When Depression Makes Us Feel Like The ‘Black Sheep’

A lot of us feel like we don’t belong, like we’re the black sheep. However hard we try, we just don’t feel like we quite ‘fit’. It might be within our family, friendship groups, colleagues, or somewhere else.

Depression can make it worse. It tells us that we’re worthless, we’re useless, nobody likes us and we don’t belong anywhere. As horrible as this feeling is, we are not alone in feeling this way. There are many other people who will be able to relate to the feeling of not fitting in.

When Depression Makes Us Feel Like The 'Black Sheep'

We Can’t Put Our Finger On It

It’s hard to explain, but we don’t feel quite ‘right’. We don’t know what’s wrong. It’s just we feel like we don’t quite fit. We don’t feel like everyone else. They all seem so settled and confident. But we’re not.

We Feel Distant

Often we feel different from those around us. We look at everyone else and they seem to fit in. They seem to know exactly what to do and say. But we feel distant. It feels as though there is a space between us and everyone else. We’re not sure why, we just feel like we’re not quite there.

We Struggle With Conversation

We see our friends or family communicating with one another. The conversation flows. They seem to know exactly what to do and what to say. But we don’t. Their conversation doesn’t really interest us. At times it can feel trivial. They might complain about things that feel so small in comparison to our depression. They talk about TV shows they have watched recently and books they have read. We have nothing to contribute. All we’ve been doing lately is trying to battle our depression. At times we lose track of the conversation half way through and go into a world of our own. It’s exhausting.

Our Life Plan Has Gone Off Track

For our entire childhood, we had a particular life plan. We always thought that our life would turn out a certain way. Perhaps we might have planned to achieve a degree. We could have imagined ourselves being married with kids by the age of 30. We may have been aiming for a certain job. Whatever it is, we never even considered that our life could be any different. But life hasn’t worked out that way. It’s gone off track. Depression has caused us to take a detour. We might have realised that we don’t actually want the thing that we’ve been striving for all these years. Our life is not turning out the way that we always expected, but it’s hard to imagine anything different, so our whole identity feels shaken.

We Try To Please People

We spend so much time trying to please everyone else that we have no idea who we are. Our entire lives are spent doing things for others, or living the life that we think everyone else wants for us. We don’t have time to stop and think about whether it’s what we actually want.

We Feel Like We Will Never Be Enough

Sometimes we feel like we will never live up to being the person we think everyone wants us to be. We will never be enough. We will never reach their expectations. Nothing we do feels good enough. We always feel like we should be ‘better’ or should be doing more. Nothing we do will ever be enough.

We Feel Like We Let People Down

By not feeling like the person that we think everyone wants us to be, we feel like we have let everyone down. Sometimes we feel like we have to hide our likes and dislikes from those around us. We hide the fact that we’re unhappy or that we feel like we don’t belong. We don’t want people to be disappointed in us. So we spend all our time chasing the expectations of others, whilst feeling like we’re constantly letting them down.

It Doesn’t Match Up

We know that something is wrong. The person that we are doesn’t match up with the person that we think everyone wants us to be. It feels uneasy and unsettled. It feels like every day all of our energy goes into bashing a square peg into a round hole. So much so that we don’t have time to do anything else.

It Reaches A Point Where We Can’t Do It

Eventually, it reaches a point where we can’t do it any more. We are worn out. We’re fed up. We just can’t do it. So we end up dropping out of uni, quitting our jobs, leaving a relationship or ‘coming out’ about our mental health. We can’t keep living a ‘wrong’ life. It’s not making us happy. We have to stop and begin to work out who we really are and what we really like.

Those Who Matter Will Stick Around

It can reach a point where we feel like we have to stop pleasing everyone else and try to start forging our own path. It’s not usually a fast process. When we’ve spent our entire lives trying to fit ourselves into a mould that we don’t belong in, it can take a long time to work out where we do belong. It often involves a lot of trial and error. We have to learn to make decisions and work out what we like, not what we think everyone else thinks we should like. It can be scary because we worry about losing people in the process. We worry that people will become angry with us, or won’t want to be around us any more.

Those who love us should want what’s best for us. They want us to be happy. We will never be truly happy living a life that’s not ours. We will never be happy living the life we think everyone else wants us to live, if it doesn’t match up with who we are. Those who love us should want to support us to be the best version of ourselves.

We are enough

It can take a lot of trial and error, and a fair bit of soul searching, but eventually we will find our place. We might feel at ease with a group of people who are interested in a similar hobby to us. It might be a new job that changes things. We might find our soul mate or a new best friend. Or we may just learn to feel comfortable in our own skin.

Feeling like a ‘black sheep’ is hard. Depression can make it worse. It loves to tell us that we don’t belong, we’re letting people down, and nobody likes us. But depression lies. We are worthy, always – wherever we are in life.  And we are enough, exactly as we are.

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