Don’t feed your mental illness: Depression thrives on isolation

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If there is one thing mental illness feeds on it’s the feeling of being completely alone in the world. It thrives when you think that no one could possibly understand, it’s festers when you think that nobody would even care if you were gone.

There’s a lot of ways to help relieve mental illnesses, I’ve talked about some of them before, taking medication, taking care of yourself in basic ways, but the most important thing is not to let yourself grow isolated. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones get cut off from the world. That’s when mental illness is its most dangerous.

I would know, I’ve been there. I was bullied, which forced me to cut ties, after a while I stopped reaching out to the people who still loved me. I let myself sink deep into a toxic kind isolation. I thought that the world would be better without me, because it felt like I was already starting to disappear while I was still breathing. I thought it would be a good thing if I went a step further…

I was deeply wrong, and luckily one day I scared myself enough that I reached out. Telling someone I was suicidal saved my life. Not being alone in my depression was a game changer, and the thing is, it always changes the game.

I told my mother, which seems like an easy solution as a teenager. As an adult or someone from a broken home, you might not feel like you have someone you can reach out to that would care. You’re wrong. Once I got my mental illness behind me I started talking about it, and when I did I was shocked at the amount of people that said “I wish I had known, I would have helped.” People I knew in passing said it. Friends that I hadn’t seen in years. Teachers. Neighbors. People I never would have thought about reaching out to would have gladly taken on me and my baggage if they only knew it was there.

It’s a powerful lesson, and it unfortunately doesn’t always get taught to the people who need it. I wish I had known then what I know now. Community and support changes everything about mental illness. I wish I had known that if I just kept asking for help I would have found it in more places than I could count.

I can’t go back in time to tell myself what I know now, but I can write this, to you, and hope that this lesson can be taught without lived experience. That people can learn this before they reach the breaking point.

So reach out, because misery may love company, but depression, depression despises it.

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