There are many feelings which go with depression. Among them are loneliness, frustration, helplessness, despair and, of course, sadness; feeling isolation is another.
Recently I’ve been feeling pretty good about the way my life is going. I’m busy with my work, I’ve been socialising a fair bit, my photography is coming along, I’ve started cycling again after many months off the bike, my health is slowly improving, and generally I feel content with how things are. My head was lifting. But this was not much more than a veneer on what lies underneath. While I think that I’m beginning to understand what I need to do to be happy, it apparently doesn’t take much to feel that weight of depression beginning to weigh on the shoulders and duck the head back down again.
For me, one of my strongest negative feelings is of isolation. People might automatically jump to the conclusion that this is simply feeling lonely, and that a bit of socialising or some company will help. It won’t. And this is because the feeling of isolation runs much deeper than a desire to be with people. It’s about being understood by others. It’s about relating to other people. It’s a desire, in my case, to feel that I belong to something. And again, for me, it’s a need to feel accepted, liked, and validated in social company.
So, isolation is not something which can be solved by being more sociable, it’s about the right kind of social interaction, or at least that’s what the mental leaps and contortions and torture inside me thinks it wants. People who know me might think that this is totally ridiculous. As far as I’m aware, I’m well-liked and respected. But I don’t feel like I belong to anything. I never feel wholly part of a group. I don’t think I bond in a social dynamic, that I’m always on the outside, looking in.
Maybe I just want to feel important, somehow. Perhaps because people don’t seem to rely on me, to talk to me about their troubles, to be the first person they come to as a friend then I don’t feel like I matter. I rarely get validation from anyone that I’m a decent human being. I almost never hear anyone compliment me, yet listen daily about others receiving their validation. I’ll admit to spending a lot of time on Facebook, posting photos and links to stuff to try and get some sort of indication of how much I/the things I do mean to people. It’s a means of self validation, but one can only do this so much before it stops working.
Tonight I feel that isolation; tomorrow I will probably feel fine. The more I learn about myself, the more I can change how I react to situations before I’m thrown back to the horrible place I’m in tonight. In the meantime, I can only hope that tomorrow is better and that I’m one step closer to a happier understanding of who I am and what my place is in this world.