Like we talk about in our blog post titled 20 Reasons Why People With Depression Isolate Themselves, "depression isolation" is extremely, extremely common. On that note, a little while ago on social media, we asked members of our community:
What does "depression isolation" feel like?
And, to help people with depression who at times isolate themselves to feel less alone - as well as to help people who don't have depression to understand "depression isolation" a little bit better - we'd now like to share some of the responses with you.
15 Quotes About What "Depression Isolation" Feels Like
- "It's so lonely. You want help, but you don’t want to deal with people. You don’t want to feel like this, but you don’t know how to take the first steps to not feel this way. You want to be 'normal', but you have no energy to get there."
- "Depression isolation feels debilitatingly lonely - because we are literally without so many people that were around when we were 'well'."
- "It’s cutting yourself off from friends and acquaintances before they see you as a problem. It’s believing that it might be too late, and that they already think you’re a problem. It’s declining interactions because you know you can’t bring anything of value to the table. It’s not wanting to bother anyone but hoping they’ll somehow know you aren’t okay and check in. It’s also not going anywhere and cancelling plans to be in your safe space without the pressure and effort of being social or engaging with others. It’s 'working from home' because you can't face the professional expectations at work or pleasantries from colleagues without feeling heavy and alone. It’s believing that everyone you know doesn’t think about you and doesn’t care that you exist."
- "Depression isolation is not wanting to contaminate everyone in your life with your sadness, so you hide it away."
- "I am going through this right now. It's very lonely. No exercise, no social life, no leaving the house. It's hard to think positively. Everyone I know thinks I'm OK but inside, I'm slowly dying. My emotions are becoming numb, but then there are times that I just cry with sadness. I have a lot of fear for my future and just wish I wasn't here at all."
- "A never-ending cycle. I stay to myself to avoid being a burden or bringing down others' moods ... but being alone makes my mood worse."
- "Depression isolation is like a deep hollow pit where you simultaneously don’t want anyone to ever speak to you, but you also ache for someone to notice and reach out. You don’t feel deserving of help and convince yourself you are a bother to everyone around you."
- "It feels like fighting a battle that you can't win. There's no-one to call on to, and one hard truth is that sometimes there's no-one to care."
- "For me, I believe that you can't truly understand 'depression isolation' until you can't stand your own presence in an empty room."
- "No friends. Feeling empty the whole time. Waiting for the end of the day so you can escape through sleep."
- "As others have said, depression isolation is very lonely. I've cut ties and connections with everyone. I feel lost. I don't know who I am anymore. I could literally sleep all the time, because if I'm sleeping, I'm not feeling."
- "Depression isolation = desperately wanting to get invited to events, but then not being brave enough to go. Friends eventually give up inviting you, and the number of friends you did have slowly dwindles away."
- "I would describe 'depression isolation' as an inevitable involuntary act of creating an impenetrable barrier surrounding your whole being. Nothing is welcome in, and nothing escapes. It's like bottling a lonely hell in a jar."
- "For me, depression isolation is wanting to be around the people I love, but physically not being able to be around them because I have no emotional energy left and all I can do is lay there and cry."
Can You Relate To These Quotes About "Depression Isolation"?
If you have a tendency to "depression isolate" and can relate to one or more of the above quotes, then we'd also like to share with you a few important tips to help you cope with "depression isolation".
"Depression Isolation" Tip #1: Where Possible, Try To Engage With Others In Whatever Small, Manageable Ways You Can Manage
Like some of the above quotes touch upon, many forms of social interaction can feel too overwhelming for someone who's deep in a depressive episode. However, where possible to, we encourage you to try to engage with others in whatever small, manageable ways that you can.
- If you have a group of 10 friends who normally get together, then if meeting all of them in a busy environment feels like much too much, then perhaps you could reach out to one of those friends who's always shown themselves to be empathetic and compassionate, and suggest to meet them somewhere much more quiet.
- Or, if meeting up with them face-to-face also feels too overwhelming, then perhaps you could talk over text message.
- Or, if talking in any capacity isn't something you feel you can manage, then perhaps you could do a more passive activity together online - such as playing a computer game, or watching a television series together via a "watch party".
"Depression Isolation" Tip #2: Implement One Or More Strategies To Cope With Feelings Of Shame
It's common for people who "depression isolate" to feel shame as a result. For example, due to:
- Not being the person that they want to be for their loved ones;
- Not attending an important event (such as a loved one's birthday celebration).
If you can relate, then we encourage you to implement one or more strategies to help you cope with these feelings of shame. To learn a variety of these strategies, please read our blog post titled The Biggest Causes Of "Depression Shame" And How To Overcome Them.
"Depression Isolation" Tip #3: Take One Or More Steps To Cope With The Negative Thought "I'm A Burden"
As we often say at The Depression Project, just because you think a negative thought, it does not mean that it's true. And, if negative thoughts surrounding being a "burden" are contributing to you "depression isolating", then taking one or more steps to cope with this thought and ease its intensity can make it easier for you to reach out to loved ones. On that note, you'll likely find the following resources helpful:
- Blog Post #1: 20 Reasons You Are NOT A Burden
- Blog Post #2: Reframing The Negative Thought "I'm A Burden"
- Our Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-Based Journal You Are Not A Burden.
Do You Know Someone Who Has A Tendency To "Depression Isolate"?
On the other hand, if you don't engage in "depression isolation" yourself but instead know someone who does, then we really encourage you to try your best to:
- Firstly, not take their "depression isolation" personally. This may be difficult for you to do, since you may think "if they REALLY loved / cared for me, then they would meet up with me". However, as the above quotes show, when somebody is "depression isolating", the symptoms of their depression tend to be severe, and what's more, they may be scared of reaching out because they fear being a "burden". And, as a result, it's entirely possible for somebody with depression to deeply love and care for you, but still isolate themselves.
- Secondly, if you think someone you know may be suffering in silence, then we encourage you to reach out to them in one of these ways.
We really hope you've found this blog post about "depression isolation" helpful ❤️
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.
P.S. If you'd like to read more about "depression isolation", then we recommend our blog post 20 Reasons Why People With Depression Isolate Themselves.
P.P.S. If you have depression and would like a lot more help to get better, 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 countless skills to help you do just that!