Bipolar Depression: Why Do I Keep Isolating Myself?

    When bipolar depression plants isolating thoughts in your head, it’s important to STOP listening and do what’s important to you.

    I am so tired of not learning from my mistakes. I am tired of getting sick and doing the same thing over and over again. I am tired of this illness and I want to change. 

    I reached this place many years ago and maybe you did as well. And yet, I sill get caught out by bipolar disorder and do the dumbest things I know are not in my best interest, such as isolating  and working too much instead of being with people.

    Please note that I often talk of depression as though it is a person or a “thing.”  This helps me separate myself from the illness. Bipolar, as you well know, doesn’t show up as a big bump on our heads. If we are not careful, the symptoms will feel like US and we will listen to them and act on them as if they are real. It helps me to see my bipolar depression as a separate entity.

    This ‘thing’ regularly tells me to do something that is not good for me. Such as going out by myself to work on a Friday night instead of saying, “hi” to friends at a dinner party. I make the dumbest decisions sometimes.

    I then arrive to my lonely workspace and think, Everyone is having more fun than me! What! I just said no to seeing my friends. I said no to company. I chose to be here and now I am feeling lonely?

    This is an example of what happens when I listen to depression instead of doing what I know works for me.

    When I listen to the words and feelings of depression, I am never happy with the outcome. Depression never makes good decisions.

    I want us all to work together to STOP listening to the isolating and separating voice of depression.  To do this, we need to have a plan in place that allows us to make better decisions when the depression “thing” is thinking for us.  Here is what I’m teaching myself these days:

    1. I need a written list of situations that often happen when I’m depressed, so that I know what to avoid. For example: A friend calls and instead of answering, I hit the end button and then feel terrible.  I hear that people I know are meeting for drinks and I am invited, but I feel that I should be doing something else or it feels like too much work, so I don’t show up. I don’t reach out to others and assume they are having more fun than I am and there is no way they would be free at the last minute. And most importantly, I don’t plan ahead to have plans at night when I am depressed and end up staying alone in my room.

    If you’re familiar with my work, do you assume my life is different than yours? Is it possible you think that I am out and about and have a ton of friends who are always by my side? Because that is what my depressed brain says about you! Oh, they are better off than I am! They don’t isolate like I do! They don’t say NO when they really need to say yes!  I call bipolar disorder the equal opportunity destroyer. No matter who we are, our depression will make us isolate. No matter how many people love us, it will teach us to crawl into a corner like an injured animal.

    Let’s learn from each other and do something about this terrible symptom of depression isolation!

    It’s a nasty monster that takes us away from people and we all need people.

    I am going to memorize the situations that make me unhappy when I am depressed, learn from my past mistakes, and make changes. I have learned to change in other ways, I can learn to do this as well. I would like to add something here that might help someone in need. I have a head injury from a biking accident in 2012 and this head injury increased my isolation behavior terribly. If you have had a concussion, please get help as it can exacerbate our depression symptoms.

    We are a team. If you are depressed right now and isolating, call someone.


    This content was originally published here.