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Mental Illness is an Isolating and Lonely Disease

Mental illness is an isolating and a lonely disease by nature. Here are things to do when you feel isolated and and lonely. Take a peek.

Mental illness is an isolating and lonely disease. This is not to say that everyone diagnosed with a mental illness feels alone in their struggle, but many of us do, most of us do at some point in our recovery. Because I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of twelve, I have often felt lonely and as if very few people could really understand me. And now, twelve years later, I still struggle with a feeling that I am alone in my illness, that despite a concerted effort on the behalf of those who love me, they cannot really understand the struggle. These thoughts, these feelings, are normal in connection to mental illness, because by nature, mental illness is a lonely and isolating disease.

Mental Illness as a Lonely Disease

The word lonely is defined as a feeling of being alone, of feeling separated from others, being unsure how to connect to those we feel are on the outside of our experience, our world. If a person has been diagnosed with a mental illness later in their lives, perhaps in their twenties or thirties, years when one is expected to thrive, the illness can abruptly sever relationships.

Mental illness lends itself to isolation, instills a fear that we are different than others. Sometimes, it feels like we are wearing a sign that states we have a mental  illness. It  can seem easier to separate ourselves from the world, to believe that we are different. Feeling alone, segregating ourselves, spurs a state of isolation.

Mental Illness is an Isolating Disease

Mental illness is an isolating and a lonely disease by nature. Here are things to do when you feel isolated and and lonely. Take a peek.Isolation is a feeling of chronic emptiness. A belief that one does not belong. A fear of life and of others: isolation, anxiety and depression. It can define mental illness and negatively effect recovery and the sense of self. When a person is diagnosed with a mental illness their perception of themselves changes. Life can seem divided: before the diagnosis and after. It can be hard to separate and integrate the person you are now from the person you believe you were before.

Reclaiming Your Life From the Isolation and Loneliness of Mental Illness

This is not easy, but it is possible, and the process is rewarding. First, work to understand that you are more than your mental illness: you are the same person you were before the diagnosis, maybe you are functioning better, and your life is manageable. Recovery has become a state of being and not just a pursuit to achieve it.

It can be beneficial to seek therapy. Talking about how isolated you feel, how you feel you are different from others is helpful. A competent therapist, a therapist that you can feel comfortable with (this is very important), can help you understand that you are not different than others (Six Tips on How to Find a Great Mental Health Counselor).

It helps to remember that people are simply different from each other and this is what makes us unique. This is what makes the world an interesting and accomplished place. You are unique, but you are not exclusively unique. Try to think of what makes you special: the things you do for fun, painting or running for example, traits that define you as a person. Remind yourself that you are you; you are never defined by mental illness alone.

You cannot ignore the fact that you have a mental illness, you need to treat mental illness effectively, and work to become or stay recovered, but your life, your personality, is much more than the diagnosis that your psychiatrist has written beside your name. If you can do this, then it is possible to connect with others, and not just those who have a mental illness, people that were your friends before the diagnosis, and the new ones you will meet after.

25 thoughts on “Mental Illness is an Isolating and Lonely Disease”

  1. Thank you for writing this. I have isolated and been lonely for a long time. For the past 6 years I barely leave my house. My wife supports us and I watch my baby girl. She saved my life. But sometimes I ask myself “Why?” The only answer I have is to be her daddy. So I make sure I do everything right I possibly can for her. Then I fear she will struggle with my loneliness when im gone. That terrifies me, I have no counselors in my area so it is up to me. I have had lets say MANY suicides within my family. My family has had nothing to do with me for years. Im a quiet and polite person but I have forces working against me. I just started stop driving. Im a 42 year old man who use to ride bulls. But for the past 6 years I have put myself in a box. I fear I may never get out of it. I honestly do not remember my last friend? I live a very lonely isolated life. I see no way out but I refuse to give up.

  2. I am just coming out of a 2 year depressive period. My diagnosis is MDD, PTSD and severe anxiety. I had to break up with my finance and loose my job to finally start to feel better (along with different med mixtures). It’s horrible that one has to keep going to a job each day in which they are treated like a looser just to keep their health insurance. A job that feels like it is slowly killing you.
    On top of this my best friend of 20 years dumps me because she thinks the psych meds I take are additive and I am a drug addict. A second good friend decided I was not giving her enough time and attention and decide to dump me. In this age people can just delete you from their life so easily. Ive never been this low before. Everyday I drove home from work I tried to figure out a way to kill myself. For me depression feels like I am in quick sand all alone struggling and struggling to get out, but nothing works and I want to just stop struggling and lay back and die. I am so scared this depression will come back. I’m not sure I can get through a period like that again. I’m so afraid they will run out of drugs that work for me. I am 51 years old and know that quite a few of the current meds can’t be taken by the elderly. When am I “the elderly”? I would love to find a partner in life, however, I feel like I am so damaged, it wouldn’t be fair to subject anyone else to my disease. Besides, how many people would put up with this? How many people can handle this? Very few. I would have been better off with a brain tumor. The chances of being cured or going into remission is far greater than living a life with severe depression. Friends wouldn’t leave me. My employer would be more sympathetic, people would bring be casseroles. Yes, mental illness is a very lonely life long disease. What is so great about living to 80? Just prolonged pain.

  3. I want to help people struggling with mental illness. I’m not sure where to start. I feel that my strength is coming back finally after my last hospitalization. I have been living with being bi-polar since I was 17. I am now 38 and have been married to an amazing guy for 13 years. I had my son 4 years ago. I was hospitalized for 4 months of my pregnancy and I am still recovering from that. Medication has helped me greatly. I had to go off Lithium when I was 36 due to kidney dysfunction. I am on Zeldox now and I have been stable for 4 years. Thank you Natalie for putting into words the support we need.

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