"Depression isolation" - i.e. a person with depression isolating themselves when they feel depressed - is something that's extremely, extremely common. Unfortunately, however, when someone with depression does isolate themselves, it's also extremely common for the people they isolate themselves from to consequently conclude something negative and/or "bad" about them. For example, that:
- "They're a bad friend"
- "They're just rude"
- "They're selfish"
- "They're lazy"
- "They don't care about me"
- "They're just avoiding me"
However, what many people don't know is that there are actually many explanations for why people with depression may isolate themselves that are a direct result of depression itself. And, in this blog post, we'd like to share 20 of these reasons with you.
Are you ready?
DEPRESSION ISOLATION: 20 Reasons Why People With Depression Isolate Themselves
- They need to process all of the complex emotions that are commonly associated with depression (such as, for example, feelings of fear and hopelessness about the future; the feeling of numbness that is commonly experienced in deep depressive episodes; feelings of worthlessness surrounding who they are as a person; feelings of grief surrounding the loss of the happy, enjoyable life that they had before their depression; and many, many more).
- They want to "protect" the people they love from their symptoms (for example, they may not want their loved ones to know how severe their symptoms are so as not to make them worry; and, due to how much anger can be associated with depression, they may be afraid that they'll snap and lash out at a loved one who doesn't deserve it).
- They're in "survival mode", and are therefore having to use all of their capacity just to get by (meaning that they have no additional capacity left to engage with other people).
- Given all of depression's debilitating symptoms they're fighting, they need time to rest and recharge their batteries.
- They're completely and utterly exhausted (which like we often talk about, is a very, very common symptom of depression).
- They don't want anyone to see them at their worst.
- They feel unworthy of support (which could be because, for example, feelings of worthlessness are commonly associated with depression; and/or because it's possible for people with depression to be so consumed with hopelessness that they feel as if they are "beyond saving").
- They need to be in their "safe space" (since when someone is fighting intense symptoms of depression, the outside world can feel very cold and unsafe).
- They may find themselves frequently crying as a result of their depression, which is something they may only feel comfortable doing by themselves in the privacy of their home.
- They don't want to burden others with their suffering.
- They need to decompress (like everyone does from time-to-time, but the need to decompress can be significantly stronger when someone is battling severe symptoms of depression).
- They're overwhelmed (given how exhausted depression can make a person feel and the extent to which it can cripple their motivation, even simple tasks can feel extremely overwhelming in a deep depressive episode - such as socialising with others, having a shower, and even getting out of bed, for example).
- They don't know how to talk about their depression (like we mention in another one of our blog posts, this is something that many, many people with depression can relate to).
- They fear judgment (which is something that many people with depression are often subjected to as a result of, for example, struggling to function as well as they otherwise would).
- They feel disconnected from the world around them (which is extremely common when, for example, the people around them are laughing and smiling, while meanwhile, they're feeling consumed with depression).
- They can't get pleasure out of anything - including spending time with their loved ones (this is particularly common if they feel "depression numb").
- They may be neglecting their personal hygiene (which is very common when someone's in a deep depressive episode).
- Their depressive symptoms are so intense they're having difficulty concentrating, and would therefore find it very difficult to maintain a conversation.
- They don't want to disappoint the people who love them (for example by, as a result of their depression, not being able to be the person their loved ones want and/or expect them to be).
- Given the severity of their symptoms, they don't have the capacity to fake a smile and pretend they're OK.
Key Takeaways When It Comes To "Depression Isolation"
If you have depression and at times isolate yourself as a result, our friend, then please know that you are NOT alone - because like we've said, "depression isolation" is really, really common.
On the other hand, if you don't have depression yourself but you know someone who does and who isolates themselves at times, then please try your best not to take it personally and conclude that they're avoiding you, don't care about you, or being "rude", "selfish", "lazy" or "a bad friend", for example. Instead, we encourage you to reach out and let them know you care - as this can mean the world to someone with depression who's by themselves.
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.
P.S. If you have depression and would like to learn a handful of strategies for how to cope with "depression isolation", then we encourage you to read our blog post titled 15 Quotes About What "Depression Isolation" Feels Like - since after the quotes, we also share a few tips to help you cope with the loneliness, shame and fear of being a burden that can be associated with "depression isolation".
P.P.S. If you'd like a lot more help to overcome depression, then we think you'll find our Depression Bootcamps really, really helpful - in which, using leading, evidence-based principles from cognitive behavioural therapy (including specialised forms of CBT such as DBT and ACT), you'll learn the skills you need to know in order to overcome depression!