A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.
Through my ups and downs I have developed a coping mechanism which I revert to when I am under pressure, feel stressed or depressed.
I isolate myself.
No calls, texts or emails- I completely remove myself from society whilst I feel less than my usual self.
This has definitely helped me survive the tough situations I have faced but I wonder equally how much it’s damaged me and how much I could have benefited from more social interaction at my lowest points?
Social isolation can be very dangerous and it is a classic symptom of low self esteem / depression.
By withdrawing from friends and loved ones you are effectively wallowing in your negativity and making no effort to resolve it. I’ve done this countless times – it feels indulgent to be so totally selfish but it’s futile.
The fact is, social isolation can affect your health – it can delay wound repair, impair sleep and make you find everyday events more stressful than those who do not isolate. (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/pbm/summary/v046/46.3xcacioppo.html)
So far from “making you feel better” social isolation is like wanting to lose weight but eating more cake – you know you shouldn’t but you can’t seem to help yourself.
By contrast, letting people in, sharing your thoughts and feelings, allowing yourself to be “vulernable” can really help to elevate mood and improve your outlook.
It takes courage to ask for help or to admit you’re finding things tough but if you do – you will be taking a step in the right direction and the rewards far outweigh the fear.
Next time you find yourself wanting to be alone- or if you know someone who seems to “disappear” when they are low remember that isolation is fuel to the fire.
Share a call, share a drink, share a hug – but just get out there and be social.