According to Oxford dictionary online, ghosting is defined as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” The article talks about how some friendships turn awkward or sour, and neither party is willing to reconcile their differences, so they end up parting ways.
Recently, I came across an article on TIME, titled:”Friendship Ghosting, Why Friends Ghost On Even Their Closest Pals“. Make no mistake – this is not some frivolous teenage article, but a full blown dissertation on why friends ghost on each other. According to Oxford dictionary online, ghosting is defined as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” The article talks about how some friendships turn awkward or sour, and neither party is willing to reconcile their differences, so they end up parting ways. Some people may feel relieved, however, some people may feel lost and angry, or irritated. Personally, I am guilty of ghosting friends, and I have been a victim of ghosting before. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it was coined by someone, and now this term is trending. When you are dealing with mental health issues, lost friendships as a result of ghosting, will affect you more. You have lost your support group, your confidante, your best friend. A few months back, I felt like I had been ghosted by some friends, most of them suffering from mental health issues as well. They made excuses every time I asked them out, and they would give a hundred and one excuses not to go out with me. It hurt a lot, and somehow my social circle became smaller. I was quite upset about it, because there were so many things going on in my life, and I spiralled into my depressive pit. But now, I am more comfortable with solitude. I am determined not to let them affect my life, thoughts or emotions. I have also ghosted some friends, especially a long lost friend. She would pester me incessantly to go out with her, and I would feel obliged. Then, she would remark that my personality has changed, and I have become quieter and pessimistic. I feel very uncomfortable picking up her calls.
Sometimes, I would be hurt by a remark or comment that someone made, to imply that I am stupid, and I would prefer not to hang out with the person. I am done, and I don’t care about what other people think anymore.
Recently, an acquaintance in a Whatsapp group was discussing depression and unhappiness. He said that being unhappy for a prolonged period of time does not mean that you are depressed. I said that if the person were to be unhappy for a prolonged period of time, he might probably have dysthymia (low mood for 2 years, but not super-low like major depressive disorder)According to the mayo clinic, dysthymia is known as persistent depressive disorder and it is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. According to the DSM-5, to qualify for a diagnosis of dysthymia, an adult must suffer from depressed mood which occurs most of the day for two or more years. He went on to ask if I was talking about my own experience. I launched into an angry tirade and told him that I would never self-diagnose or fake dysthymia. I know that I do not have dysthymia. I told him that my depression is episodic, that I had a lot of self-harm and suicidal incidents, and I did not need to justify my depression. I also said that I felt very invalidated. Touche. I was being a hypocrite, but oh well. Such toxic arguments can lead to ghosting in social circles. Who likes to feel invalidated? Like their suffering does not matter, or they have not suffered enough to be “depressed”? I have been diagnosed with depression, but I am not going to go into specifics. It is recurrent, going on and off. Your illness is your illness. A label is just arbitrary, and I don’t like semantics. You don’t need to prove to people that you have depression or any other illnesses.
When you are depressed or you have some mental health condition, you wouldn’t like it when people downplay your achievements either. Don’t do it to others.
References, Links & Sources:
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Fifth edition. 2013.