Friendships help us feel like we belong. They can offer us support when things are difficult.
It’s easy to feel lonely when we lose contact with our friends. If you do not take time to look after yourself, a low mood could lead to depression. A general low mood can include feeling sad, worried or anxious. But a low mood will tend to go after a few days or weeks.
Making small changes in your life, like talking about your problems or getting more sleep, can usually improve your mood. A low mood that doesn’t go away can be a sign of depression.
Talk to your GP or call NHS 111 if you think you might be depressed.
Talk about your feelings
If you keep feelings to yourself, you could think that no one understands or cares what you are going through, but that’s unlikely to be true. Most people have experienced loneliness, so they should be able to empathise.
It can help to talk to your friends about how you’re feeling. You might want to tell them how your condition can stop you from seeing them as regularly as you want. You don’t have to go into detail and it’s up to you how much you share.
If you’ve lost touch, you can let friends know what's going on for you and why you haven't been able to see them for a while. There's no right or wrong way to talk about your feelings – starting the conversation is what's important.
Sometimes friends will make assumptions about what you can do. They might think you will be too tired or not interested in going out because you might not be able to join in or they will need to look after you.
Talking about feeling excluded is hard. Whether you decide to talk to your friends can depend on how close you are and your condition.
Tell your friends if you want to be invited to an activity or outing. Say you want a choice and that it makes you feel excluded when you are not asked.
You can also say that getting invited gives you a chance to suggest something else for a different day.
If you are uncomfortable talking to friends about your feelings, you could try a support group.
Support groups are communities of like-minded people who meet up regularly to discuss a problem and help each other. Lots of groups organise social events and arrange special activities to help boost your mood and improve your wellbeing.
If negative feelings stop you from carrying on with your normal life, it may help to talk with a therapist. Therapy can help you to understand and manage your feelings, as well as helping you cope better with your condition.
You should talk to a therapist if you:
find it hard to concentrate
are not getting on with your friends and family
struggle to control your behaviour
have low confidence You can get help on the NHS. You’ll usually have to join a waiting list. Ask your GP how long you might have to wait.