Sorry this post is so late and that it took me so long to respond to comments from yesterday. I had my gardening class last night, spent a lot of the day getting ready for it, and a lot of today recovering from digging for 90 minutes.
This morning, when I reflected on the first two classes, I had a few realizations about my reaction to people and other social dynamics. This week I was feeling much better than I was last week. When I feel "normal," I tend to be outgoing and inclusive. When I'm depressed (even if it's just the tail end), I tend to be quiet and an observer.
During the first gardening class, I felt that I might not make any new friends this semester. I was one of 3 people out of 30 who's taking this class for a hobby rather than as part of the gardening certificated program. Many of these people seemed to know each other. No one seemed terribly friendly.
Last night, since I was feeling far better, I was outgoing. And what I realized is that when I'm "normal," I reach out to people and engage with them because I enjoy doing so. My goal--whether it's expressed or not--is to find out who I might like, who's interesting (to me), who's got a sense of humor, and what we might have in common.
When I'm well, I don't worry about whether people will like me in return. I truly don't think very much about my behavior. If someone isn't friendly or doesn't want to engage, that's fine. In my mind, I chalk them off the list and move on. If they do want to talk, I ask questions to draw them out.
At the end of the three hours, 90 minutes is spent in the classroom, I realized that some of the people I thought were unfriendly during the first class might just be shy. Perhaps they engaged with the people they knew because they were uncomfortable talking to people they didn't. Most people protect themselves more than I do, and they are not as open.
In reflecting on people's behavior, what I realized is that what changes during a depression is "my perception." When I am depressed, my feelings easily get hurt. When I'm "normal," they don't. When I'm depressed, I assume that people who aren't friendly don't like me. When I'm "normal," I realize their behavior has little to do with me.
So...what I am learning is that when I'm depressed, my perceptions are impaired or at least they are very different than when I'm not.
What was so nice was that as I was leaving class, one of my classmates told me how much she appreciated how friendly I am, how much more she enjoyed herself, and then she thanked me.
Question: Do you see parallels in your own behavior? In what ways?