Whether or not can loneliness cause depression isn’t the real problem here, it’s more about the method behind depression, to begin with.
Back when I was a soldier I suffered from depression.
It wasn’t a mild case of depression, or me going all like “forced service is so depressing, ugh!”.
No, it was far worse.
My service was very easy in comparison to most.
If anything, it was like a regular job without the monthly paycheck, it really wasn’t bad at all.
Boot camp and my overall training sucked, though, and brought my whole mood down irreversibly.
Being thrown into a system that could get you sent into the worst of prisons only because you “didn’t follow orders”?
And I don’t mean like anything life-threatening – my base had a commander who threw people in jail when they didn’t make him coffee after he ordered them to!
He was judge, jury, and executioner, and the same could be said for pretty much any other person who had a higher rank than me, officer or otherwise.
In a world where your time of service meant everything, it was a simple matter of lying in a trial to have the other person thrown into prison – and yes, I do mean literal prison.
Those thoughts weren’t helping my anxiety in the slightest, and it’s no surprise that depression followed suit.
And let me tell you right here, my depression was an ugly thing.
People didn’t know why I was acting the way that I was, they thought I was weird or even idiotic.
They didn’t get me, and I couldn’t blame them.
My commander though that I was nothing but a crybaby, the people around me always gossiped.
Some even went through the trouble of calling me names and accusing me of simply not wanting to be there and quitting instead.
I can really understand all of these people, I really can
There seemed to be no good reason for me to keep being depressed – the hardship was already behind me, and the future seemed that much brighter.
Yet my depression wasn’t going away, and no one, including me, could figure out why!
So when I got sick and tired of my condition I have started to dedicate my utmost ability in order to get rid of my depression.
One of the factors that I have pinpointed was loneliness
Yep, loneliness – I couldn’t have helped but to wonder whether of not my loneliness was key in this situation.
The relation between loneliness and depression was an obvious one to me.
Regardless of uncontrollable factors, the human race is a social one by its very nature – we were meant to interact with each other!
This sense of “together” is what kept us alive for many years, even when all else failed.
Going against our very nature in that sense is a poor choice, and research vastly backs up this fact – too!
Psychologist John Casioppo of the University of Chicago has been looking into the neuroscience behind loneliness and coming up with some rather interesting results.
According to his studies, loneliness and depression are very closely related, so that’s no big shocker to us.
Yet this just raises the question – what does this have to do with anything?
I mean, I have already talked about how my depression didn’t go away even after the depressing factors had stopped, one of which was loneliness, but what’s up with that? What does loneliness have to do with my experience?
I was surrounded by people in both times, and here I am talking to you guys about my loneliness!
It was forced
I wasn’t lonely because I was alone (and I wasn’t), I was lonely because I chose to be alone.
The need for Isolation and some “alone time” are indeed symptoms of depression, and yet also cause depression as well, and that’s the real issue.
When I was going through my bad experiences in boot camp I was choosing to be lonely.
I psychologically isolated myself from others as much as I could, so even when we did interact we couldn’t form any meaningful relationships with one another.
Eventually, they just gave up, and I couldn’t be bothered with them anymore.
So even when my depression did go away, I haven’t really given myself any chance to pass on from it – I still stuck to the bad habit of being alone, and then I was pretty shocked to discover that my depression wasn’t going away at all!
I wondered why hasn’t it, but after taking a quick look at myself I was able to pinpoint the real problem at hand – me!
So after taking responsibility, I decided to look for some actual solutions for my problem, and the obvious one came flying at me.
Simply talk to people.
But nothing seems to be easy
But when I did try and talk with people, I found this huge problem.
I couldn’t connect with anyone anymore, nothing that I did seemed to be able to feel that void of loneliness.
The basic reason was obvious to me, I was scared of people and their reaction to some extent, and couldn’t bring myself to feel comfortable and trust them.
Social anxiety at it’s finest right there.
The fact that I was always on guard pushed me away from people by default – how can I connect with anyone if I alway question them, if there is no trust between us?
Obviously, I can’t.
So in order to alleviate my loneliness, I needed to overcome my social anxiety.
It’s about trust
In order to not be lonely, you need to be able to connect to people.
I am not talking about being friends with them or anything, but more about the fact that you need to be able to speak with them and receive a neutral-percieved reply from them.
Sounds easy? Not so much.
After being depressed, and wanting to be left alone, the last thing that you want is to have to talk with other people – you simply can’t bring yourself to tolerate them.
On the anxiety-based field, talking with other people is scary.
The one-two solution to both these issues would be to simply force yourself to talk with people.
The power of habit can make it easier for you to talk with people as well as to see them in a non-threatening light.
So trust people who won’t harm you
Simply interact more with your parents and family, they won’t turn on you.
Another option is to talk with people like cashiers and technical support staff, they are literally paid to be nice and tolerant to you.
Might as well use that fact to your favor, am I right?
I did the same thing, I simply interacted more with both my mother and father, going through some basic steps like asking them about their work and feelings.
Small talk at its finest, truly
Such simplistic acts of compassion can go a long way.
The simple fact that can talk to someone else without it being a chore (in the case of depression) or a complete nightmare (in the case of social anxiety) is a completely surprising experinece for those who have forgotten how not being lonely feels like.
Being alone isn’t bad, but isolation is a killer
Anyone needs an “off time” every once in a while, and that’s perfectly fine.
Other people put some strain on us, so taking a bit of time to chill and be left alone is a rewarding experience by itself.
That being said, isolation yourself is one of the worst things you can do, this type of behavior will only make your mental conditions worse, no matter what they are.
Depression and social anxiety are results of some pretty bad experiences, they aren’t a natural part of our lives and it shows by how bad our brain gets whenever we experience them.
Keep this in mind, though, people need people
As much as it may seem easier to some of us, you can’t just be stuck in your room all day like I was.
You may say that you are fine, and you may truly believe it, but you aren’t – and it will become very evident over time, even if simply by a number of people who leave tell you that something is wrong with you (thanks a lot for that, by the way!)
And believe me, being the topic of gossip isn’t going to make you feel better.
As such, I would recommend you to check out my top solution for social anxiety, you will get your money’s worth!
So here’s a question – when was the last time you just wanted to be left alone, and when someone pulled you out of your loneliness you thanked them?
Make sure to leave your answers in the comment section below.
I read every single one of them and would be thrilled to hear what you have to say.
Also, if you got any questions you would like to ask me personally then simply send me an email – I always reply to those!