Wanting to be alone Depression (A guide)

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In this blog we are going to explore some psychological facets of depression in respect to the feeling of wanting to be alone when depressed  and what can be done to help them.

If you are someone who has faced depression at a point, or someone who might be experiencing depressive symptoms or know someone who is battling with depression or suspect to have spression. Then the information given might be of use to you.

How can you help someone who wants to be alone and fighting depression? 

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Contrary to this opinion, most people when they are depressed may not necessarily want to be alone but rather choose to  alienate themselves from their friends, family and their social circle. However, if efforts are taken from both sides of the individual at hand as well as the loved ones who want to help the person get through it, it can help the individual combat the feeling of wanting to be alone. Some of those suggestions include:

  • Being patient
  • Being in the present
  • Being able to ask for help without being judged
  • Acknowledge depressive feelings
  • Practise positive self talks and affirmations
  • Separating the disease from the individual and not labelling them as a depressed individual. 

 How to recognise depressive symptoms?(Depression DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria)

Depression is not the same as sadness which many people from various parts of the world fail to understand. 

Although persistent sadness is a common symptom of depression, it is just as likely for someone who is depressed not to feel anything at all at the surface level and deal with an emotional numbness until they are triggered to feel something. In order to have an idea  what depression  looks like, the DSM criteria outlined some signs and symptoms.

The DSM-5(Diagnostic Statistical Manual) outlines the following criteria to make the diagnosis of disorder to be categorised as depression. The individual must be experiencing five or more of the following symptoms for a period of two weeks or more with a sense of either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure.

  • A sense of persistent depressed mood throughout the day, almost every day.
  • Drastic decline in pleasure in every or almost every activity most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Loss of appetite and Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • A sense of lathery or lack in energy marked by decline in physical movement (which may or may not necessarily be observable by others,).
  • Recurring Feelings or thoughts of worthlessness or uselessness 
  • A sense of excessive guilt nearly every day for no particular reason.
  • Lack of focus and decline in ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, almost every day.
  • Suicidal thoughts or recurring feelings of ‘It won’t matter’ or ‘everyone is better off without me’ even marked by failed attempts. 

Does an individual who is  depressed really want to be alone?

Now we may all want to be alone from time to time. A little ‘me time’ is really healthy and at times fundamental in order to function and keep our sanity in check. 

But when an individual is depressed, it goes so much further than extended ‘me time’. An individual who is depressed may start to alienate themselves from their social surroundings, with draw from their hobbies or extracurriculars which could be as simple as going to the gym and even lose interest in their work.

Now this does not mean that these changes happen over night. Depression is a slow poison that takes its full effects over time.  If someone is depressed then, he/she starts withdrawing from everything and everyone over time.

An individual who is depressed does not want to be alone but rather they may believe that they have to be alone or it is better to alienate themselves.

They may experience repetitive thoughts like ‘it won’t matter anyway’, ‘no one will understand’, ‘the problem is my own and I don’t have to get someone else involved’, ‘it’s fine’, ‘no one would understand anyway.’

The following reasons can further explain the psychological misconceptions with the perception of an individual who suffers from depression. 

These distortions in perception is something everyone experiences but what makes them more deadly for someone who is fighting with depression is that it is more consistent, frequent and intense than for someone who may not be fighting this battle.

 The severity of these distortions becomes more severe with the severity of the illness or the condition.

Pessimistic outlook

An individual fighting with depression fails to maintain stability with the way he/she perceives the world around them. He/she develops a very pessimistic outlook and experiences a sense of hopelessness. 

He/she may experience thoughts like ‘what even is the point anymore?’ and may engage in negative self-talk as well that adds to an overall pessimistic outlook.

This in turn would make an individual fighting with depression want to be alone as he/she may believe that no one can understand him/her anyway and may question the point of talking to someone about their mental health and in the process also alienate themselves.

Lack of resilience

One of the most common  blockages someone fighting with depression is the sense of lack of resilience. He/she may experience suicidal thoughts due to  the lack of resilience which can cause an inner conflict. The more severe the depression the bigger the lack which can lead to many losing the battle with depression and taking his/her own life. 

Lack of motivation 

When an individual is depressed then he/she does not have the motivation to the extent the other people would. This lack of motivation can be reflected in something  as simple as their daily activities, job or any aspect of their life. 

An individual who is depressed may want to be alone due to this lack of motivation and alienate him/herself

 Lack of energy

Another aspect which may lead someone depressed wanting to be alone is the lack of energy caused due to their condition.When an individual is depressed then he/she experiences many chemical changes in their brain. 

Depression results in reduction of dopamine and serotonin which are responsible for mood regulation. This in turn results in loss of energy to the extent that getting through the day may seem like an everyday challenge to them.

