What to Do When Depression Feels Like a Glass Wall
The other day I saw Get On Up, the James Brown biopic. One of the underlying themes in the film is how our personal histories can help create a kind of dysfunctional aloneness, separating us from the very people and experiences we need the most to thrive emotionally. This reminded me of the experience of depression, how the disease can create a feeling of separateness and of chronic aloneness.
Depression Is Often Isolating – Like a Glass Wall
My therapist has described this feeling of separation as having a wall of glass between us and the rest of the world. I think it’s an apt description. During my most recent depression, I was out to dinner one night with my husband. After being at home all day, I felt I should at least try to be in a social environment even though I didn’t feel like it. Once in the restaurant, I had the feeling of that piece of glass between me and everyone else. I felt like an alien observer watching everyone else in the place have fun. I did my best to go through the motions, but overall, it was a disconcerting experience (Dissociation and Depression: An Unholy Matrimony).
Reaching Out Past the Wall
Depression is a deadly serious disease. It makes it easy to feel alone and difficult to seek help. So what can we do?
- Baby steps – Especially when I'm depressed, I find it extremely helpful to break things into smaller steps. Sometimes the only thing that has gotten me out of bed during a depression has been sticking one foot out from under the covers then waiting until I can move another part of my body closer to the floor. Bit by bit, I can get there. One step at a time works in difficult moments and can help us move one step closer to a healthy choice and the help that we need.
- Maintain open lines of communication with your doctor/therapist – This may seem like an obvious one, but speaking from personal experience, I know that depression can warp my way of thinking toward getting medical help. It doesn’t make logical sense, but my brain starts trying to convince me that I can make it through without help and that I would be better off without it. This is scary stuff. Please do yourself and your loved ones a favor and stay in contact with your doctor, therapist, and any other members of your support team, especially when you don't feel like it.
- Be as honest as possible – Be honest about how you're feeling with yourself and those around you. One of the hardest things for me during a depression is to fight the tendency to isolate. If I'm honest about this, I can tell friends and family and I can have at least a little social interaction. If I can do this, I'm one step further along in the battle against the beast that is depression.
Tazzi, J. (2014, August 6). What to Do When Depression Feels Like a Glass Wall, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, December 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2014/08/when-depression-feels-like-a-glass-wall
Author: Jennifer Tazzi
I may be a little different in that I don't really want to isolate but only have a few people who I really want to talk to or see. I have strong introvert tendencies so I don't want to make a lot of small talk with people I don't really know--but I would welcome some one on one time with a few close friends. One of the hardest things I am dealing with is a feeling that the people I need most aren't there for me. The few I have reached out to and told them what I am going through are busy with life and unavailable. A quick text or e-mail to let me know they are thinking of me would go a long way, but there is nothing. The only thing that feels worse than talking to no one at all is saying something and getting silence back. So I start withdrawing to avoid that pain.
Gary, I can definitely relate to what you're saying, especially because I too have introvert tendencies. I'm sorry that you're dealing with the feeling that those you need are unavailable. You're right - a quick text or e-mail definitely goes a long way. I hope you find the support that you need soon.
The one of the most important things discussed was how depression makes a person socially isolated. It is really important to break through that wall of isolation to live a proper life.
Thank you, I'm glad you found the post to be relatable. All the best to you, Jenn
Chris Curry.... You have said it all for me ! I totally agree with where you're coming from. It's a tough , rough , fight ! So so difficult & others and their attitudes make it that much more difficult!!! :((
Thank you for your post. Your description of a glass wall expresses perfectly how I have felt with my depression. I have found isolating myself to be the way I cope, and then just waiting to begin to get a bit better again xxxx
That is such interesting imagery and I can certainly relate. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. All the best, Jenn
I'm sorry that you've been battling depression for at least the last two months. I hope that you find the help and the tools that you need on your journey. When I'm depressed, my brain often tells me that I should have a better handle, as you mentioned, on the depression. But I've realized that this is my brain being hard on me and that I need to be gentle with myself during a difficult time. Of course, this is easier said than done, at times, but I try. I'm in my mid-thirties and I was diagnosed with (bipolar) depression about 10 years ago. I try to keep learning and growing on this journey. All the best, Jenn
I'm glad you've decided to stay on the meds. If I feel weak about being on meds, I remind myself that my brain and body chemistry need the medication, just like any other illness. I'm also glad that HealthyPlace and your faith are helping you. All the best, Jenn
Thank you for your honesty. I am familiar with the feeling of uselessness when I am feeling down and it is a difficult way to feel, to say the least. And at times I feel communication can be difficult even under the best of circumstances, never mind when we are feeling down. All the best to you, Jenn
Mary Lynn, thank you for sharing about yourself and your son. I'm glad you found the post helpful. And thank you for looking to get depression "out of the closet" too. All the best to you, Jenn
A little over a year ago I disappeared from life. (was actually a missing person for about 30 days) During my "escape" I kept a journal every day and found that I would often refer to "the wall" that was keeping me, at times, from even wanting to move. I used the term "the wall" as if it were a real entity that had some grudge against me and would not be happy until I lost my life. I certainly understand your reference and appreciate knowing that others feel as I have. One day at a time. Thanks.
Thank you for your post. I have been fighting depression for at least the last two months. You look young in your picture. I'm a senior and it seems like I should have some handle on this, but here I am again.
I thank you so much for your web-site HealthyPlace, it has been a blessing to me as I am on Medication for Clinical Depression and cluster panic attacks. I keep trying to get off the Meds. but can't. It makes me feel like a weak person because I cannot function without my meds. I will continue to take them and do my best not to feel weak. Your site has helped me a lot. God is first in my life also .
When I isolate, not on purpose if feel safer. I feel useless and that anything I might say is not important to anyone. I have no communication skills. I did at one time, but people can be so mean I just don't want to open myself the the abuse of others. If you are alone you just have to deal with what you feel, and not think what others say mean things or just ignore you are true. The glass wall is my protection, my shield. Thank you
Jennifer-Thank you for this forum where depression is discussed openly. I, too, would prefer to isolate at my lowest times. I have an agreement with my closest friends and my doctor to be honest with them when I am hiding under the covers. Your post was a really good reminder to me because my son was newly diagnosed Bi-polar. (Breaks my heart) He is on track with meds but I will be sure to review with him what you shared above, especially in light of the Robin Williams news yesterday. Thank you for helping to get depression "out of the closet." My hope is to do more myself along that line in the near future. -Mary Lynn