For many years, well-intentioned friends and family would unknowingly gaslight me, telling me in numerous ways that I wasn’t actually depressed. Gaslighting, for those who don’t know, is the practice of psychologically manipulating someone so that they question their own sanity. I’d lament about my feelings, yet my closest friends were quick to tell me that if I just changed my attitude, my depression would go away.
Tragically, my loved ones truly thought they were helping. My guess is that they were fearful of validating my feelings – something I desperately needed them to do – because they thought validation would exacerbate my negative moods. Perhaps they were afraid they’d be indulging my condition.
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