Mental Health and Loneliness, Is There a Connection?

Are there those us destined to be alone in this mental illness life?

I was asked recently to write about mental health and loneliness, and if we can survive in a world where we are alone in the struggle with mental illness. The other part of the discussion hat was asked of me was to discuss if recovery is possible when you are alone without a support network? The questions posed by my fellow blogger is an interesting one because I have a support network and yet I am alone for the most part in my recovery. I will use my own experiences to answer these questions.

Loneliness, Mental Illness, & Recovery

I often ponder about being alone when it comes to being alone and loneliness in this mental illness life. I am an introvert. I stay within myself for strength. I guess a look back at my history with relationships might give you insight into why I feel that being alone is the best thing for someone like me. My last relationship was at the beginning.yiran-ding-688016-unsplash.jpg

I ended my last relationship with my ex-girlfriend in the middle of the worst depression cycle in my life. I knew nothing but that there was bad ahead of me, and how could I subject someone I loved to deal with me? It was the hardest decision that I have ever made in this life. I often regret it because she could have been the one. Now I feel that my destiny is to be alone for the rest of my life.

At the same time, I often feel that loneliness and being alone in this fight can affect my recovery. It would be great to find someone who understands this life and can handle the ups and downs that come with having a mental illness. There are nights that I lay in bed and think about how much better my anxiety would be if I can someone shared the burden of my mental illness late at night. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to revel in being an introverted loner, but at the same time, I often wonder if things could be better on the road to recovery if I had someone.

I have thought since the beginning that bringing someone into the chaos that is my mental illness daily life would be selfish. I am a go it alone type, and I have dealt with my recovery by myself. Sure, I have a support team of family members, my best friend, psychiatrists, therapists, and of course my writings here, but the truth is I tend to want to deal with my illness on my own. It can be seen as the easy route.

When I am depressed, I stay away from people and stay in bed. My biggest goal in this mental illness life is to be the anthony-tran-679123-unsplash.jpgleast amount of burden as possible on those in my life. So I go at this recovery thing on my own. I don’t do social media other than to showcase my writings. I feel better going at this recovery thing alone, but is it the right thing?

I am not so sure anymore. If you have someone that is there for you in your recovery that’s good. In some ways, I envy that, and in others ways, I am set in my ways. I feel like opening this up to the discussion with my fellow bloggers.

Do you think it is possible to be alone in recovery or do we need to have companionship?

I hope to get as much feedback as possible because this is a topic that I am very close to, and it would be great to get the opinion of my fellow bloggers.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

Chetan Hireholi

Yiran Ding

Anthony Tran

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44 Replies to “Mental Health and Loneliness, Is There a Connection?”

