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I've been having an up and down few months, with med changes and a pdoc change, and my mood has been pretty depressed. It's not the worst I've ever been, but I'm not well.

I tend to isolate when I feel depressed, because I'm so irritable and hard to be around. I haven't even been logging in here. I just feel guilty for spewing my negativity everywhere, even though I try to stay as positive as possible. Doesn't help that communicating is hard for me when I feel depressed.

On the other hand, I feel bad for essentially jetting out with no forwarding. I can't decide if it's worse to disappear with the flimsy excuse that I "feel bad," or to hang around struggling not to pollute the airspace, heh.

I isolate for other reasons, too. When I'm depressed it's easy for me to become overwhelmed and blow my circuits, so I simplify as much as possible. But I'm wondering whether there are others who isolate out of guilt, as well. How do you gauge for yourselves when it's okay to complain and when it's not? Is it ever okay to just set things down and say "f*ck it, I'm not up to this."?

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I isolate a lot when I am depressed, and I do it for the same reasons as you do.  Sometimes I feel like I am a drain to those around me or that it takes too much effort to avoid spewing my hopeless negativity everywhere.

 

It is definitely okay to admit that you aren't feeling up to interacting with others.  Putting on a happy face for people when you don't feel well can be really draining.

 

At the same time, the people in your life who really care about you probably won't mind listening to you complain.  It feels good to be able to support friends and family when they are struggling.  To isolate completely from the people who care about you is to deny them the opportunity to be there for you and to feel good about helping you.

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I prefer to be myself, I'm  an introvert. But I also am very anxious in crowds or with strangers.  I have been more willing to go out since we moved to SLC, but my headaches have prevented that. 

 

My best friend lives here, and she is like a shield, I feel comfortable going out with her. She's also BP, and has epilepsy (saltcrazed, for the very few of you who have read my blog), although her episodes are very different than mine.  But she is it, we're going to work on a larger circle of friends.

 

We only had two or three friends at any time in San Jose, we just are not very social. I told someone that we were two hermits that managed to meet and get married.

 

It will be interesting to see how much success the three of us have with this project

 

Anyway, for me, I am pretty sure it is good old GAD, because it remains pretty much static, whatever the BP is doing, good or bad.

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I just seem like I need a lot of down time / alone time, even when I'm not depressed.  I don't know if that's because I started totally isolating myself during my first bad depressive episodes and just got used to it, or if I've learned enough about my illness to know that I need a lot of time on my own.

 

I figure if I'm going to work every day and keeping a roof over my head, then I'm keeping it together pretty well.  Social interaction on top of what I have to do at work is a bonus, in my book. 

 

I used to feel guilty or like some kind of loser, but then I decided I would be better off being kind to myself instead of saying mean things in my head all the time.  So now I cut myself some slack and realize that the time on my own that I need to survive may not be what others consider normal, and I can't change how others feel about that.

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I just seem like I need a lot of down time / alone time, even when I'm not depressed.  I don't know if that's because I started totally isolating myself during my first bad depressive episodes and just got used to it, or if I've learned enough about my illness to know that I need a lot of time on my own.

 

I figure if I'm going to work every day and keeping a roof over my head, then I'm keeping it together pretty well.  Social interaction on top of what I have to do at work is a bonus, in my book. 

 

I used to feel guilty or like some kind of loser, but then I decided I would be better off being kind to myself instead of saying mean things in my head all the time.  So now I cut myself some slack and realize that the time on my own that I need to survive may not be what others consider normal, and I can't change how others feel about that.

I relate strongly to all this.

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How do you gauge for yourselves when it's okay to complain and when it's not? Is it ever okay to just set things down and say "f*ck it, I'm not up to this."?

 

I need a lot more time alone when I feel depressed. I'm like you, I get overwhelmed and exhausted pretty fast if I don't.

 

For me, the line between "okay" and "not okay" complaining depends on who I'm talking to and where the conversaiton is headed. If a friend asks me how I'm doing, or invites me out to do something when I feel like crap, I tell them that I'm not good company or I'm not up to it. I don't go into detail unless they ask, but I try not to feel bad for saying "I can't handle that right now."  I try to remind myself that depression is legitimate, I don't have to explain or justify it, and my friends are my friends because they wouldn't ask me to justify it anyway.

 

I have a couple friends that I can call and ask if it's okay just to talk to them or get a little support. Like Lifequake said, they don't mind if I ask for a shoulder now and then, because I would do the same if they needed me to. But they also know that if they have something going on and can't be there, they can tell me that. Being around someone who's depressed is pretty draining, so I feel like it's important that they know I respect their boundaries.

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I'm an introvert too and when I'm depressed I don't have the energy to spend a lot of time around people, particularly big groups. I also prefer to be by myself if I'm crying or if I'm so irritable I end up snapping at people for nothing. And my concentration can get screwed up sometimes to the point where I can barely follow a conversation. I don't want to talk to someone if I can't listen properly or I'm going to say something horrible or I'm just looking very very sad and leaking tears.

That said, I have made a rule for myself of two proper social interactions per day (like a longish phonecall or having a cup of tea with someone). Otherwise I feel unbearably alone and depression gets worse because I really do need support from people. I do have a tendency to isolate anyway though.

