The Connection Between Loneliness and Depression
After the pandemic began in 2020, people experiencing loneliness hit an extreme high. One report by the Making Caring Common Project found that 36% of all Americans feel “serious loneliness.” Feelings of loneliness can have a devastating impact on a person’s quality of life, leaving them reeling from many mental health issues. Have you found yourself wondering, “Why do I feel sad when I am alone?” The truth is, you are not alone in feeling that way. Many people deal with isolation depression, causing them to feel lonely, sad, and lost at the same time.
How to Tell the Difference Between Being Lonely and Depressed
Loneliness and depression can go hand and hand, but just because you are feeling one way doesn’t always mean that you are feeling the other. Both feelings can cause:
- Low mood
- Self-esteem issues
- Low energy
- Changes to eating and sleeping patterns
- Irritability or restlessness
- A foggy mind
However, there is one big difference between the two. Depression is a mental health disorder. With depression, you need the help of a mental health professional to find healing. Without that help, your depressive symptoms will continue and may even become more severe. If you are struggling with depression, you will struggle with one or more of the symptoms for a minimum of two weeks. The other symptoms of depression you can watch out for include:
- Social isolation
- A loss of interest in the things that once made you happy
- Feeling worthless or hopeless
- Being convinced nobody wants to be around you
- Constantly feeling empty or sad
- Feeling guilty or helpless
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Aches or pains that physical ailments cannot explain
On the other hand, loneliness can be cured with proper human connection and communication. Being lonely can be difficult and cause feelings of sadness and irritability. However, once you have met your body’s need and desires to feel connected to other human beings, you will find that your symptoms will begin to fade.
Coping with Loneliness
If you believe that you are struggling with loneliness, there are a few things you can do to start feeling better. These include:
- Consider why you feel this way. Are you socially isolated, or are you feeling alone despite being surrounded by people? What is causing you to feel lonely?
- Try to build a deeper connection to the people around you. Discuss deeper, more serious topics that help you get to know your friends at a deeper level. Call or write a letter to your loved ones rather than sending a quick text or DM. Truly listen when your loved ones talk to you, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Getting to know your loved ones at a deeper level will help you feel more connected, pleasing your brain and lessening your feelings of loneliness.
- Pursue hobbies that bring you feelings of fulfillment. Sometimes, when we feel disconnected from the person we are meant to be, we can begin to feel alone and misunderstood. Work on understanding yourself and pursuing hobbies and activities that bring you a sense of meaning and fulfillment. This could be volunteering, learning about a religion, or expressing yourself through art.
- Be kind to yourself. Negative self-talk can increase your lonely feelings and convince you that you really are alone. Keep the self-talk as positive as possible and show yourself some love.
If You are Dealing with Depression
If you believe you may be struggling with depression, it is critical to seek help as soon as possible. Depression can take a devastating turn for the worse if left untreated. If you need help with feelings of depression, reach out to us today. We are here to help you begin your path to healing.
Keywords: loneliness, depression, how to deal with isolation depression, dealing with depression and anxiety alone, why do I feel sad when I am alone