How to Lose Friends and Alienate People – A Comedic Look at Depression

Pot smokers talk about pot, and being stoned, and remember that time I was so stoned? I was so wasted, man!

Depressed people talk about being depressed, and I’m so depressed, and I can’t cope, and I just want to kill myself, and blah blah blah… and it’s depressing.

If you keep at it long enough, pretty soon people are avoiding you. They smile politely, and then go away and either wait until you’ve cheered up, or just decide you’re too much work and go away altogether.

And who could blame them, really? Depressed people are SUCH HIGH MAINTENANCE, and you can never tell if they’re sad about something discernible that you might be able to help with, if they’re in a depressed funk that even THEY don’t know what the cause of is, or if they’re just bored and need a good kick in the ass.

So why bother? Too much work, I say.

They bounce back and forth between miserable, self-absorbed silences, pouting in the corner, unable to get off the couch or out of bed (yet still somehow able to write dark gloomy missives the likes of which would make Marilyn Manson slit his wrists) or else they’re angry and agitated and snapping at everyone around them.

Charming, really. Yes, sign me up to have drinks with that person! Why don’t we just pass on the drinks and head right to the gas oven and stick our heads in, shall we?

Depressed people make everyone uncomfortable — it’s like constantly being at someone’s funeral. You know they’re upset, but you don’t know what to say, and the best you can come up with is hollow platitudes, and as you don’t want to constantly sound like an utter couche-tard, you’ve made it your policy to just say nothing at all.

Trying to be friends with a depressed person, every day is like Russian Roulette. You like them when they are happy — you really do — but let’s face it, they really only have one or two really good days in ten. The rest of the time, you’re constantly trying to make them feel better, or make them comfortable. It’s a real pain in the ass.

Depressed people have come up for a real sure-fire success method of how to lose friends and alienate people. If you want people to leave you alone, you need only follow the example of someone with depression.

Mood swings – be cheery and happy one day, and then spend the next day quietly moping — try to cry a bit if you can.

Frequent absences – disappear. This is actually easier than you’d think. Just stop calling people, don’t return text messages, take up a hobby or habit that requires that you spend a lot of time by yourself, and get obsessed with it. This will begin the process of isolation.

Bite the hands of well-meaning people – snap at people who notice you’re not acting like yourself. The phrases “none of your business”, “who do you think you are” or the ever popular “fuck off” are excellent choices.

Lose your shit in public – have a very public meltdown, or tantrum — either in the real world or on some social media forum. This is a fantastic way to get people talking about you behind your back, or at least, for you to start worrying that they are, thus causing you to withdraw out of paranoia or embarrassment.

Make an actual, honest, admission of depression – up until this point, it’s all been conjecture. If you tell someone — or better yet, make a public admission, that way you cover all your bases all at once. It’s like putting a coming out announcement in your local newspaper.

If all of this STILL doesn’t work, and you’ve still got pesky friends still hanging around, you may need to bring out the (pardon the pun) big guns and mention suicide. People will tell you that honesty is the best policy, and that it’s better to get these things out in the open, but the truth is, tell people that you’re feeling suicidal, and it’s like you said that you enjoy sexually molesting farm animals. You can hear the chirping of crickets as your last remaining acquaintances flee in awkward terror.

Seriously, depressed people — why do you do this? It makes things very awkward, and makes it VERY difficult to maintain friendships with you. Quite honestly, it freaks us the fuck out. We worry that you might be completely unstable, and that you might be dangerous to associate with. We don’t know what to say to you. Jesus, what do you expect from us? Why can’t you just be normal? We’ve got enough drama in our lives without having to deal with your constant neediness. Have you ever tried, I dunno, not being depressed? Maybe you should see a doctor and get on some good drugs; put a smile on your face.


For those of you who I have alienated, made uncomfortable, or otherwise freaked the fuck out.

Sorry about that.

I’m sick.

I didn’t mean to vomit on your shoes.

I’d love to talk to you, hear how you’re doing, have a drink or two and laugh.



