Depression and Isolation: Is It Alone Time or Something Worse?
For those with depression, isolation is often something we experience. Many times we don't have the energy or desire to go out and socialize; however, living in isolation is no true life at all. We don't have to allow our depression to keep us isolated. We just need some guidelines so we can tell the difference between isolation and alone time.
Depression Blurs the Line Between Isolation and Alone Time
Here are questions to ask yourself when you live with depression and isolation is a threat.
Why Are You Spending Time Alone?
First, ask yourself why you're spending time by yourself. Is it because you've been with others all day and need to rest? Or is it because your depressive thoughts are wearing you down and you want to isolate yourself? If it's the latter, then meet a friend for dinner or coffee; if you're not up for that, then invite your friend over for a visit. I know it's hard to take these steps when you're in a bad place with your depression, but being in contact with friends will help.
How Are You Spending Your Alone Time?
Next, how are you spending your time by yourself? Are you mindlessly watching TV (not that I don't binge-watch Netflix sometimes, which is fine if done in moderation) or sleeping too much? Are you drinking too much alcohol or overeating as coping mechanisms? Or, are you studying or reading? Are you working on a project? Are you watching a movie or TV show that you truly enjoy and are actually focusing on? Are you doing something that makes you healthier or truly happier? If you are just trying to numb yourself or mindlessly sit there and be alone, then you are isolating yourself as a way of coping with your depression.
How Much Time Are You Spending Alone?
Finally, how much time are you spending by yourself? In my opinion, you need to have contact with other people at least once every day. It's best if it's face to face, but I realize that's not possible for everyone. At least try to make a phone call or send a text. I'll admit I am not a phone call person. I'd rather talk in person or text; talking on the phone is my last resort. Now, when I'm going through a really low phase with my depression, I don't want to do any of it. My first instinct is to isolate myself; yet, if I choose to remain isolated, this will only exacerbate my depression. Then, as my depression worsens, my desire to stay in isolation strengthens. So I'll continue to keep to myself, which will isolate me and push me further down into the depression abyss.
As you can see, depression and isolation form a vicious cycle. In spite of the struggle, it's possible for us to choose companionship over isolation. If you've been existing in isolation, please come out and join us. Don't let depression stop you. The world is waiting.
Smith, J. (2019, January 23). Depression and Isolation: Is It Alone Time or Something Worse?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2019/1/depression-and-isolation-is-it-alone-time-or-something-worse