Isolation and Depression

Depressed white man sitting on sidewalk wearing white hoodie

Some of us never felt isolated prior to the pandemic while many of us became even more isolated during this time. Either way, isolation is a breeding ground for mental illness. Three ways of dealing with isolation and depression include going outside, socializing and exercising. While it may seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many people avoid taking advantage of being outdoors, socializing more in person or exercising to improve their physical and mental health.

Isolation and Depression: The Solution

Start off by spending more time outdoors. When people are depressed, they tend to isolate in their home and lose interest in the outside world. This is exactly what the illness wants you to do, but there is nothing good about it. To counteract this urge to isolate and become even more depressed, force yourself to spend time outdoors. Something as simple as going for a walk in your neighborhood or park can help you feel better. Sure, there’s nothing exciting about walking, but seeing people and breathing fresh air can help.

Secondly, force yourself to exercise, even if it’s walking. Exercise is great for mental health and can make you feel awesome when those endorphines are released. A boost in confidence provided by exercising is exactly what you need when feeling depressed. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You don’t have to lift heavy weights or get a Peloton bike. Maybe try jogging or if you already belong to a gym, hop on those machines and exercise with very light weights. There is something magical about exercising. It’s definitely a natural remedy for poor mental health.

Lastly, you have to talk to people. Depressed people who isolate are at increased risk for suicide than depressed people who still socialize and engage with others. Isolation is a breeding ground for depression because a lack of people promotes negative thought cycles. Isolation can cause thoughts such as, “no one likes me anyway,” “even if I kill myself, no one would care; they probably wouldn’t even notice.” So keep in touch with your friends and family and tell them how you’re feeling. They may be the reason you end up receiving the professional care you deserve.

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Are You In Isolation?

Share Your Pain With The World

Are you in isolation but just not sharing it with the world? Do you feel like you have to hide your pain or mental illness out of fear of ridicule and embarrassment? Do you feel like you’re spiraling into a black hole with no one there to save you? If yes to any of these questions, then you are not alone. Many people all around the world feel isolated despite having friends, colleagues, coworkers, family members or acquaintances to interact with. Isolation can mean many different things to each individual, but we all experience it at some point or another.

I’m sure you already know that isolation is worse than the potential embarrassment that you may experience by sharing your pain or mental illness with the world. What’s the worst that can happen with embarrassment, if it even does happen? You’ll start caring what other people think about you, like it even matters? But what’s the worst that can happen with isolation? Suicide.

When people are depressed and isolated, it becomes much easier for them to act on their suicidal thoughts; they have no distractions at hand. Depressingly enough, the thought of ending their life becomes their distraction, as a means of escaping their misery and torture. You may not really be as depressed as you think you are, but if you continue isolating yourself, the depression that you are experiencing can begin to spiral out of control.

So rather than isolating yourself, find someone who you are comfortable with and share your pain, frustration or mental illness. And if you don’t have anyone to share it with, then seek a psychiatrist, psychologist and/or therapist. Never go through your problems on your own! We are in this together.

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Depressed Out Of Your Mind

Reeking Of Depression

Imagine feeling so depressed that you cannot even express any other emotion; your face looks blank and dysphoric. Your voice becomes monotone and slow as if stolen by an evil spirit. You appear disheveled as if you haven’t showered in over a week and perhaps you also carry a little body odor. Your thoughts are jumbled and you can’t think clearly because you are consumed by depression; the dominant thought in your mind tends to revolve around a way of how to commit suicide.

Imagine no way out of your misery; depression has chained you into a corner of your home and you can barely extend yourself to the bathroom to take care of yourself. Occasionally, depression will release you of its leash and allow you into the kitchen like a starving dog that is salivating for a T-bone. But you’re not salivating; in fact, you’re spilling tears on the way to the kitchen.

When you arrive to open the fridge you notice that there’s barely any food; you haven’t done groceries in over two weeks. There’s some milk, a few pieces of bread and some salami. You grab hold of the honey-flavored peanuts and munch down as the tears fall down your cheeks; you cannot believe that life has dragged you this low.

After ten minutes of swallowing down your dinner, you head back to your corner because depression has called your name once again. As you slowly make your way back, you see depression standing in the corner: it is about seven feet tall, has an evil smirk on its face and is holding a Rottweiler-sized leash that is ready for your neck. You innocently sit down as it shoves you into the corner and lets loose a loud evil laugh, “Mwahahaha. You’re mine forever!”

