The Correlation Between Social Isolation and Mental Illness
Mental illness is a hard condition to deal with. If you do not have the correct support system behind you the results can be unimaginable. Recent studies have shown the direct correlation between social isolation and mental illness. Social interaction is a necessity of life. Now, I am not talking social interaction as being in a relationship with someone at all times, but interaction in general. This interaction could be going to the movies with a friend, talking to your cousin on the phone, or going to a restaurant with your mother.
Believe it or not, most people who are mentally ill try everything in their power to avoid social setting like the ones listed above. Think about it like this, let’s say you are having a bad day. You lost your job, your girlfriend dumped you, and your pet died. Yes, I know this is a bit extreme for just one day, but this is how extreme mental illness is. Think about how you felt when you were dumped, lost your job, or your pet died. I bet you did not feel great, maybe you even closed off from the world and laid in bed all day, refusing to talk to anyone. Well, this is how most people suffering from a mental illness feel. They would rather hide inside all day, than face social interactions.
Another reason social isolation and mental illness go hand in hand is the mental illness stigma. It is not socially acceptable to be sad or upset. What do people do right away when you are upset? They try to comfort you or cheer you up. Therefore a person suffering from depression, will try to hide their illness for fear of being labeled or people not wanting to hang out with them, because they are not happy all the time.
In fact, many people that suffer from mental illnesses say that the stigma associated with their illness is just as distressing as the symptoms of the mental illness itself. This stigma results in the people not only hiding from social interaction, but also prevents them from not receiving the treatment they need in order the get better.
Social isolation and mental illness also correlate, because social isolation is a side effect of suffering from a mental illness. Regardless if the person is suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia, in there head social interactions just cause more pain and distress than helping to make the situation better. They would rather be alone then deal with the anxiety of being social. Here is where the kicker comes in. These individuals suffering from mental illnesses are only pushing themselves further down the rabbit hole.
How does social isolation make this situation worse? Without social interaction you are left to deal with everything on your own. You cannot vent to anyone when you are upset. You cannot receive a hug when you feel sad. You do not have anyone to give their perspective on a situation. You are left alone, like an empty shell. Let me tell you, that empty shell feeling can tear you down fast. You do not even feel like a human being after awhile. That’s when it gets dangerous. Suicide is often seen as a way out of this horrible, meaningless life you are leading. Now this is not the truth, but try convincing an empty shell of that. This is why it is so important to have social interaction, especially if you are suffering from a mental illness. Find a few people to do things with, explore new activities even if it make you uncomfortable. Trying be the difference between life and death, so take control of your life and live the best one you can.