  1. you know I do the same thing when I am highly depressed. I just lock myself in my room and have minimum contact with people. But on the other hand I also sometime crave for someone’s company and not just any someone. Someone who can understand what you are going through.. it’s hard to be on your own for long periods if time and it takes a toll on you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is one of the things that worry be. It is hard to find someone who understands completely what your going through and deal with it on a daily basis. I have been alone so long I feel as if it will always be my destiny.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Isolation is such a two-edged sword. When I am not doing well, it can drive me to such a low place that my demons come to me and it becomes all the more difficult to carry on. But even in my good days I much prefer to be alone with my thoughts/ideas/day dreams, etc., than to be around lots of people. That’s why my BFF is so important to me—he keeps me tethered to the outside world, and because he’s a friend and not a partner/SO/spouse, etc., I don’t become a burden to him (or at least he can just go home and focus on his own life and activities). But the daily contact helps keep me level and also he is aware of I start going downhill.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man…you nailed it right in the head. I am the type of person who likes to deal with mental illness alone. I have always been that way and for me, it seems easier (like you stated) because I don’t want to be a burden for others and sometimes, I have to speak up when I feel incredibly depressed. You can ask my mother, my brother and my three closest friends about my mental health and they will tell you straight off the bat that I am not very vocal with it. I tend to just keep it to myself and not let anyone in, unless you give me a very good reason (if we can connect to an emotional level). I’m an introvert as well and just reading this post made me realize that I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work. I truly enjoy your way of writing ❣️(Sorry for the long paragraph)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s very important to have at least one other person as a support during recovery, even if it is a professional like a counselor. There’s too many emotions and thoughts to hold inside, and when we isolate, we overthink and the downward spiraling starts. Also, we see ourselves how others perceive us (the good-ole looking glass theory). It’s proven that when we make a successful and meaningful connection with someone, we have a higher self-esteem! I would say force yourself to reach out…it could even be toward others going through something similar to find common ground.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do connect with others through this platform and that helps. I am not so good at “reaching out” so to speak. I have friends. Of course I have professional people like my therapist and my psychiatrist. My support system is there, it’s just me when all that is not available. It’s weird I know but being alone helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well if it helps I would say that is totally fine! Especially if you have those other supports. And I am glad this platform helps! Writing about it sure does help. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it depends on the person and some of both is good. I know me – I need to be alone a lot of the time. I’m happy to have people check in and know that I have someone I can talk to. Sometimes I can handle being social. Sometimes, I can’t. It depends on my state of mind. I often feel that I will be alone with this too because I’ll never meet anyone who can handle it. But, I was proved wrong there too, even though the guy turned out to be an asshat. He had his own issues and we were able to lean on each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Being in the recovery process or not, we need connection. But I so relate to the “go it alone” mindset and lifestyle. It feels easier and safer. Someone told me that I don’t want someone who feels burdened by my mental illnesses, rather someone who sees the gifts I offer despite my mental illnesses. Good read!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have no support network and, until recently, I lived in a kind of extreme isolation situation for about four years. In many ways, I don’t think recovery would’ve been possible had I not isolated myself, because I kept gravitating towards people who made everything so much worse. I need to be alone. Having said that, it went on way too long, and now trying to come back into the real world and learning how to relate to people again feels like an almost impossible task. Isolation does bad things to the mind, but sometimes it’s necessary, and I do think it’s possible to recover when you’re alone. The problem comes when you have to stop being alone – reconnecting with people is hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is where I am at right now, well a few years removed from total isolation. I do so much better on my own and I have fought for every inch of my recovery to this point. I finished one degree and I am on to the next. I am just worried that I will never be acclimated as much as I’d like to be to the social norms of society. I have all these opportunities and yet I am worried I can’t hack it. Thank you for sharing your perspective it really helps to see all sides.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I share your concerns about social norms, but I take some comfort from knowing that some of the most successful people are quirky and unable, or unwilling, to fit in with the norm. ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I see what you’re saying, it’s a bit complex. I want someone but I don’t want someone. Maybe if you would have been honest with your ex – it’s never too late, unless she’s married now, then it is, but be honest with whom you date. You’d be surprised, people are understanding and nonjudgmental. It’s tough trying to explain to someone other than your therapist how it is that you’re feeling, when you yourself don’t have a tight grip on it, but they’ll definitely try to, if you let them. Another thing I do so well – I suffer from depression and anxiety, is that I automatically assume people are selfish, have zero clue of what I’m going through, etc and shut them out! Before the even have a chance to disappoint me – what if they don’t?! Give someone a chance! If it doesn’t work out even after you were honest, it’s ok! There will be another, someone just right, for you. Don’t write yourself off as being destined to be alone. I once did that to myself after a heartbreak, I was wrong! 🙏🏽

    Like

      1. Of course. It happened to me. It’s that ‘one that got away.’ The upside, we experienced something great in our lives. There will be another, to understand you, to mend your heart and allow you to live your most authentic life. You will them when you least expect it. 🙏🏽

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post James,
    Ya I’m the same way at times I really do wish I had someone but then again I don’t want to burden someone else with my problems, tho for a long time I was around people I was totally alone I didn’t talk to anyone about what was going on in my head for twenty or so years about 6 year’s ago now was when I got on the net and found others like me and started talking about things, I still don’t talk to anyone off the net about my life and I have no friends or support system to rely on it’s gust me, tho I’ve been trying to be more socialbull with people like Natalie Mansfield said it’s hard my social skills suck from being alone for so long.

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi James, great topic to discuss.

    I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, it’s totally person centred and will simply depend on who you meet in life, who you decide to let in, but personally my mental state/stability improved massively when I entered a serious relationship.

    I’m glad you have support from family and friends that is so important.

    I have been both alone and in a relationship throughout my recovery, being alone I personally was much worse as I had to much time to overthink and having nobody around meant I would self-harm whenever I fancied. Now in a relationship, I restrain from self-harmin 90% of the times I feel I need to, for me this is due to knowing at that time that I am not only hurting myself, but my partner too as he would be upset at the thought of me harming myself, this then reminds me that I am loved and helps me get out of that cycle. For me having a partner has been life changing, but there are cons to a relationship too, when you love someone so dearly you fear you can be hurt so deeply and this is terrifying. But I always weigh up the pros and cons,

    We very rearly argue and I have confidence that he won’t cheat on me, taking the risk I did to be in a relationship with all the happiness, support and companionship is personally worth the risk. I try to tell myself that thinking “what if” is would destroying and not a way to live. If something goes wrong, I will be as strong as I can. But for now, I’m not going to sacrifice something so amazing because my negative thinking is in action telling me it will all go wrong.

