In this article, we will discuss how to stop depression withdrawal from loved ones and why it is a roadblock in your path to recovery.
Humans are social beings and thrive and crave social engagement. But due to depression our ability to communicate with others in a meaningful manner decreases. We are unable to truly express the turmoil that we’ve been feeling inside our minds to others, making our interaction with them fake. Which discourages our interaction with them. Furthermore, interacting with others requires a lot of effort, and finding that strength or energy to talk is just not there within us and that’s how depression withdraws us from loved ones.
Depression withdrawal from loved ones
During depression feelings like hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, shame, and worthlessness are experienced by us. These feelings are not easy to shake off and are the major reason we experience depression withdrawal from loved ones. Social isolation is not uncommon in individuals who experience depression.
Depression withdrawal from loved ones is a continuous cycle in which the individual gets stuck. In the beginning, there are feelings of reaching out and connecting with family and friends. But the sheer idea of it becomes too overwhelming for us. Thoughts like “I will have to pretend to be happy for their sake” or “It’s so tiring to go outside and talk.” “They will ask me about my days and I will have to lie to them” or “I will need to shower and dress up” can really stop us from going and interacting with them. This increases our feeling of loneliness and isolation and next, we won’t even make half the effort we did this time.
We do not wish to be a burden on others and try to solve our problems on our own. We feel that it is our personal problem and we need to take care of it on our own, therefore we experience depression withdrawal from loved ones. Feelings like others won’t understand me or worrying that they will dismiss my thoughts stops us from approaching them.
Depression withdrawal from loved ones is unhealthy
Depression withdrawal from loved ones is extremely unhealthy, causing our mental health to further deteriorate. During depression, we have no energy, we get irritated quickly, we feel that people do not want us around them, and more than that we do not want our loved ones to see us in this condition. We feel like a burden on our family and friends and do not want to bring their mood down with ours.
These factors cause us to stay alone and far away from others. But that is the opposite of what we should be doing.
Studies have shown that having a strong social support system helped individuals going through depression deal with it better and their recovery was faster. In fact, depression withdrawal from loved ones has the same negative effect on the body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day does. There is a proven correlation between depression withdrawal from loved ones and premature death and has been reported to be worse than being obese.
Identifying your withdrawal patterns
When we first start experiencing depression withdrawal from loved ones we are unable to understand the extent of our withdrawal patterns on our own mental health. Before things get worse for our own health, we need to start understanding where we are going wrong. For that, we need to identify our withdrawal patterns and they include:
- Not interacting with anyone all day. When we start to have no human interaction the whole day we need to realize that we have started to experience depression withdrawal from loved ones.
- We do not pick up calls from family members or friends.
- We do not reply back to messages or when we do, it is after 2-3 days and are very short responses.
- When someone close to us asks how we are, despite wanting to tell them exactly how we are feeling, we lie and say “good.”
- At parties, we take a corner seat or leave the party within an hour of coming there. We ensure that we reach late to a social event and make excuses to leave early too.
- Talking to anyone feels really tiring and exhausting, and we are left feeling drained out from having the conversation.
Connect with family and friends
Once you have recognized your patterns of depression withdrawal from loved ones, you need to start working on overcoming it for the benefit of your own mental health. It might not seem like an easy task and you may be very hesitant to even give it a try. But remember that despite the discomfort it might cause, it is an important milestone in your road to recovery from depression.
You can start by talking to anyone you feel comfortable with. This could be your parents, siblings, a close relative, or your closest friend. Anyone, you think who would listen to you. If you feel that they won’t understand you then talk to someone you know who has gone through a similar experience. Join a support group, where people share their experiences with one another because they know that the group members are experiencing similar feelings and will understand them.
If you still feel hesitant in making the first move, have a small conversation with them about how things are going with them or about the political condition in your area. You can also call up someone who likes to talk a lot so that you do not have to be the one who keeps the conversation going.
Just having someone to talk to is enough for you to feel better and light inside. It might feel exhausting so try 10-15 minutes of talk in the beginning and work it up.
