Sunday, June 10, 2018

ISOLATION MAKES ME ANXIOUS


Extended periods of isolation make me more susceptible to depression

Since freshman year of high school, I have gone in and out of phases of depression and anxiety. I have a hunch those phases, that lasted roughly three to four months, were triggered by traumatic stressful events and being too isolated. As a high school student, I was mostly timid which resulted in being less involved in social settings. I believe that for this fact I was more susceptible to depression. 

Every three to four months throughout the last six years, I have switched back and forth from what I call a shitty mood to a fantastic mood. A shitty mood is where I feel lost, quiet, fuzzy, unable to think, sad, and numb. When I am in a shitty mood I don't want to get together with friends, do things I enjoy, exercise, eat right, or go to public places like the store. A fantastic mood is where I feel content, motivated, inspired, friendly, upbeat, and emotional. When I am in a fantastic mood I want to do the things I love, be around people I like, go exploring, spend time dancing and exercising, studying and living. Normally, I switch back and forth between these moods every three to four months.

At the moment I am in a FANTASTIC MOOD. I've been feeling fantastic for half a year now. That's two more happy months than my average period of happy. Six months is a huge deal to me. That is one of the longest times I have been in a fantastic mood in the last six years. 

SO WHAT HAS HELPED ME EXTEND MY HAPPY PERIOD? 

Being honest about my emotions* and being social**. I believe these two things are hugely helping my mind stay in a content state.

*implies: I am more willing to talk about my mental health with people I trust and being able to tell them I don't feel emotionally well when the times come around.

** means: trying to be around people who make me feel alive. Getting involved in a community that is supportive at college. Spending time outside of classes with others and keeping in touch with long-distance friends. 


Little periods of healthy alone time are dainty until I start thinking too much of it 

Allowing myself one or two days of uninterrupted alone time in which I am actively hanging out with myself is what I consider healthy alone time. Waking up to make breakfast then writing at a coffee shop while doing some people watching and course going to workout later in the afternoon and getting cozied up in blankets later in the evening is what a typical day with myself looks like. This is my favorite way to spend time with myself. I take a couple days out of the month to do that. And every day I try to do smaller things with myself like thinking, listening to music, writing, and dancing.

However, becuase I understand alone time makes me more susceptible to depression and anxiety my mind quietly worries about alone time. Am I spending too much time alone? After spending the majority of my time around people I overthink spending more than a couple of days alone. These thoughts are what ruin time alone. After a few thoughts come to my mind I can't help but keep thinking.

Late nights and long afternoons are a devil when it comes to healthy alone time. I am the least healthy when I let my mind think too much. Here is to all the people who deal with crappy thoughts after a certain time in the day. When I start thinking about the future or start dwelling on past situations I create anxiety for myself. I find it's best to wrap up alone time when it gets darkly emotional. 

The more time I spend alone the less able I feel I will be to interact with others (I get in my head)

ISOLATION MAKES ME ANXIOUS. One of the most difficult struggles I face when I am depressed and anxious is that I find it more difficult to have simple conversations with people. It's as if my shitty mood person forgets how to interact with people becuase I spent months avoiding any and all human contact. For this reason being alone for too long makes me worry I will forget how to interact with humans which makes me think my shitty mood will come back. THIS THOUGHT CREATES ANXIETY. 

Nevertheless, as soon as I start talking to others I realize I am not "broken" and can still function normally. Health alone time will become a long period of isolation if I am not aware. I am hoping that everything with my mental health keeps running smoothly. I am, of course, keeping in mind that isolation, honesty and a little alone time is working for me.

19 comments:

  1. First of all, I'd just like to say how PROUD AND HAPPY I am for you, Vanessa. <3 I love how you are able to talk and be honest about your mental health. So many people are unable to do so and I think this post is super inspiring to those who are trying to speak up about it.

