was excited though because what the anti-depressants do give me is the ability to believe that I can make my life better; that in itself can be a great confidence boost.
I really enjoyed the Meetup. I even won a gift card for being the first person to arrive! I am so glad that I got there early because it made the experience significantly less nerve wracking; it allowed me to meet one new person at a time (as they arrived), rather than having to walk into a group of 15 people that had already introduced themselves. The three ladies at my table (one of whom was the meetup host) were super sweet and friendly. I will definitely go to future Meetups; I even sent the meetup host a site suggestion for a future meetup.