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"That said, I have made a rule for myself of two proper social interactions per day (like a longish phonecall or having a cup of tea with someone). Otherwise I feel unbearably alone and depression gets worse because I really do need support from people. I do have a tendency to isolate anyway though."

 

Wow, you are a lot better than I am. It would be surprising if I did that daily when I am feeling well.

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I'm an introvert, but I've definitely noticed that I require an individualized, sufficient amount of social interaction to keep myself from depression. The amount is less than what a lot of people get/like and it's maybe not as often, but I still need it. I've recently had to push myself quite a bit, even if it's just going downstairs and interacting for 30 minutes in the evening. 

 

Worsening isolation has become a warning sign for me.

All "introverts" are different, though. 

 

To answer your question more directly, it's my opinion that it's worse for people with depression to isolate, even if they are introverted. It is comfortable to isolate but it's usually not practical. Ground is laid and maintained for the depression to thrive and possibly worsen. It's also harder to adjust back if/when you need to. 

 

Edit: typo

Edited by brokenchina
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Thanks for the feedback and opinions. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.

I also appreciate the reminder that the people in my life don't always think of my illness in terms of their discomfort. I have trouble with the idea that I'm only liked or wanted around when I'm useful or helpful, and when I'm depressed I'm not even civil sometimes, though I try hard not to take it out on people.

This is one of those areas where I have trouble. I have social phobia, and I struggle with paranoia that people will ditch or hurt me if I'm no longer interesting or pleasant. I'm working on it, but the lines of social imposition are unclear to me at the best of times. I'm not socially crippled, I'm nonexistent, haha.

I do get out of the house when I can, though, even if it's just to the store or something like that.

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There is nothing wrong with 'alone time'. 

 

This coming from someone who is probably an extrovert... I don't have classical introversion and tend more towards classical extroversion.  In groups or even in public, I am a gregarious "people person" and have few issues with public speaking and performing work in groups.

 

However, I also prefer to live alone.  I get very stressed when my daily home life involves working with the needs of others.  I'm perfectly fine working with/around others in public and in groups, though.  Therefore, this extrovert participates in a lot of alone time.  Okay, maybe I should say I'm an 'ambivert' for lack of a better term.

 

I think what you're doing is right, regardless of whether you (or others) believe you to be an introvert or not.  Having a cup of tea/going out shopping are both classical extrovert behaviors, providing you socialize with others in the process.  At least where I live, it's acceptable to strike up a conversation (often at random) about almost anything if you happen to be standing next to him/her (note that I don't recommend this in most parts of the world, however!).

 

And by the way, you're also here on CrazyBoards, where introverts get to extrovert (or something like that).  Social networking and forums are probably changing how we interact and you may be more ambiverted than you think.

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I isolate too much. I stay in bed all day and do not go out much at all during the week.

I didn't used to be this way. But here I am now stuck like this.

I dont know what to say. I think it is better for me to isolate but you sound like a good person who deserves chances to get out and get better by not isolating.

Edited by Wonderful.Cheese
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I think it is better for me to isolate but you sound like a good person who deserves chances to get out and get better by not isolating.

This troubles me a bit. Thanks for the support--I appreciate the kindness--but I think you also deserve the chance to get out and find things that help you. You've been dealing with a lot of shit, and I hope you don't give up.

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I isolate/hermit when i am depressed, too. I feel like it won't be fun to be around me and that I'll be a downer. But, in recent years (at the prodding of my tdoc and pdoc) I try to reach out when i am feeling down. I'll spend some one on one time with a close friend or try to get out of the house with my bf (or friend) for a little bit-even if it's just to run to the store. Otherwise I end up feeling worse. It takes a lot of energy to socialize when i feel down but it usually helps me feel better for a little while. I will talk about how I'm feeling but also try to focus on what's going on with others to get out of my head-even if it's only for 30 minutes. My brain is a bad neighborhood, as my tdoc likes to remind me frequently (especially when i feel anxious or depressed). So, i try to spend a little time outside of it when I am feeling down.

By no means is this easy! I communicate to my close friends/bf that i need their support & explain that i am depressed & want to be alone but need to intereact at least a little to get out of myself. They've learned my warning signs & check in on me, for which i am extremely grateful. It's a big struggle for me but i remind myself that I tend to feel somewhat better after coming out of my hermitland-even if it's short-lived.

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I didn't realize I was doing this isolating behaviour until my parents pointed it out and I thought about why and it is for the same reason. I don't want to spew my negativity on the ones that I love. But I guess it is more painful to them to have me just not talking to them. Interaction IS a helpful thing to have when your depressed. Isolating is not healthy even when it is difficult to break through and make a connection.

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I isolate too much. I stay in bed all day and do not go out much at all during the week.

I didn't used to be this way. But here I am now stuck like this.

I dont know what to say. I think it is better for me to isolate but you sound like a good person who deserves chances to get out and get better by not isolating.

Wonderful.Cheese, have you called your pdoc? Like I talked about? If you don't believe yourself, will you believe me and other CBs members?

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