As you spend your days in the corner rotting away, you hear your cell phone in the other room ringing continuously; family and friends must be leaving voicemails left and right. You find an occasion in the afternoon to check your messages while depression is fast asleep: you notice frantic and worrying texts and voicemails from loved ones, but you don’t bother returning any calls. For a split second, the thought of drinking alcohol excites you and so you go grab the leftover bottle of liquor from over two months ago.

As you walk back into the living room with the bottle in your hand, you immediately notice depression standing on the other side with its hands on its waste. It then informs you, “I approve. I can use some too. Let’s get to work.” As you feel relieved that depression has approved your drinking, you start downing the bottle because it helps to take away the pain; at least in the moment.

Until one of three things happen: you die of alcohol poisoning in the corner by yourself, you end up in the hospital or you continue living through your misery with no end in sight. This is the life of many depressed patients.

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Drugs Love Suicide

Hooked On Pleasure

Ever since the coronavirus swept the world off its feet, the mention of the opioid crisis vanished. Even before that, the alcohol crisis and nicotine crisis were still at play but no one ever spoke of them except the families affected by the victims. The point is that the drug culture has not gone away and may never go away; humans are too susceptible to developing a drug addiction.

But it’s not only the drugs themselves that pose a great danger to humanity; it’s the mental illness that lives in the shadows, waiting to infect the next person in line. Since mental illness has no boundaries, everyone is at risk, but those who abuse drugs are at a greater risk of experiencing a mental illness. The problem with mental illness and drug use is that there is no guarantee that the mental illness will go away or not reoccur after one stops using drugs.

Think of a drug as a double-edged sword: one side feels amazingly good while the other penetrates your mind too deeply, inflicting potential long-term wounds. In reality, the entire sword inflicts a wound because what is interpreted by the user as “feeling good while high,” is actually a process of planting seeds for a mental illness; the only difference is that this process is quite often painless in the moment, only to become excruciating in the near future.

One thing is for sure: drugs love suicide. There is no drug that is good for you and marijuana is not an exception. Anything that alters the mind also opens it up to the possibility of encountering a mental illness on any given day; “You have finally arrived” the drug states to the mental illness. The mental illness replies back, “I knew it was a matter of time. Thanks for taking care of business. You can go now . . . or stay . . . whichever.”

But the user is the one who doesn’t want to let go of the drugs, only empowering the mental illness in the first place. You get the picture? This is why drug addicts are prone to suicide; even if they want to escape their hellish addiction, they often become too powerless in the process. If it’s not by a great psychiatrist, luck or God’s saving grace to be freed, many end up overdosing or killing themselves.

We need to continue to raise awareness for drug addiction and not look down upon our fellow humans. We can all agree that we live in a sinful world torn by wars, viruses, hatred, division, mental illness and addiction. The last thing that we should be doing is pointing the fingers at others and stating, “You worthless piece of shit. You’re good for nothing!” This is never going to help us advance the human race.

We welcome all drug addicts and people with mental illness. This is The DSM Ready community.

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Embarrassed About Being Depressed

When Depression Eats You Alive

Many people continue to suffer from depression in silence; they have no one to talk to because no one will understand. That is their belief. They also tend to believe that being depressed equates to being weak and that people will look down upon them if they find out that they are feeling depressed. But the truth is that many people around the world are currently depressed; it’s not something to be ashamed of.

The psychology behind being ashamed about depression has to do with the ego or the persona that you present to the world. When you feel depressed, you don’t have your best mask on to present to the world; whatever is lacking on the inside tends to manifest on the out. So for people who care a lot about their image, it becomes overwhelming to share their depression, so they either hide it or kill themselves to escape their reality.

But that’s exactly what makes depression a difficult disorder to deal with; it does its best to kill you within by first isolating you from the rest of the world. It’s very difficult to be depressed and continue living your normal life at the same time; the two pictures are no longer congruent. On the outside, everything keeps moving forward while on the in, everything is slowed down as if you’re turning into a corpse.

When this happens, depressed people start to fall behind and self-isolate. They start to feel hopeless for the future and begin to entertain suicidal ideations; they see the darkness as no way out but by only ending their existence. And it’s much worse for people who are ashamed of their depression; they’re definitely not motivated to even admit that they’re depressed in the first place.

People who are ashamed of their depression will deny feeling depressed or minimize it at the very least, “I guess I feel sad but it’s no big deal! Can I go home now? Can I be discharged?” The dangerous thing about these depressed people is that they sometimes hide their symptoms very well, fooling many around them into believing that they are not going through anything out of the ordinary.

