Depression: it’s like a deep hole, and just when you think you’ve hit bottom, you fall some more. Don’t let depression lead to isolation; it is important to know when you are feeling these effects and what can be done to alleviate them.
Depression & Isolation
When depression hits, the first thing you should not do is often the thing you do. Don’t let depression lead to isolation, while it is easy to do, staying connected is key. Not only does depression make you feel like you are alone, but it also makes you feel like being alone. Depression can cause social isolation, which in turn can aggravate the depressive symptoms, such as anxiety, changes in eating and sleeping, feelings of worthlessness, lack of interest in normal activities, and suicidal thoughts. Human beings have a physiological need to interact socially with others. When that need is denied, you begin to lack a sense of belonging, support, and intimacy.
How do you get off the slippery slide of social isolation? Reach out to others. It is hard when you are depressed. You think no one will understand. But you owe it to yourself to try. Fight back the urge to hide. Open up your heart to someone who cares about you, no matter how painful that is. The professional counselors at Real Life Counseling want to help you through your depression. Depression counseling is a positive way for you to reach out and get the help you need.
The isolating effects of depression lead you to not hear positive feedback that others could be giving you. Instead, you only hear yourself. People with depression usually don’t have nice things to say about themselves. However, when you have withdrawn from social contact, you have a lot of time to tell yourself a lot of negative things. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?
- “No one wants to be around me anyway.”
- “I can’t do anything right.”
- “I have gone too far this time.”
- “Nobody can help someone like me.”
Rumination, or brooding, is a dangerous pastime. It allows you to interpret your life as a failure. Even neutral things, like how a neighbor walks past your door, can be turned into a negative event. He practically ran past my door just in case I opened the door and wanted to talk to him.
How can you stop the negative self-talk? Try redirecting your thoughts to something positive. We already discussed the importance of being social. If you can’t talk to a kind person, then try reading a book or watching a movie.
Lack of Exercise
Depression goes hand-in-hand with a general lack of energy. You may find yourself skipping your normal mid-day walk simply because you don’t feel like it. Going to the gym might involve seeing your acquaintances, so you don’t go. The pool is usually full of happy people; you wouldn’t fit in. Even though exercise is therapeutic and has an antidepressant effect, depressed people often stop exercising. This only makes your depression worse.
What can you do to undo the paradox? Your depressive brain symptoms probably won’t help you get to the gym. You need to find someone to keep you accountable. Yes, this is hard to do when you want to isolate yourself from the world. However, if you trust one person, let that person get you moving again! Don’t let that person down! Listen to him and get your body moving, even if you really don’t want to.
Depression and suicide are linked. In fact, up to 60 percent of those who commit suicide have major depression. When a depressed person turns her focus inward and withdraws from social situations, she may think negative thoughts about herself that build and build until she believes her only option is to take her own life. Watch for these warning signs in yourself or others that may be a signal the person is thinking about committing suicide.
- Drastic mood changes.
- Personality change, especially in social situations.
- A trigger, such as a form of trauma, in a person already suffering from depression.
- Deep depression that leaves a person unable to function normally.
- Risky behavior.
- Threats of suicide, or wishes like “I wish I had never been born.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, get help immediately! Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. Or call 911.
No matter what stage of depression you are in, you are probably feeling some of the isolating effects listed above. Give yourself a chance to heal. Contact Real Life Counseling and we’ll schedule an appointment with a professional counselor.