Dealing with feelings of isolation and loneliness
First time posting on here so I am not sure if this is the most appropriate forum to put it on but here goes nothing.
I, as like many of you, have been living with depression and anxiety for a long time now.
One of the recurring feelings that has become more and more prominent I have had over the last two years is what seems like to me, the unshakable feeling of isolation and loneliness, and it is a sick feeling to have that I am feeling nauseous typing this out.
During this time, I have made a conscious effort to be more open about my mental health with family and friends that I feel like I am close to and I can trust, to which I have had a mixed bag of reactions; half of them received it well, but don't really make an effort to check in to see how I am going afterwards (one even forgetting I told them after only one month), and the rest, did not receive it well at all (notably my Mum, who just gave me the simple "snap out of response" which as I am sure you can all understand, not as easy as it sounds).
It appears to me that being open and vulnerable like that just makes me feel more lonely and isolated than before.
I want to be able to have a more deeper and meaningful relationships and steer away from superficial ones with my friends and family, but what is leading me feel like I am all alone is the fact I don't want to burden them with my problems, as well as believing that they probably weren't the best people to be open to about my mental health to begin with.
I actively try to maintain these connections but as of late I cannot help but feel like that since revealing the status of my mental health to them, they have been distancing themselves away further adding more fuel to the "I don't want to a burden" fire. It is so tiring!
One thing that I have been doing a lot recently is shifting the spotlight to any drama or problems they are having and offering my support and advice that way.
However, I can definitely sympathise with the possibility that they just aren't sure how they could be of help to me either, and are nervous about saying or doing the wrong thing, which creates a bit of a Catch 22 in a way.
Question is, well, it is a two part question:
1) If anyone else can relate, how do you cope?
2) How to break through the Catch 22?
If you need me to elaborate please ask. I am already on 307 characters left in this post and don't want to make it anymore longer if I can.
Looking forward to chatting with you all! 🙂
Welcome to the forums and thanks for being here.
I've had depression and anxiety for a long time too, and I wish I knew the answers to your questions. If a book had the answers, it'd be a bestseller. But I don't think there are any answers, because people are complicated. 🙂
What I do know is this: it's hard opening up, and it takes a lot of courage and vulnerability. Which is why I like to do it in pieces. This becomes a win-win, because it allows me to open up just a little and test the waters, and the relationship doesn't get too fragile if they're not sure how to respond or what to say.
If there's a chance that the people you're telling and opening up to don't know what to say - let them know. "I just want you to listen", "I'd love it if you checked in on me", "It'd help if you just distracted me", "I need my space", "Please send pizza".
Sometimes people really do have the best intentions, but it's just not being delivered. Maybe nobody checked in on you because they wanted to give you some space for example. So letting people know what you need is important.
The last bit of advice I have for you is to talk to people who get it. People like us, who know what it's like to live day in and day out with mental health issues, who can have the hard conversations without feeling like you're a burden. Not only can we connect with you, we can also be good practice to know that it's okay to need people and okay to talk to people, with no strings attached, and nobody telling you to snap out of it.
I hope this helps, and thanks again for being here.
P.S. The pizza request never worked on me but maybe it will work for you 🙂
Thank you for sharing your frustrations. I can assure you : you are not Robinson Crusoe in that boat!
As to your questions: I agree with romantic_thi3f: we are all so different that there is no single cure-all. In my personal experiences I have come across a couple of things that have helped me. I don't know if you are a sportsman or a musician, or have a hobby that uses a single piece of equipment, but I am a cyclist (at least I ride a bike 🙂 I found that talking to my bike about being lonely helped me straighten out my thoughts about it, and could help me centre myself and create a certain focus on not being so lonely, but just not having 'someone' to talk to at that moment.
When I did open up to people I had a similar experience you describe. I could not even talk about it to my best mate of over 25 years! However, you will find one person to whom you can speak: then you will find another. Just be yourself in each moment and allow them the grace of not having a clue how to 'deal with' this new information right then. Often they are as scared as you (as I found out by speaking to some of my friends later).
I know there is someone willing to listen to you, so please do not get closed off and shut down if someone is not ready to talk at that moment.
Best of luck 🙂
Hi romantic_thi3f and Tre
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond back to me. Apologies for not responding sooner as work has been taking up a lot of my time as of late!
I am happy to see that I am not alone in this boat and I appreciate both of you for sharing your experiences and thoughts on this. 🙂
Hi Tom, "the unshakable feeling of isolation and loneliness" is a classic symptom of depression i have discovered. It sits there in the back of the mind or the pit of your stomach and churns around making you feel like you need to withdraw more, that's the beast that is depression wanting to feed itself. Something similar to what i have been going through and am trying to strategise ways to be more social and break personal barriers so that i don't continue down the spiral. Please be reassured that it is not uncommon to feel that way for people who are coping with depression and you are not alone in this mental battle.
I think the people who you have opened up with are perhaps just unsure how to deal with it or feel that they need to tiptoe around the issue so as not to make it worse. its heartbreaking for sure but its important to remember that they are not usually trained to cope with such issues, society has long put mental health as a taboo subject and its not something everyone deals with or has to deal with in regards to helping others with such issues. professional help like psychologists can be a way to easily open up and explore the areas that need exploring within yourself in order to work through the pain and break free of the cycle. It can be for some a lot easier to do this with someone who isn't within your immediate circle of people friends family etc. and isn't going to be judging you negatively but from a point of view of "what's wrong , how can i help them fix this problem they're having"
sorry, bit of a ramble but that's my experience, best of luck