If you are suffering from depression, please don’t be embarrassed to share your experience with others. You are doing yourself a disservice if you continue to hide your symptoms in the shadows. You deserve the help and support that is available from psychiatrists and other mental health workers. Don’t torture yourself behind the curtains; pull them wide open and let the sun into your life!

Please share your stories of depression with The DSM Ready Community!

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Crack Stole My Leg

Depression And Drug Use

If you think depression and drug use don’t go hand in hand, think again. Depression seeks drugs and drugs feed off depression; they’re the best combination to keep you suffering and to lose hope for the future. Uncontrolled depression whispers in your mind to alleviate your suffering with drugs and drugs whisper back, “I’ll take care of the rest.” But when drugs and depression gain too much power, suicidal ideations begin to make an appearance.

Suicidal ideations in the context of drug use and depression is a very bad situation. The problem is worsened by a low socioeconomic status, poor family support and bad friendships. The problem is that patients in these situations do not see the light at the end of the tunnel; their minds are too clouded by mental illness and substance addiction.

Many of these patients do not use soft drugs such as marijuana or psychedelics. When you are facing homelessness, unemployment and a past psychiatric history of depression or schizophrenia, soft drugs have no place on one’s plate. Drugs such as crack-cocaine and heroin better fit the picture.

The problem is when hard drugs are used on top of psychiatric symptoms such as depression, suicidal ideations or auditory hallucinations, judgment, impulse and insight become impaired. When these mental processes become impaired, so does one’s view on suicidal ideations.

Suicidal ideations unfortunately become the only sparkling light at the end of the tunnel. And sometimes this sparkling light is intensified by the track gleaming lights of passing trains. Patients in these severely depressed and addicted mindsets see an opportunity to end their living nightmares by jumping in front of a train.

And jumping is what they sometimes do . . . some survive while some lose their leg. This is never the solution but when living under such cloudy and foggy mental conditions, your decision-making becomes greatly impaired. That’s why it’s so important that we advocate for mental health and substance abuse support worldwide; these people depend on us and are thankful for our desire to help them once again live a life full of happiness and love!

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Suicide Attempts In Immigrants

Foreign, Gay And Suicidal

Many immigrants who come to the United States with the hope of starting a better life become prone to developing depression for many reasons. Each individual carries different risk factors, such as gender, sexual orientation, financial status, social status and past psychiatric history. Suicide attempts in immigrants are not unusual; a different country provides different stressors.

When immigrants come to the United States with big expectations and fail to achieve their dreams and goals, depression starts to kick in. Not only have they left their family back in their home country, but they are now facing excessive worry about achieving a career while paying the bills, especially if their goal is unrealistic.

An example is a young gay male in his 20s who immigrates from Chile to Manhattan to become a famous actor. He attends acting school in Manhattan, makes friends who are also interested in acting and crosses his fingers with the hope of landing a paid acting gig. A few weeks pass by after graduation . . . a few months . . . he is still not paid and is working for Uber to get by.

On the other hand, he feels relieved that NYC is open to homosexuality and finds great pleasure in being open about his sexuality and going on dates; he even finds himself in a relationship with another young man. But a few months later, his partner from the West Village breaks up with him, leaving him to feel devastated and empty.

Not only is he an immigrant, but his gay partner has left him and he still has not succeeded in obtaining a paid gig in acting. So he starts consuming more alcohol in order to cope with the depression; he never used to drink much alcohol. After he realizes that the alcohol does not work, he takes an overdose of the antidepressant that he was prescribed by his psychiatrist and brings himself into the emergency room.

This time he was lucky and got out alive. This is an example of how depression and suicidal ideations can creep up on an immigrant who innocently came to the United States for a better life. Depression has no borders; you may be rich or poor, living in Mexico City or a penthouse in Manhattan and still have thoughts of wanting to kill yourself.

This is how serious mental illness is.

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Superficial Cuts

Borderline Personality Disorder

Self-injurious behavior is exactly what it sounds like: a person self-inflicts physical pain in order to manage their emotional pain or mental illness at play. Patients with borderline personality disorder are classic examples of people who perform self-injurious behavior, especially cutting of the body. Superficial cuts often begin early in life, such as in childhood or adolescence, and tend to increase in frequency as the disorder worsens.

When you ask a patient with borderline personality disorder why they perform these behaviors, they will tell you either one of two things: “to get rid of my pain” or “because I was trying to kill myself.” This kind of behavior is more common in females, but not unheard of in males. Females tend to suffer from depression more than males do because of estrogen, so self-inflicting behavior naturally is more common in females.

