Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt completely alone? Maybe you weren’t getting along with family, and didn’t know who to turn to. Or maybe you were surrounded by family and friends, but didn’t feel like they understood you. Perhaps you were scared of disappointing or worrying others by bringing up what you were struggling with.
No matter your circumstances, everyone feels lonely sometimes. Yes, everyone, no matter how many Instagram and Facebook friends they have, and no matter how upbeat they seem. Loneliness is just part of life.
People who have had depression know that depression takes loneliness to a whole new level. One of the most common signs of depression is isolating from others – not returning phone calls, canceling appointments or plans, and so on. Some other common signs include not wanting to get out of bed, feeling like there’s no hope, feeling emotionally numb, frequent crying, sleeping all the time or hardly at all, and having lots of thoughts about death or suicide.
Despite this post, WebMD, and online quizzes (many of which I myself have taken over the years), please understand that only a licensed professional can give you an accurate mental health diagnosis, including depression.
If you think you may be depressed, the first and often most difficult step is talking to someone about it. Hiding your feelings (which could include sadness, hopelessness, frustration, apathy…) from others often increases shame, giving those negative feelings more power. Acknowledging your feelings to someone can ‘break the spell’ and return some of that power back to you.
The first person you talk to about feeling depressed may not be a mental health professional, but rather, someone in your life who is kind and supportive. This could be a family member, but not necessarily; it could also be a friend or trustworthy co-worker. You’ll want to talk to someone who is a good listener and who will want to help you. If you can’t think of anyone like that in your life right now, you can call the Illinois Mental Health Collaborative Warm Line, at 1-866-359-7953. The Warm Line is open M-F, 8 am – 5 pm; you can find out more information at this site.
If you are having increased suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself, please seek help. Call 911 or text “CONNECT” to 741741 (a confidential crisis line that anyone can use).
And as always, feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions about this post. You e-mail or visit my “contact” page. Thank you!