Depression and Social Isolation

Depression and Social Isolation

How Depression impacts Social Connection
Depression often leads to social isolation as people who are feeling depressed tend to withdraw from interacting with others. This withdrawal can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and further contribute to depressive symptoms, causing a vicious cycle.

Reasons for Social Isolation  

  • Feelings of worthlessness 
  • Feelings of hopelessness that social
    interaction will not improve the situation 
  • Lack of energy and motivation 
  • Feelings of burdensome 
  • Fear of rejection 
  • Loss of interest to do things and see others
  • Difficulty expressing feelings and talking 
  • Fear of stigma and misunderstanding 

Tips to Overcoming Isolation  

  • Build a support network by surrounding yourself with understanding friends, family, or support groups that can provide empathy and encouragement
  • Self reflect on how you feel after a social encounter. Do you feel more drained, confident, energised, self conscious? Surround yourself with the people that make you feel fulfilled and recharged after seeing them
  • Choose a trusted friend or loved one that you can reach out and confine in. Choose someone that you know will want to be there for you, listen and not judge you
  • Take small steps by starting to engage in social activities that are low-pressure and manageable. Gradually increase your social interaction at a pace that feels comfortable to you. Recognise and celebrate your progress along the way  
  • Be your own positive companion by practising self care. Choose small activities or tasks that bring you personal fulfilment and make you feel like you have accomplished something (e.g. walks, making a meal, reading, tidying, shopping) 
  • Recognise and challenge your own negative thoughts. When we are depressed our thinking patterns can become punitive and self-deprecating. Practise being kind and patient with yourself by replacing any negative thoughts with thoughts that are compassionate and understanding 
  • Recognise that overcoming social isolation when feeling depressed may take time and effort. Practise patience and self compassion along the way

Stephanie Di Giovanni