Connect does not have to include words
When we say connect with your loved ones it does not only have to be over words. Simply sitting next to them while you both do your own work can be the change you need. To get out of depression withdrawal from loved ones, one does not need to have a continuous talk with everyone around them. You can just be in the physical company of someone. It helps you feel safe, less anxious, and loved.
Doing day-to-day activities together can be quite beneficial. These could include having your meals with your family or friends, doing on walks with them, sitting together, and working. Or doing household chores together like buying groceries from the market, cleaning the house, or helping in the cooking and then cleaning the dishes.
Normal activities like these when done together establish a sense of togetherness, warmth, and increase the feeling that someone wants me. We no longer feel the need to use words to feel close to our loved ones.
On days when you do not feel like doing any work, just hug the person and you will instantly feel better.
Motivate yourself to get out of the house
The best way to overcome depression withdrawal from loved ones is to try and get yourself to leave the house. Leaving the house feel like a struggle and hassle which we want to avoid at all cost but it is also one of the most important things that we need to do during depression. Make plans with your friends and family to meet up. You start by asking them to accompany you to see a movie, as that involves 2-3 hours of silence in the presence of someone close but no talking. And before and after the movie you have a topic to discuss that is not you.
Once you feel like you are ready for more interaction, you can always go for lunch or dinner and then maybe accompany them for parties too. The best way for you to overcome depression withdrawal from loved ones is to take it slow step by step. Rather than going all-in and exhausting yourself completely. Based on how much effort you can put in that day, plan your engagement time with others.
Do not engage in drinking or drugs
With depression withdrawal from loved ones one of the most common worrisome problems is drinking and substance abuse. Social isolation is an unhealthy habit that comes with depression but there are other activities that we start to indulge in that keep us away from our family. We start to take the help of alcohol and drugs to cope up with the feelings of emptiness we feel inside.
We take to alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with the pain that we feel inside, which is extremely unhealthy and should be avoided at all cost.
You need to talk to someone about it
During depression withdrawal from loved ones, one of the most important things we need to do when we feel we are ready is to tell them about our depression. We need to let them know exactly how we feel and what thoughts run through our minds. Expressing and letting them know about the turmoil inside can feel extremely light and feel like a heavy burden has been lifted off our shoulders.
You just need a good listener who is compassionate to understand what you are going through. Someone you feel comfortable sharing your emotions and thoughts with, who will provide no judgmental comments or opinions.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Letting your loved ones know how they can help
Once you have told someone that you are going through you will realize that your depression withdrawal from loved ones is reducing. This is a good sign. But after you have told your loved ones about your depression, they might seem unsure about how to respond and help you with it. This could lead to feelings of doubt and uncertainty between you and them. To avoid that let your loved ones know what you want from them.
Telling them how they can help you can take off the pressure from their shoulder on how to help. You can tell them, that they can start by understanding that depression is a serious condition and dismissing or hiding the problem won’t make it go away. That there is no one “fix” to it and that it will take time.
You can them to read articles or guidebook on helping someone with depression so that they can read up and understand how they can help you.
This guide discussed how depression withdrawal from loved one is unhealthy and one needs to stop it.
What does it mean when someone isolates themselves?
Social isolation could be a result of loneliness and low self-esteem experienced by an individual due to their interaction with the community. They could over time develop social anxiety, depression, or similar mental health problems.
Can depression change your brain permanently?
Yes, depression can change your brain permanently. Depression is not only about feeling sad and hopeless but also involves difficulty in concentration, attention, and memory. There is an impact on the brain structure and up to 20% of patients with depression never fully recover.
What diseases are linked to depression?
Depression is linked with other chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases like blood pressure, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Anxiety is also linked to depression.
What does a depressed person’s brain look like?
Studies have shown that people with depression have thicker grey matter in parts of their brain that are involved in emotions and self-perceptions. Also, areas involved in concentration, attention, and memory are influenced.
Can the brain heal itself from mental illness?
Studies have shown that cognitive training of the brain which involves learning new or strategic information and adapting our thinking can reduce depression, by thickening the cortex and leading to regrowth of neural connection in the brain. Meaning that cognitive reprogramming of the brain can heal itself from mental illnesses.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.