51 responses to “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People – A Comedic Look at Depression

  1. Oh you, telling it like it is even when how it is blows. I have to believe that putting the sickness out there – somewhere – is better than locking yourself away to try and get better all alone. Even if you ruin a few pairs of shoes by being “out!” Otherwise you might get so sick alone in your house that you can no longer crawl to the telephone to call for help, and since no one knew enough to drop by and check in on you, the police eventually find you weeks later, leaking fluids through the mattress.

    Most people will think this comment is horrible, but I don’t think you will. And since you asked for humor and distractions, and since our mutual humor can get twisted, well. There you go. I’m glad you’re out.

    Now how do we share these drinks across international borders?

  2. I could never figure out how pot smokers could ever remember being wasted or how partiers could ever say that they had so much fun, yet when you ask them if they remember what they did or what they drank, they said no. I knew a couple of these. They were the ones who ended up dancing on the tables or having 99 pictures (If they were men) taken of them passed out in makeup and a dress. They would vehemently deny having ever done it, but be the first to be embarrassed when they saw the videos or pictures. While everyone else was laughing, they would quietly hide in their shame…yet be the first ones lining up for the next party. They were also the ones being carted off to jail when the “underage” raids were made by police and had to explain to their parents why they were in jail sobering up.

    writing all this made me remember how exciting small town life was when I was a teen. I never went to the parties out at the “moon tower” or out at the lake. Hell. would have probably gotten lost trying to find them. I wasn’t ever invited, either. Probably because I wasn’t one of the “cool” kids. But I didn’t care. All I knew was that I wasn’t being arrested for underage drinking or drugs, and all the “cool” kids were.

    I may have never had a girlfriend in high school, but I was well liked by the sheriff’s department for my lack of a criminal record. My life may have been depressing, but I didn’t feel I needed to add to the hell I already endured. As for pot, I tried it once. Didn’t like not being able to move. Decided it wasn’t worth possibly dying from and never did it again.

    I have been known to offend, but none of this is meant to do so. If it does, am sorry. Kind of get carried away with reminiscing about life in a small town where the soap opera is always going on outside the local bar, so why even bother turning on the ones on television?

  3. Leave those farm animals alone! Sheep don’t need to squeal like pigs!

    I’ve seen the transformation recently in someone I know, from normal but slightly neurotic to bouncing-off-the-walls manic depressive. It’s scary. It’s scary for the person going through it, but it’s also scary for the people around that person who are trying to understand what’s happening and who want to help but feel helpless. You mentioned not wanting “pity” the other day, but I don’t think “pity” is really the right word. Empathy is a better word. I know there is nothing I can really do to help my friend, except remind her that there are people outside the Wall (to go back to a Pink Floyd / Syd Barrett analogy) who care for her. (And also let her know that if I hear any suicide talk from her, she’s going to be in a 72-hour mental health lockup faster that she can say “just kidding.”) I’m not qualified to help her, but I want to try; not because I “pity” her but because she is my friend. That’s just the way it is, and there is no amount of depression on her part that is going to change that.

      • She’s seeing a professional now — someone a lot more qualified than me to help her. That’s something you might consider if you haven’t already, because from what I’ve read of your recent posts, your situation sounds damn similar to what my friend is going through.

        I’ve stopped saying things like “I wish I could help” because I know it probably just makes things worse.

        I will say, until this situation with my friend, I never fully grasped the difference between the word “depression” as used everyday by people who are just feeling down and as used by professionals to indicate a disorder. I knew there was a difference in magnitude, but I didn’t understand how great that difference was. It’s jaw-dropping. It’s sobering. It makes you put up your hands and say “Whoa! This … is different!”

        It’s part of an alternative bucket list:
        1. Experience an earthquake … check.
        2. Experience a wildfire … check.
        3. Experience a hurricane … check.
        4. Watch somebody lose their shit … check.

      • Clinical depression is definitely much different than, say, the situational depression caused by a horrible life event, ie. death, illness, etc…
        Mostly because you can’t explain it to people. I don’t know precisely WHY I’m depressed, and it casts a negative view on EVERYTHING in my life.

