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How do you let people know to be gentle?


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Wondering if people have insight about this. I'm on vacation right now with an old, dear friend and don't seem to have the heart (or stomach) to let her know that I'm in a period of depression, and everything--even our lovely conversations--feels like effort.

 

We've had some conversations before when I haven't felt great, and they usually go in a direction of "don't be so hard on yourself! You're doing awesome!" Which is very kind and I get why she'd want to pep me up, but then I feel like I have to fake it even more. Hence probably why I "seem" fine.

 

How do you let people close to you know that you need a lot of downtime, and that your stoniness is not personal? I'm not even sure what I can reasonably expect. Right now I'm expending all my energy just keeping up. 

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Maybe say you feel really wiped out and need some time to yourself.  And then just tell your friend it has nothing to do with her (if she asks), you just need some time alone.  If she pushes you as to why, I'd just say you aren't feeling well and need the down time so you don't get sick.

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"How do you let people close to you know that you need a lot of downtime, and that your stoniness is not personal?"

You could say you need downtime, and it's not personal. 

 

Maybe your question is what happens when the person doesn't understand or gets grumpy. I imagine if you're travelling with your friend, she'll not be happy that you're not doing things with her; that why people generally go on trips together. But all relationships require compromise; it's not fair to you that you are in emotional pain while pretending to be happy. A good friend will eventually understand and respect that. 

 

I'd tell her how you're feeling, acknowledge that you really are glad you are on this trip with her, and say you'd like to do some things with her, and start talking about trips that are a priority for you both, so you can do them together. That way the conversation isn't "I don't want to do things with you," but, "I really do want to do things with you, but I don't have a lot of energy, so let's pick carefully together." 

 

You don't need to go into depression, if your friend doesn't understand it, or have arguments about why you are depressed or what would make you undepressed. If she tries to bring the conversation back to just cheering up, just go back to that you need some downtime (not under discussion!) and get back to the discussion of what events you will go to together. 

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Thanks so much for the suggestions from both of you.

 

Ovoid, you're quite right when you say the question is really about what happens when the person doesn't understand or gets grumpy. In fact, I broke down after posting and let my friend know I'd been having a hard time lately, and she was beyond compassionate. So I think what I accidentally did with this question was conflate her with other people in my life who aren't as understanding. 

 

That is, indeed, a separate question. With this particular friend, it was a matter of showing the pain that I'm in--she simply hadn't realized. Perhaps I'll pose the question differently in another post. 

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