In January, I ended up in the hospital for my depression. My experience there changed a lot of things for me. One of the really important realizations it led to: isolation is probably my biggest trigger for depression. A couple of things happened that let me see this. First, my doctor told me he didn’t want me to be alone. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Second, the social worker held a “family meeting” for me, where my loved ones and I discussed what I needed to be okay after I got out. We planned for me to spend alternating weeks with my partner and my sister’s family. It wasn’t until I had to spend a week alone that I realized what a difference this was making. My depression started coming back immediately; I didn’t have any motivation to get out of bed. I remembered what the doctor had said. Maybe there was something to not being alone.
Since that time, experience has reinforced that isolating myself is indeed my worst trigger. The support of my partner and my family members is vital. I’m employed again and living on my own again, but I make it a point to spend as much time as I can with my supporters, even – or especially – when I don’t feel like it.
Check out this article by Good Therapy to learn more about emotional and social isolation.