So why do borderline patients hurt themselves? Because their emotional wellbeing and state of mind are unpredictable; they lie on the “border” of psychosis and neurosis. Rather than being stable like people who don’t have the disorder, when something goes wrong, such as a relationship with a friend, family member or significant other, they lose their cool and start acting out.

And one of the ways in which they act out is by cutting themselves. Many times, they do this as a form of attention. Not only do they feel better about themselves when they cut their skin, but they know that the other person might come running back to them. And if they don’t come back, well . . . the pain was relieved by the blade.

Oftentimes, this kind of behavior gets them in the hospital. When they arrive in the emergency room, they either maintain their stance of being suicidal in order to be admitted and receive more attention, or they realize that their behavior was wrong and deny being suicidal, requesting to be discharged in the process.

Whenever you meet someone who presents with superficial cuts on their forearms or neck, keep in mind the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder; especially if they are female.

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Jumping Off The Bridge

When Depression Blows Up In Your Face

Imagine suffering from depression since your adolescent years but never talking about it with anyone. Your culture considers mental illness to be a taboo and you view psychiatric medications as something that only “crazy people” take. So all that you’re left with is depressive feelings haunting you every day of your life, until you feel like jumping off the bridge.

This is how many people feel every day, especially those who don’t seek treatment. Some people do seek behavioral counseling but counseling is not always enough; as a matter of fact, it almost never is. The evidence in the literature demonstrates that both medications and therapy is the best treatment for depression; not one or the other.

The scary thing about depression is that you may have been suffering from it for years and believe that you have it under control, until it randomly blows up in your face. Depression can be like COVID-19: it can unexpectedly strike at anytime. One day you may be sad like you typically are and the next you are getting drunk and walking towards a bridge with the intention of jumping off.

Depression is not an illness to take lightly. It has the power to end your life whenever it feels like it. You may think that you have your depression under control, until it decides on a random day to try to kill you. Because you are already mentally weak from the illness, when it does decide to kill you, you may not have enough strength to stop it. That’s how many end up committing suicide and people wonder why they never saw it coming.

If you are experiencing depression, no matter how mild or severe, you need to seek treatment immediately! Do not wait until you end up in a CPEP to start seeking treatment. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Just like the coronavirus is infecting people all around the world, the same applies with depression.

Take your mental health seriously.

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Living In A Suicide Forest

Suicide Squad To The Rescue

When some people suffer from chronic, passive suicidal ideations, their lenses have become so dirty from the forest that they have been living in, that they can no longer properly see what lies ahead. They venture deeper into the forest with not many options, but only to blindly traverse the path of unknown destination. Living in a suicide forest is like jumping in a zoo exhibit of hungry lions slowly approaching you for their next meal.

No one in their right mind requests to visit a suicide forest. These forests grow all around us; you don’t have to go searching far. The problem with these forests is that once you enter them, it becomes very difficult to come back out alive. As soon as you cross the imaginary perimeter surrounding a suicide forest, you are drawn in like a black hole.

What usually drives one into a suicide forest? Typically, it’s major depressive disorder or substance abuse that draw people near the imaginary line. These mental illnesses are so powerful that if you lose your grip on them, it’s almost inevitable that you won’t end up staring at death trees all around you.

How does it feel to traverse a suicide forest? No one can really tell you, unless they have been there and have come back out alive. But once in these forests, people tend to see no way out of their depression; no matter how positive they try to be, they just can’t see the light anymore. Suicide forests receive little light from the sun; they remain dark most of the day.

Even when light from the sun makes it through, people tend to remain in their rut and seem to struggle with experiencing happiness. Eventually, only one destination manifests in their minds: committing suicide. They realize that they have no chance of getting out of the suicide forest by themselves, so they prefer to just end everything right there and then.

But that’s where we come in; the suicide squad! Everyone in the world can join this free squad. It just requires patience, will and the determination to help those in need who have been stuck in suicide forests for days, months, years or even decades. Saving depressed people does not require us to actually enter suicide forests.

The nice feature about suicide forests is that when we talk from their imaginary line making up their borders, our words resonate throughout the entire forest, making it easy for the victims to hear us. In other words, they can be miles away and still hear us clearly. But this does not mean that it’s an easy task to get them out of there. But at least we can try.

This is the suicide squad. Are you ready to join and help over 200 million people worldwide who are suffering from depression and stuck in suicide forests?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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