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Depression: Can You Get It and Spread It Like Flu?

Depression: Can You Get It and Spread It Like Flu?

It is no secret that depressed individuals tend to withdraw from society, but more recent studies have found that the significant people in a depressed person’s life have a lot to do with the onset, course and prognosis of the disorder.

Experts have taken a closer look at the social lives of people in depression. They found that many of these individuals have limited social circles and contacts, poor support systems, under-developed social skills, have poor support systems, or are in complicated relationships (read: less rewarding, pessimistic relationships, including frequent marital issues and family disputes).

 Two kinds of people: Which ones are around you?

The above-mentioned findings strongly suggest that depression can negatively impact one’s relationships with others, and the cycle can spread from one social network to another.

In life, there are two people: those who spread negative energy, making those around them miserable and hurt; and then there are those who uplift, inspire and engage others in positivity. How you surround yourself with people sooner or later becomes indicative of the kind of individual you are.

There is an interesting anecdote about a man who travelled a long road, flitting from a village to the next. When he has reached the outskirts of one village, he met a farmer who was cutting hay in his field. Hoping to find home in the new village, he asked about the kind of people who lived there. Instead of answering the question, the farmer asked the traveller about the people in his old village. The traveller said that the people he left were cold-hearted and selfish, to which the farmer replied, “The people here are the same.” The traveller went on his way to find another new village, not wanting to be amongst the same kind of people. A few days later, while the same farmer was tending to his field, another man came along. This man’s village had been wrecked, and he was now looking for a new village to live in. He asked about the people in the farmer’s village, and the latter had the same question thrown back to him. The man said that the people in his destroyed village were kind-hearted and loving, and the farmer told him now the people in his village are the same.

 Depression and Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy is a type of treatment in which a lot of quality research has been invested to. This psychotherapy is based on the idea that improving relationships and making them healthy also improves depression. People who feel good about themselves see the same reflected through the people around them. This is empowering for depressed individuals, as they learn to be part of a positive group instead of wallowing in self-pity.  

In this age and time, there is an obvious deterioration in the quality of social relationships. Length of dating is restricted to weeks, and the divorce rate is sky-rocketing. There is also a clear picture of cynical mentality among people. Feelings of isolation and devaluation make it nearly impossible for one to feel good about one’s self or others.

Therefore, if you are depressed, you can get started on stopping the sickness in its tracks by changing your outlook and developing more meaningful connections with those around you. That’s what interpersonal therapy is all about, and you are your best doctor.

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