This time of year can be difficult. One of the hardest symptoms to deal with during a depressive episode is feeling disconnected from reality. This feeling causes sufferers to retreat further and further into their own world. They become isolated from their loved ones and friends and the loneliness deepens the depression.
Here’s 3 ways to stop isolation from making depression worse.
1. Have at least one person you can turn to and have regular contact with 3-4 times a week. Someone you can call when you need to talk, someone who can be with you just watching TV or going to a movie. You don’t have talk about how you feel if you don’t want to and be clear that you don’t want to be questioned about your feelings. Hopefully, they’ll understand this and will be there for you when you need them.
2. There will be times when you just want to shut out the world and have your own space. Many sufferers just want to be alone in a quiet room such as their bedroom. There’s nothing wrong with this at all. But try not to make it a daily or regular habit. Schedule this once, maybe twice a week at most and be strict with it. It’s about a balance. Yes, shut the world out for a day or two each week. For the rest of the week, be around people, especially the special person we discussed in the first paragraph.
3. When you do shut the world out, do it in a way that helps you rather than hurts you. So, instead of retiring to a dark room and lying in bed to brood about your problems, try these: Mind puzzles – logic problems, crosswords, spatial puzzles etc. – jigsaw puzzles, draw or paint, play a musical instrument, write stories, watch TV or a movie, or read a book or a magazine and listen to some music. With a book and music, avoid anything too heavy or deep. Keep it nice and light. In this way, isolation doesn’t become a period of deep introspection where you worry or fret about problems or go over the past or beat up on yourself. You get the peace and tranquility but not the torment that can accompany it during a depressive episode.
If you feel isolated and that life seems like a “virtual reality”, then please put these techniques to use. Isolation is a part of depression and the key to lessening the impact is to understand how it happens and use it so it helps you beat depression instead of keeping you trapped in it.