Depression is one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions, and more often than not individuals suffering from depression would describe themselves as lonely and isolated in life. One of the most fundamental needs we have as humans, is the need to be connected. Yet so many feel like they are on the outside. In my own experience with depression, I have felt profoundly isolated. Questioning one’s validity as a member of the community is an often ever present thorn in one's side. Some would simply describe themselves as "out of sorts." However, being locked in one's own emotional prison goes beyond the norm and there is a hesitancy to reach out, to ask for help. The very thing that may be a solution is often the hardest thing to do.
Being told what to do about one's emotions is most likely counterproductive. People often seek counseling because they want someone to tell them what to do and they are often disappointed when the advice or instruction didn’t result in making them feel better. Medicine often goes down bitter, but results in healing. Healing our channels of connection and making an effort to be a part of community is hard. It is however worth the effort. Being willing to question what you are expecting out of relationships and if those expectations are reasonable can be a way of renegotiating how connection works in your life in general, and furthermore in developing healthy intimate relationships.
The most important relationship that we develop is our relationship with ourselves. It is a difficult existential task to begin to see oneself as a person that has genuine needs for love and connection, but being fully connected with your own body and sensory experiences will help with recognizing the internal realities that others experience. Developing a language of your internal states is key here. Sometimes, being able to verbalize the sensations you are having to yourself can simply bring a gentle and kind awareness of your own humanity. We cannot give what we do not have, and connection is a difficult thing to offer others when one is disconnected from their own sense of being.