      • Of course you don’t know precisely WHY you are depressed! If you knew that, the problem would be solved, wouldn’t it? 😀

        Neither does my friend, of course. I’m sure there are no easy answers for either of you. You won’t find a simple knob that you can just turn to shut off the depression flow. My guess, as somebody who doesn’t know jack about the topic and has no business commenting, is that there are no simple causes. It’s a whole series if little itty bitty things that individually have no consequence, but when they all coalesce together, they cause all hell to break loose.

        That “IonicVixen” commenter is a fucking dumbass, by the way. Ignore that shit.

      • He/she is reacting from an emotional place, and didn’t take the time, I suspect, to actually absorb the tone I was using. Anyone who’s read anything I’ve written knows better than to take my words at face value. It’s not the first time my sarcasm has gone over someone’s head and and it won’t be the last, I’m afraid. Jennie & Samara got my back.

  4. Okay. I see the part where you do your best cut rate genuine (faux) version of Pam from True Blood and wipe your hugely over-entitled “tragically-snarky” ass with a very serious and increasingly chronic medical condition as if it were two ply and squeezably soft.

    What I don’t see is the actual “comedy” in your “Comedic” look at depression. You do realize comedy is actually funny, do you not? How your wheedling about people who don’t come with EZ buttons or Cliff Notes is not funny by default, but is instead equal parts typical and clueless?

    I’ve got to say. Your viewpoint is indicative of someone who really isn’t much of a “friend” to worry about losing in the first place. You’re about as supportive, committed and genuine as a moldy fucking sock. In fact? Here’s another way to alienate people. Retweet this tripe.

    • Hi, person who doesn’t know me. How about you look up the word irony and then the word sarcasm.
      I am the one who suffers from depression. I am the one who has alienated people. I wrote this because it’s how I feel people around me must be feeling. How about you read this: which I wrote but 2 days ago.
      Do you seriously have no concept of sarcasm? I mean this most sincerely — think first before you make comments on someone you don’t even know’s writing.
      If you cannot understand the irony and sarcasm dripping off of this, then by all means, feel free to go fuck yourself.

      Oh, and to anyone else reading this uninformed and ignorant comment by someone with no clue, please do jump in and chew them a new asshole.

    • OK, this: “Seriously, depressed people — why do you do this? It makes things very awkward, and makes it VERY difficult to maintain friendships with you. […] Have you ever tried, I dunno, not being depressed? Maybe you should see a doctor and get on some good drugs; put a smile on your face.”

      That, you overly literal know-nothing, is Helena telling us exactly what she doesn’t need, exactly what real friends don’t do when their loved ones are depressed. Have you never written with sarcasm and hyperbole because the subject is so painful you’d shrivel up if you approached it with a completely sincere tone?

      I’ve never name-called on a blog before, but until now I’d never seen anything as hypocritical as you “defending” truly depressed people by insulting and judging a truly depressed person.

    • IonicVixen, it’s a shame that this was your reaction to this post. I’m guessing this was your first visit to the Dilettante’s blog and that you missed the ongoing conversation about depression and mental health–of which this is merely one part. While there are no fonts for sarcasm or irony, and things on the internet can often be misconstrued, a knee-jerk reaction like this doesn’t serve anyone.

      Like the author of this post, this blog contains stories that will make you cry your eyes out or laugh until chocolate milk comes out your nose–soy milk if you’re lactose intolerant, of course, Helena doesn’t discriminate based on food allergies. There are works of fantastic fiction and all-too-true tales. It’s unfair to judge a blog–or it’s author–based on a single post. If you’d like to be part of the WHOLE conversation, I suggest you read Confession ( and Confession – The Morning After (

      If you make the HIGHLY advised decision to keep reading, I recommend reading Couche-Tard and the Jumping Asians next. It was my first introduction to this blog over a year ago and there’s a thousand reasons I’ve stuck around and the writing is just one.

    • I read this, read Helena’s even-handed attempt to enlighten you, read a couple of other cheery dismissals of your comment and even left my own half-arsed attempt and wandered off in the hope that someone really would enter the fray and tear you a new one. I get it, I know why we hold back in these situations, nobody wants to attract someone who’s behaviour is that of a dirty, stinking, low-life, lilly-livered, slinking-around-the-ether, snake-bellied troll, hiding behind their anonymity. Even when we have been given permission by the author right here and now. And fair enough, really, why would anyone want to attract this kind of heartlessness to their own blog?

