Guest Author - Lisa Angelettie M.S.W.
When was the last time you talked to you an old girlfriend? Or played a board game with your kids? Or threw a tennis ball around with your dog? How about returning a phone call to a parent from your child's school?
If you can't remember or it was a while ago - you are probably avoiding contact with people because of your depression. And it can be very easy to NOT notice just how isolated you have become.
As I'm sure you know, depression robs people of their desire to enjoy the things and the people that they used to. So while many people usually associate that with the desire to play tennis, go to the movies, or other types of "activities" - depression can rob you of the desire to answer the phone.
In fact, Caller ID was probably one of the worst inventions created for a person suffering from moderate depression because it allows you to become selective and only answer the phone when you absolutely have to -- creating more isolation.
Isolation is not good. It is the very thing that leads people to severe depressive episodes, and even worse -- suicidal ideation or thoughts. So what can you do about it?
1. The first step is to recognize that you have become isolated. Think about the last time you have talked to people, seen people, and interacted with people that you used to interact with. How long has it been? How long has it been that you really even cared?
2. The next step is to accept that while isolation seems easier to manage right now, that it is not good and will not help you dig yourself out of depression. In fact, it will create a bigger hole.
3. Third, you will have to make the decision that your self-imposed isolation is NOT acceptable.
4. Finally, you need to muster up the courage to do something about it. While depression can be dehabilitating, most experts will agree that you need to take a multi-dimensional approach towards battling it. So in this case, making the decision every day to do at least one thing that requires contact with people is a step in the right direction.
One technique I like to try is to close my eyes, open my address book and point to a name. Whoever it is gets a call from me that day which I may limit to 15 minutes, unless I forget and find myself enjoying the conversation! Then it could go for an hour!
Additional Reading: Are You Hiding Your Depression?
Lisa Angelettie, "GirlShrink" is an online advice authority. Her site GirlShrink.com is the #1 "Advice & Counseling" site on the web. Instantly get a FREE Bonus when you sign up for her free Better Choices Ezine. Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful mental health resources. Subscribe below.