This article will discuss how it might feel, for a person with depression to be living alone and how they cope with it. For that, the article will also explain what depression is, and its many symptoms that can affect the life of a person who is living alone.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental health condition that can affect any person, being that nowadays it is present in about 5% of the world population. Anyone can experience depression, but some situations can cause a person to have a higher risk of developing depression.
It can happen more often to women, also, people that are going through traumatic experiences, such as a divorce can have a higher risk of developing depression. It can also happen easier if the person has a history of depression in their family, or if they went through a previous depressive episode in their life.
Not only that, but an imbalance in the person’s brain chemistry can cause them to get depressed. But not all people that are depressed experience it in the same way. There are many symptoms, but people might not have all of them, or it can vary depending on the intensity of the symptom.
The most common symptoms of depression are:
- Change in eating pattern
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Excessive crying or inability to cry even if they feel like it
- Loss of energy
- Lack of the ability to focus
- Loss of purpose and expectation on the future
- Decreased sense of self-esteem and self-worth
- Thoughts of death and suicidal thoughts
There are different types of depression when one is considering its intensity. It can be in the mild form, in which the episodes don’t last long, and the intensity of the symptoms is not so severe.
The moderate kind can last longer, being that it can go on for more than 6 months and the symptoms tend to create more disruption in the person’s life.
As for severe depression, also called major depression, it can come to impair the person’s ability to maintain their job, or even do basic everyday activities. People with major depression can experience multiple episodes of depression throughout their lives.
How can depression make living alone hard?
Living alone can be a wonderful experience, but if a person is depressed, and lives alone, there are some things that they should consider. You first should be aware of what relationships you have in your life.
Being depressed can cause a person to isolate themselves, this might happen because they don’t have the energy to be around people, or even because they don’t want to disrupt people with their troubles or feel worthless.
If that is the case, having a way to be in touch with people can be of great help. It can be by taking your dog for a walk or doing a small walk around the neighborhood, but try to set a goal for yourself to, at least once a day, be in touch with other people.
It might also be hard to find the energy to do what needs to be done, depression tends to make a person feel more fatigued, and also less interested in what needs to be done. Be it to work, doing your house chores, or preparing your meals. Try to have a schedule that can help you have a clear notion of what needs to be done and when.
Depression can sometimes make you feel like you are not worth being alive, and in those times, taking care of yourself might seem impossible. And being alone in your space can make those thoughts even more intense since when you are depressed you experience a rush of negative thoughts and there won’t be anyone around to help change those thought patterns.
Something that can make living alone a little easier, when dealing with depression, is having a pet. This can help in many ways. I will not only give you a huge dose of affection but having a pet will also create a sense of responsibility that can help you move.
Is it possible for a person with depression to living alone?
Yes, a person with depression can live alone. What needs to be considered in this situation is how intense the person’s symptoms of depression are at this moment.
For a person with depression it can be, at times, extremely hard to do everyday chores, like cleaning the house, but it can be that they do it at their own pace. But if a person is severely depressed, sometimes even the most common thing, such as getting out of bed, can seem impossible.
So at this period, when depression seems to take over, and when the person is talking about death or considering suicide, it might not be a good idea for them to live alone. To have someone close, that can help them with their chores, or even help them get out of bed might be important.
And if the person is at risk of suicide, having that close support can give a feeling of belonging, and cause them to feel connected to others and the world, and that can be something that protects a person from attempting suicide.
But if that is not the case, and a person has mild or moderate cases of depression, and seem to be coping the best way they can, it is not an issue for them to live alone, they just have to keep an eye as to not isolate themselves more, since depression can impact on that.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Does living alone make you depressed?
How can I deal with the loneliness of living alone?
Living alone can cause a person to feel lonely at times, this can happen to anyone, but for a person with depression, the sense of loneliness and lack of support might be even more intense and damaging.
In both cases, to deal with loneliness is important to establish relationships. Having some deep connections would be great, but sometimes all a person needs is to be seen, and saying “hello” to a neighbor separates a bad day from a good one. So nurture yourself from your interactions, deep or casual ones.
Having a pet is also a way to feel less alone. It can give you a sense of care, of you caring for someone and someone that is caring for you, while they are giving you affection.
Is living alone bad for my mental health?
It depends. Sometimes it might be bad for your mental health, for you to live alone. According to studies, it can cause a person to have anxiety and even depression, but since that is not a universal rule, each person should consider their circumstances when living alone.
There are some factors to consider. They are: why is the person living alone, if it is something they desire, as most young people do, or if it is something that might happen to older people, who usually live alone because their spouses died, and the rest of the family lives far away.
For the first group of people, living alone might be accompanied by a greater sense of accomplishment, and the problems that it can cause to their mental health are smaller, but for the second group, living alone can have a more negative effect.
Is it normal to talk to myself if I live alone?
Talking to yourself when you live alone is not only normal as it is something that might have a great impact on your mental health. It is a way that one can put their feelings out, listen to them and think it over.
By saying them out loud, the thinking speed usually decreases, and the person processes what was said differently because they are also engaging the language centers of the brain. But since there is a thought that talking to yourself may mean someone is crazy, it is extremely important to be compassionate with yourself.
Embrace what is being said, listen in a caring way, and find positive ways to deal with the matter, so you don’t let the negative views you have of yourself take over.
Why am I always overthinking?
It might be a common situation to overthink things, but if that starts to happen very frequently, it might be a sign of anxiety, that you are dealing with stress, or that you are depressed. In anxiety, the person is constantly thinking about the future and lives in a fear of going through a situation of impending doom.
They can make a person constantly overthink their every action. When a person is dealing with a stressful situation the triggers of anxiety are all activated. They can start to overthink what can be the outcome of every situation, and try to control what might happen.
As for a person with depression, they tend to be flushed with a wave of negative thoughts. It can be about themselves, the life they live, the world, or the future. And once those thoughts are there it is extremely hard to move away from that spiral, causing them to overthink as well.
Finding strategies to cope, that can go from working out, talking to someone, or even breathing exercises and meditation, can be great ways to move past this never-ending negative line of thought.
Why do I always assume the worst will happen?
People going through mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, can experience this feeling of the worst is coming. This is called the feeling of impending doom, and it might make you feel like a tragedy is just moments away.
This happens because people going through depression tend to have an extremely negative outlook on life, so they never even consider that something good might happen. As for people with anxiety, they are usually thinking so far ahead in the future, that it doesn’t seem possible to have a positive experience.
Talking to friends or a therapist might be. A good way to put those negative thoughts in check and figure out what are fantasies, and what are possible negative outcomes that need to be considered.
This article discussed how living alone and depression can be related. It showed what depression is, how its symptoms can make the life of a person living alone more difficult at times. Aside from all that, the article proposed a few coping strategies that can be used to make the life of the person living alone a little easier.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.
Stahl ST, Beach SR, Musa D, Schulz R. Living alone and depression: the modifying role of the perceived neighborhood environment. Aging Ment Health. 2017 Oct;21(10): 1065-1071.