      Unfortunately, there’s a problem, because, to me, it’s the moral equivalent of seeing someone lying battered and bleeding on the road after a hit n run while watching some passer-by laying the boot in and then just phoning the cops from the safety of my car without even getting out. It feins concern while keeping possible danger and time-wasting involvement at a safe distance. So there I was trying to unfuck an unfiltered inuendo I’d made on GGs site and I realised I really hadn’t said what I meant with that comment, instead what came across was something else altogether, something unintended but nonetheless possibly offensive to my friend. My thoughts then turned to my comment here after reading this…and I’ve returned to make amends to my friend Helena.

      Just like me writing something unintentionally insulting, IonicVixen, I thought I should give you the benefit of the doubt and re-read what you wrote in the hope of finding some merit there. Nup! No merit. Instead, my re-reading drew yet further ire. Despite your use of hyperbolic name-calling and over-exaggerated labels, I choose not to label either your words, or the kind of personality that could conjure such words, with the same kind of ease…but your behaviour is up for grabs, I say. Hang onto to your sorry arse.

      Given an obvious lack of understanding about depression and what a depressed person needs by way of support, I think it’s fair to say that you probably don’t really put much weight in the truth of what you’ve read. I know it’s hard to believe that someone could profess a condition so thoroughly debilitating and yet have what it takes to write about it so eloquently. I know that it seems to be an oxy-moron, a mutual exclusivity, if you will, but I am at a complete loss as to what you think you can achieve by being prepared to express your inordinate pride in your ignorance of such things.

      Despite joining the vast majority of the populace who have little or no experience of depression,(anybody who suffers is well acquainted with the useless platitudes that spew forth from those around who mean well), what I find surprising in your comment is not the lack of empathy which is pretty standard fare but the venom. Not only do you reject the cry of depression, you are enraged by it, it seems. What the actual fuck is that about?

      Oh, hang on, this, “…wipe your…blah, blah…ass with a very serious and increasingly(?) chronic medical condition…more blah, blah”, this is your attempt at displaying just how important an issue depression really is, isn’t it? You think because Helena has chosen to weave irony and sarcasm throughout her expression of her own condition that in fact she somehow doesn’t fathom the seriousness of what she’s talking about like you do. You think it’s YOU who has the corner on the truth about depression. So then, perhaps you live with it yourself, or live with someone else who does…but you ain’t no expert, that much is obvious.

      Get some help IV, you’re on a computer, look up all the ways to get a fucking education about this stuff before you spruik your invalid brand of ignorance around the ether…either that or do the living world a huge favour and fucking neck yourself you misanthropic couchetard before you push someone else over the edge.

      Love Red

  5. I’ve read your recent posts. Please forgive me for being quiet. My brother suffers from depression, and our relationship has been a lifetime of ebb and flow, ebb and flow, always at the whimsy of his illness (and his soon-to-be-ex-wife.)


    He’s in a pull phase right now. I saw him on Saturday for the first time in five years. It’s hard to get excited about it or even to care at this point, but what kills me is watching how it impacts my parents (because, maybe this time, we’ll finally be a normal family………)

    I’m not saying depression isn’t an illness. I’m not saying that lots of people don’t suffer from it every single day. I’ve seen how it cripples people, how it annihilates relationships, how it makes people do and say things they otherwise wouldn’t.

    I guess I just resent the hell out of depression, because I’ve watched my parents dote on my brother for the better of four decades. “He’s weaker than you.” “He needs us/our money/our time more than you do.” Do I think some of his episodes have been genuine? Absolutely. Do I think some have been self-centered and solely designed to manipulate? Also absolutely.

    But you didn’t ask for my story.

    I wish I had a joke, but having lived with this for most of my life, I don’t think it’s funny. My brother is in several kinds of therapy now, and I hope he continues on that path. He’s mostly a delightful person.

    As are you.

    • If it makes you feel better, I resent the hell out of it, too. Really really really. I resent the hell out of people I know who have given up while I keep pushing on. I’m doing the best I can, not burying myself in one addiction or another, and it sometimes feels like I’m doing it all for nothing.
      Thank you for sounding off, Andra. You are definitely one of those that I feared alienating.