    I would leave the love side of life to fate, I never really believed but I was shown it really is a thing! If it’s meant to be, it will be, you will say yes to the date, your heart will know when the risk is worth it. I have no doubt someone will come along when you least expect it, they will blow you away and together you will continue on your journey of recovery.

    Love and light

    S

    Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for your honesty in your writings, I admire the work of someone who can tell the truth without fear of peoples response. I have been down the dark road of depression and known friends to end there lives because of it. My faith in God gave me an anchor when the storms came. The way I found to overcome it was to do the opposite. Sometimes depression does want to make you lock yourself away from the world as yes, we do feel like a burden to others. Yet unless, as you may well do, we use this time to be productive and write about what we are going through, our depression will only grow worse. Depression is a mindset built over many years of heart aches and disappointments, others who have never had it don’t understand it which makes us worse! We always long for someone who understands. One thing I can say to you, and you already know this… you are not alone! Keep fighting, smile and never think you are a burden, that’s a lie from the devil himself. Look at your writing, you have a gift that can be used for great things! God bless you friend, never give up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this and for articulating your own response to this question. I will think deeply on what you have discussed here.

      Like

  12. Finding someone that understands that when you are in that emotional hole, that it is not them. That they just are there, in the same space gives great comfort. Knowing that even if I don’t have someone to share my bed at night, that there is another human being in the house that will notice and care if I don’t get up and function the next day. I guess, I think yes, a companion is important. Someone that you can be alone with makes it less lonely. I am lucky in that the person I share my home with understands my issues and they have their own, so I know I will get to do the same for them when they need it. It balances out the guilt of being a burden. Because really the person isn’t the burden, there is no burden, just difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Having someone to share with is so helpful. Don’t give up. You may find that there is someone who understands your issues and wants you to get their own. They may need support in a different way and you may be the perfect one to help. My husband and I have both had issues. We are not alike and our problems are very different but we support each other. My strengths support his weaknesses and vice versa. There is hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am alone and thriving. For myself, I have a tendency to be distracted by the problems of others. I put others needs before my own making my recovery only possible alone. Toxic relationships are a part of my story and I take full responsibility for my part but that’s the thing, I struggle with self-love and do not know what a healthy relationship looks like. I think it all depends on the individual.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think it’s two fold. At times, you do need to be alone (loneliness is a different concept) to work through certain things that only you can address.

    The 2nd part is it is good to have someone who understands your mental illness and can provide the support you need. This means honest and open communication.

    Most times, people with mental illness will avoid and go quiet which leaves their partners confused and frustrated. This adds more stress to both people.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I can totally relate to you in many ways and I also have the guilt of making my boyfriend go through my unpredictable moods and emotions but I wouldn’t be here now writing this if it wasn’t for him. But I think everyone deals with things differently and some people are strong enough to get through it alone but I think having someone who can understand in a way what you are going through and can support you or just be there to cuddle you when you are hysterically crying or because you are petrified or to keep you safe when you are manic is a good thing but then you have the guilt of being a burden on the other hand if you are alone and have nobody to just make sure you are safe i guess you are more likely to self harm or overdose or make things worse in your head. I know you said you ended your relationship who you think could have been the one but she still could be one day you might not believe that now but you never know. Thanks for this post tho it’s really relatable I will be sure to follow your blog

    Liked by 1 person

  17. For me personally, I need the “alone” time to process what I’m feeling – anxiety, depression, fear, loneliness, whatever – but then I find what helps me address whatever I found by staying alone, it’s helpful to have someone, anyone who accepts you to be there to help process those things that present themselves, whatever that may be. I wish you well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. This is one of the most amazing things anyone has ever responded to a post I wrote. It made me tear up because you put a lot of doubts I have to rest. Thank you so much. I have shared this on my blog if you don’t mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. My husband has increasing arthritis issues, which means in future I will have to take over more tasks, have to be more patient with his increasing frustrations of being able to do less of what he would like too. He will always be the man I love. I know when to ‘leave him be’ and in return he knows when to let me be 😉
    Is it hard to be vulnerable. Oh yes. Are there guarantees? Nope.
    Believing you are a burden is to me equal to believing you don’t matter. Because of the state of your mental health you aren’t entitled to have a meaningful relationship? Aren’t you more than your mental health issues? A human, a man (reading you write under a different name, a woman?), a child, a neighbor, a friend, a family member, a fan of basketball, a blogger, a writer (and a damn good one) etc. etc.
    To deny yourself the experience of a another relationship, another opportunity to learn and grow. As an individual, as a pair? Are you sure you want to make that choice?
    Just some thoughts, I hope they make sense to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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