The Isolation of Depression

Depression speaks in lies.  It utilizes absolute negatives, convincing you that no one else could possibly understand what you are feeling or going through.  No matter how many people are around, you feel completely alone.  It seems easier to become anti-social and push everyone away than to explain your condition, defend yourself or make excuses for your behavior.  Those suffering from depression feel alone so they isolate, turning that lie into a truth.

This feeling of loneliness bleeds into every aspect of your life.  You feel constantly out of place, sticking out like a sore thumb.  It feels as if everyone can tell you do not belong.  No matter where you go, you are self-conscious that you’re so broken and damaged that you have no place there or anywhere.  Your anxiety builds and you constantly want to retreat and flee to avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations.

That insecurity leads to guilt.  You want to be there with others, to belong, but you feel so out of place that you retreat.  You beat yourself up for pulling away, feeling bad that you cannot be the person you assume others wish you could be.  You hate that you cannot fit in.  You isolate yourself out of shame because you feel you failed everyone on a fundamental level. You blame yourself for everything, convincing yourself that you’d be better on your own, away from everyone else.

You feel alone even though there are others there.  You systematically pull away from everyone, one by one, until you are alone in reality.  You withdraw from those that you don’t believe understand what you’re going through because it’s too exhausting to try to explain everything you’re feeling.  You reject those you believe will judge you because it is easier to push them away first than to face their harsh criticism.  You isolate from others because you feel awkward or guilty or ashamed of the person you’ve become.

This isolation goes in cycles, a self-fulfilling prophecy.  You do not feel like you belong so you react to that feeling.  You retreat then beat yourself up from the guilt of your self-imposed isolation.  It all begins with a lie, told by your depression.  It ends with you turning that lie into a sad truth where you’ve walled yourself up, pushing everyone else away, until you find yourself completely alone.

Depression lies because its strength comes from its ability to separate and destroy.  In isolation, it can convince you of other falsehoods you would never believe if surrounded by your support system.  If you had reassurance and compassion from others, depression could not trap you in that web of lies.

The truth is that no one suffering from depression is truly alone.  According to recent studies, one in five people will struggle with mental illness at some point in their life, with depression and anxiety at the top of that list.  That means that, though no one else may have walked directly in your shoes, there are so many others walking along that same path.  So many of us understand exactly how you are feeling.  We can empathize.  You are not alone.

Don’t believe the lies depression tells you.  Don’t isolate or push others away.  People do care.  You do belong.  You do matter.  People care.  Let others in.  Talk.  Do not let depression win.  You do not have to be alone.

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