      • You haven’t alienated me. Not one bit. This is real. And it’s very hard. And it sucks.

        A creative outlet should be, above all else, a place where the creator can be honest. You’re very brave to be as honest as you have.

        Life is maddening. If it weren’t, there would be little point. 🙂

  6. I forgot what I was going to write.
    I was so overtaken by the mind-bending asshattery of this ionic vixen that all rational discourse left my brain, leaving it as factually uncluttered as the vixen’s herself.

    Yuck. The level of fucktitude that actually manages to slither its slimy way onto WordPress is unreal. Shouldn’t there be at least SOME requirement? An IQ that at least matches that of a 6 year old?

    Now I have to read this post all over and say what I needed to say to YOU, not this moron.

  7. You enjoy molesting farm animals, too? Oh wait, I misread that… Never mind.

    Once upon a time, when I was quite depressed and on a hike with a friend, she mentioned honestly that she was not enjoying my company. I responded, of course not, I’m depressed. Since when are depressed people pleasant company?

    Somehow, some of us manage to be pleasant and charming in spite of ourselves and our illness. My dear, that you do through your writing. I have no idea what you are like in person. Just that you may not want to join me in molesting some farm animals.

  8. I’m hiding the goats. HA!

    As a psych nurse and a regular person, (not that psych nurses aren’t regular people–but you know what I mean,) it is very difficult to be around very seriously depressed people because they suck you into their vortex. You can’t lift them up spiritually. Though people will try. I am bipolar and, honestly, being around depressed people tilts me toward the illness end of the wellness-illness spectrum. So I do tend to avoid people who inadvertently pull me down. No bad feelings, but I have to take care of me too.

    That being said, you have a right to be depressed. You have a right to own your own feelings. A serious depression with no meds can take six months to get over. It is tough. But you will get through. I’m still petitioning the pharmaceutical companies for Prozac in aerosol form.

      • I get caught up in my writing. Then, when I stop, I find myself awkwardly alone. I’ve obsessed myself into my little world. So I started going to Greg’s open speaker AA meetings. (I still drink, but they are warmly receptive and familiar with dealing with people like me…full of character defects! We meet afterwards for pizza.) I also joined a couple of writers’ groups. Not so much to critique my work, but to be around like-mined folk who understand me. I haven’t abandoned my other friends…just made more who really get me.

  9. Sounds to me like you need some Dr. Protic therapy, but unfortunately his ingenious clips are on Serbian only. They always kick the life back in me, and 99,999999999% of people don’t understand how. I think you’d dig it.
    And hey, if everyone understood sarcassam, I’d think there would be far less joy for us sarcastic people in the world!

  10. I hope you got vomit on the vixen’s shoes. That’s all.

    I’ve lived with this kind of person since I was seven. Sometimes it was me, mostly it wasn’t me. It’s old hat 🙂 I wear wellie boots these days. Puke away, cherie 😀

  11. Oh, Helena, for fuck’s sake. You know what’s worse than having a depressed friend is following a depressed blogger!! Don’t try to be sympathetic, we hate that shit. Don’t care! We don’t want your pity! And (for real) don’t tell us to turn that frown upside down or to fake it ’til we make it! Fuck that noise.

    Honestly, when I get in a depressive funk I withdraw, too. I don’t understand why because that’s when I need interaction and love the most. So I, unfortunately, get a lot of this.

    Anyhow, I can be crude, too, twatwaffle. So if being vulgar and stupid helps, I’m in. Let’s do this.

    • Twatwaffle, huh? Is that anything like a cunt-crepe? A poon-pancake? Fuck-muffin french toast? (I know, I know, that last one’s a stretch…)

      I think I’m nearing the end of this episode, though the more I think about it the harder it is to get over it. I’m just going to continue pushing through.

      • Cuntcrepe? That’s a new one on me.

        Try not to think about it. Think about…um…whatever it is that dilettantes think about.