Lack of interest 

Another factor that may lead to someone struggling with depression to alienate themselves or want to be alone is lack of interest.

As mentioned above, depression is a mental health condition that causes chemical changes in the brain, resulting in lack of mood regulators like dopamine and serotonin. 

This in turn results in an overall sense of lack of pleasure which in turn causes lack of interest in everything around him/her. The person concerned may not feel comfortable to vocalise or verbalise the shift or the lack in interest which may lead to him/her wanting to be alone.

Suggestions: How to help someone who wants to be alone when depressed

  Depression is a slow poison as mentioned above. It does not take full effect overnight. So once someone is diagnosed with depression, it is important to make appropriate efforts on both sides of the person diagnosed as well as loved ones who would wish to help them through it.

Being patient

One of the most helpful considerations anyone can do for someone who is struggling with depression and wanting to be alone,is being patient with the person at hand especially with the process of healing which might be slow but helpful and required.

 If the process is hurried or disrupted then that can have devastating consequences for some which can result in someone not just wanting to be alone when depressed but completely isolating themselves or even ending their lives. 

Being in the present

One way which an individual dealing with depression must remember is that it is important to be in the present.

when someone experiences depression, getting through the day may seem like a challenge. Taking it one day at a time can be one of the simplest but effective ways of tackling the situation .

Acknowledge everything you feel

Acknowledging one’s emotions as valid and that counts as they accept what they are feeling is crucial as it helps bring them to terms with it. 

If the individual feels that he/she is safe to acknowledge everything he/she feels without being judged, then the less likely he/she is going to alienate him/herself or want to be alone.

Ask for help

Acknowledging the problem is the first step to finding the solution. Asking for help is a way of acknowledging the problem as well as knowing that she/he has a confidant who  can be a form of support system to help get through this. 

This can be a therapist, a close friend or family member, a support group or anyone whom the individual feels safe enough to confide in. 

The more the individual feels she/he has someone by his side whom he/she can ask help from without being judged, the less likely he/she would want to be alone when depressed.

Positive self talks and affirmations

Positive affirmations like ‘I can beat this’ ‘I am worthy’ ‘this is not the end of it’ ‘This does not define me’ can go a long way to reinforce optimism and enforce a positive mindset. It is really beneficial if the individual is able to positively affirm him/herself every day and is surrounded by people who can help him/her achieve this.

Separating the condition from the person (No labelling)

One of the main reasons someone dealing with depression may choose to be alone is the fear of being labelled as ‘a depressed person’ . This is by far one of the most dangerous mistakes that many may make and unconsciously make the situation worse for the person at hand.

Labelling the individual can make the person even more vulnerable than they are and can reinforce a more dangerous negative mindset in which they start identifying him/herself  with his/her condition and not who she/he actually is as a person who is just fighting with depression. This in turn makes them isolate themselves and want to be alone

It is very important to remember that the individual is not a depressed person but a person fighting depression. A distinction like this can help an individual regain faith in him/herself as well as make him/her feel safe enough to be in the presence of people and not want to be alone.

FAQs: Wanting to be alone depression

Three reasons why i want to be left alone in depression

The individual may feel overwhelmed or not interested at all
He/She may not be able to understand what is happened to them so wouldn’t know how to talk about it
Talking about it is difficult. One may not be ready to accept reality.

Is loneliness linked to depression?

Yes, loneliness is a sign of depression, when depressed an individual feel alone and left out even if they may not be or may be a result of their own withdrawal. However, there are more prominent signs than loneliness.

Is anxiety and depression the same thing?

Not at all. One may feel symptoms of anxiety when they are depressed but anxiety and depression are two completely different mental health conditions.

What do you do when you fall into depression?

First and Foremost, acknowledge what you are feeling. It is really important to talk to someone you trust.Remind yourself that what you are feeling is valid but may not be the end point if you take action. Even if it is difficult, ask others for help. Don’t let yourself go through this alone and when you feel ready, get the help of a psychiatrist and psychologist.

Can depression be left alone

Not if you want to make it through it. Depression of all conditions should never be left alone. Leaving depression on it’s own is something like leaving a pet starving for two days just to observe if something happens which it will but the intensity of it can be noticed later. The key to be cured from depression which is very likely is to act on it as soon as possible. That way the symptoms are easier to deal with.

Conclusion

In this blog we are going to explore some psychological facets of depression in respect to the feeling of wanting to be alone when depressed along with what suggestions would be very useful in helping someone who wants to be alone while fighting depression.

This blog was aimed to provide insight to the topic at hand.Please feel free to leave your feedback or share your experiences if you feel comfortable sharing them

REFERENCES

https://www.vice.com/en/article/evepej/why-does-depression-make-me-want-to-be-alone

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/causes-depression#1

https://www.psycom.net/depression-definition-dsm-5-diagnostic-criteria/

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