    As an introvert, I value my alone time. I love being alone, I love doing things alone. But after reading this post, I realized that sometimes I think I give myself TOO much alone time. The thing is, socializing gives me anxiety. Being around a bunch of people makes me anxious. Talking scares me. Thinking about it scares me. Sometimes I avoid doing those things by staying at home. However, over the winter, I realized that I was getting depressed more often. I think it was being cooped up inside 25/8 and then isolating myself even more because I felt like I needed it. But I've slowly realized that even though I am an introvert, I need to balance myself out. I need to go out and do things in order me to savor my moments alone. I think this post REALLY made me realize that so thank you. <3 And thank you for sharing this. It made me comfortable to speak up about my own mental health and I hope others will feel the same way. :)

    I hope you are having a lovely day, dear. <3 YOU ARE AMAZING.

    xx Kenzie

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    1. YOU ARE TOO SWEET! As someone who wishes people were more open about mental health, I have to be the example.

      I am tearing up knowing that you are able to share all this with me as well as come to new conclusions about your mental health. FOR THIS REASON I SHARE! <3 I got just as nervous when it came to talking around people when I wasn't in a good mood but I know that the more you do it the better off you are. Practice makes perfect! The more you pay attention to your mental health the easier it is to understand yourself. (:

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  2. wow.
    so vulnerable and deep and authentic and raw.
    thank you for sharing.
    you're so brave <3

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed this post! Thank you!! <3

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  3. So basically V has taken it upon herself to become my life coach and with every post she either writes about something I've experienced, something I'm currently experiencing, or something I want to do. LIKE WHAT EVEN THIS IS KIND OF AMAZING.

    THIS POST THO. THIS. Like my entire year so far makes so much more sense to me! Why I've been feeling depressed and why I haven't, and like WOAH. I JUST. WOW.

    Thank you SOO much for posting this, you really can't imagine how much it does for me. Wow totally bookmarking this
    <3 <3

    -esther

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    1. AHHH THAT IS SUCH A HIGH COMPLIMENT. <3 Thank you, thank you! I was thinking about the people I am able to impact through my life as I was reading this comment. It makes me so happy to know that you can learn about yourself through what I have gone through. Thank you lovely!! You have no idea how much this all means to me.

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    2. You are forever welcome, and thank YOU <333

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    3. TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO LOVE WHAT I HAVE TO SAY IS A BLESSING <3

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  4. I really like the way you worded this article. And, tbh, I think night time is a struggle for many. For me I can ether be dead or alive at night. Often I am. :( when I'm alone. Only recently have I been trying to open out even more to those around me. Like, I have finally got back into the running community, just in a different way than previously. Running with others is enjoyable. :). But I can 100% relate to isolation. It drives me crazy! Good article.

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    1. Thank you! I love that you used the word article. Makes me feel more official and web site based rather than blog! :) Opening up is hard but it helps so much! I am glad you have running on your side. Most people don't. :P

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  5. Thanks for being so honest! I like when other people are willing to write about the tough stuff. Makes me feel less alone. Isolation definitely doesn't help my anxiety.

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    1. GLADLY! I believe that when you know others go through what you deal with too it makes it easier.

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  6. So proud of you. This makes my heart swell. All the love for you <33

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  7. i love your writing always

    -sheene

    theoreticalgrrl.blogspot.com

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  8. Wow. Can I just say, I agree to this so much? It's summer time, and due to a lot of unfortunate timing, much of it has resorted to being stuck at home, although I know for a fact that being alone for extended periods of time just makes me want to retreat from the rest of the world definitively. Thank you being so honest about this.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | Ups & Downs (but now at Story-Eyed!)

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    1. YOU CAN FOR SURE SAY THAT! I hope you find it in yourself to go out of the house and spend time in the sunshine. Even if it's a walk or sitting on your deck on your own. Although, I dislike the sun I will admit it makes me feel better when I get some of it in my body. It's so easy to stay where you are comfy.

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  9. Thanks for opening yourself up to us and being so vulnerable and raw! Love your style of writing and as always, such an insightful post. xoxo
    peridotcove.blogspot.com

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