  12. She’s out! Good on ya. Why? I don’t know, other than when I confessed my alcoholism to others (getting arrested for a DUI will hasten confessions, by the way), I felt a great relief. I didn’t have to keep juggling the balls in the air. The ones on fire. With razor sharp spikes. And playing Enya endlessly. The jig, so to speak, was up. So then what? Well, I didn’t have to put that show on and was able to just allow others into my tiny bubble. Even for a moment. Because I do understand isolation and withdrawing. I understand a depression that had me suicidal (even in sobriety, for goodness sake) and having nothing to do with others. Alcohol helped me with that.

    While I don’t have depression, I was reading what you said (and in some of your other work) and just nodded my head. Yup, that is me sometimes now even. yup, that certainly is something I used to do. I have problems isolating even now. I gotta get my sorry ass out there now and then because part of me so desperately wants to interact with real life folks and the other part wants to hide away from those scary people…lol. But I know when I do go out there and share my shit, I feel better. Not saying that is what you have to do, but what you said about getting out there and talking to others…that hit home.

    And yeah, you don’t need to fake it ’till you make it, and all that stuff. You’re you and this is what it is. It may be tough on folks who are sincere, but clueless. Hell, I am clueless often too. But I know well enough to not pet a seeing eye dog while they’re working, and I know well enough not to be toss platitudes and twee slogans at someone hoping that they’ll make me less uncomfortable…ha ha.

    Great post. Loved it.

    Smoke ’em if ya got ’em and keep writing, yo 🙂


    • I think I’ve been “out” re: depression the whole time, but I don’t often like to talk about it like this — the whole point of my opening line about pot smokers was to show how I understand how tedious it can be to try to talk to someone with depression. All we/they ever talk about is their depression, as if that’s all that defines them. (Conversely, I could read into this that I’m ashamed of my depression…who knows?) But I am NOT defined by my depression.

  13. Whew! I thought you were writing about me for a second. 🙂 I was so busy dealing with depression an isolating myself I didn’t realize I was in good company. Chin up…….shut up you first. 😉

  14. You know what would be awesome, we should tar and feather this IconicVixen or whatever she’s called, label her or him as the basest of human beings without in turn knowing anything about them. Yay pubic flogging! Wait, I just wrote pubic… must be something about the early morning. Or indeed, a flagrant pubic issue. Fuck, it’s too early for this shit. And I honestly don’t know when people are being sarcastic or not, and I have heavy sympathy for the treadmills we walk upon: rubber was never born intending to be pounded endlessly by sweaty, obese housewives who have the audacity to state their opinion, contrary as it may be to the world-altering humour that we bring to bear in our beautiful blogging lives.

    This is all to say that we should have a virtual drink, yo. That generally makes all better. I hope.

    • Nah, I think Vixen is probably guilty of foot in mouth disease. But I think that if you take the time to open your mouth and shit on someone without cause (as my post is clearly ironic) then you should be prepared for a lashing. Trolls should stay under bridges.

      • I always root for the underdog, I guess. Often, they are trolls, though I sort of hate that type of being.

        I never seem to get the lashing I deserve. You can read that in any of several ways, I suppose.

  15. Wow! I wish I were as brave as you. Agoraphobia , depression, falling apart in public (my demons), all will lead to less friends and more loneliness to be sure. Empty promises from once friends to come see you, or take you out somewhere fun never materialize. They tell you how much they care and then you never see them again. I am on the slow track to recovery, though winter is still a killer…

    Thank you for sharing, Helena. I think there are many like us, but unlike you we are afraid to let on.

    • I’m not entirely without sympathy for those who have to deal with depressed friends (hence the ironic post) but then what’s the solution?

      “Hi, I’m miserably depressed. Could you PLEASE hang out with me and take my mind off how much I loathe myself?”

      Winter? Are you in the southern hemisphere?

      • No, that will never work. 😛

        When I’m that bad off I try to entertain myself, and then when I’m having a good moment I seek the entertainment of friends (or should I say acquaintances and strangers in public places ‘-) ). They are much more receptive to my company. Funny how that works.

        As for winter, no I’m here in North Alabama (the deep south) where it rains A LOT in winter and is pretty much cloudy even when there is no rain. As a California ex-pat I find the short days without sunshine in winter to be unbearable.

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