How Isolation Can Be Dangerous to Your Mental Health
Having a health condition can be isolating. This is particularly true for mental health conditions. You may feel like you don’t fit in or no one understands what you’re going through.
When experiencing these thoughts and feelings, it’s natural to want to separate yourself from others or push people away. However, this reaction is counterproductive to your journey to mental health improvement.
Humans are social creatures, and isolation can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and sadness that worsen mental health conditions. When your mental health declines, it can create or reinforce a desire to isolate yourself from others.
This creates a cycle of negative emotions, increased isolation, and worsened mental health. Therefore, breaking this cycle is essential to achieving success during treatment for your mental health condition.
Breaking the Cycle
The key to breaking the cycle of isolation and worsened mental health is surrounding yourself with people. No specific number or type of people exists because everyone has different needs.
What is important is the quality of the people you choose. Finding people who care about you and want to see you get better on your treatment journey is vital. When gathering your support system, two groups include family and friends and others experiencing similar conditions.
Family and Friends
When you think of support systems, family and friends might be the first groups of people that come to mind. They’re usually the people who know you best and have supported you the most in life.
Conversely, for some, a family can be a source of frustration when coping with a mental health condition, especially if they struggle to understand what you’re going through. As a result, you may feel inclined to push these people away when they try to get involved in helping you get treatment for your condition.
However, their participation in your treatment journey may significantly affect the outcome. Love, support, and acceptance are how family and friends can help pull you out of the darkness of isolation and into the light of healing.
Whether it’s telling you in words how much they care or showing it by helping with activities of daily living, it can have powerful effects on your mental state. Opening up to those you’re closest to can be scary, but the rewards can be well worth facing that fear.
Those With Similar Conditions
The support of family and friends can be a tremendous help on your journey toward mental wellness. It’s often the case that they will fix problems when you need them to listen. They might avoid discussing mental health conditions altogether out of discomfort or uncertainty about how to respond. This can be frustrating, but they can’t understand your situation if they haven’t experienced it.
In this case, seeking out others who understand your struggle with mental health can be beneficial. There’s no substitute for sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone going through the same thing.
Those dealing with similar conditions often understand this and know the value of listening and affirming feelings rather than trying to discover a solution. These interactions and the simple reassurance that you’re not alone can provide invaluable healing. Finding people with the same struggles is easier than ever with the accessibility of the internet and the variety of support groups that exist.
The Importance of Accountability
Isolation can also harm your mental health due to a lack of accountability. Humans are prone to error and don’t always make the best decisions, especially if they aren’t thinking clearly due to a mental health condition.
You may lack the insight to be aware of these errors. Without others in your life, you might never realize how much harm they are causing to you and others. Asking someone who you know to hold you accountable can be daunting. It can cause shame from feeling like you should be able to handle your problems alone. There’s vulnerability in admitting you need someone else’s help.
These are normal feelings, but taking this step forward can pay off in the long run. Being held accountable by someone can help improve self-awareness about unhealthy behavior or decision-making patterns. This awareness will allow you to improve and make better decisions in the future.
Having Your Voice Heard
Whether or not you consider yourself an outgoing person, everyone wants to be heard. In a world of technology that connects us online, people are arguably more distant and alone than ever before.
With the unending stream of information, it’s easy to feel your voice is lost. While it may seem easier to fade into the background and remain quiet, this deprives you of feeling heard and the world of hearing your unique perspective.
Feeling heard can create a sense of belonging and self-worth that counteracts those feelings of loneliness and isolation. There’s no shortage of mediums to share your voice. You can try talking with friends or family, seeing a therapist, sharing in support groups, journaling, or blogging.
Ultimately, it’s not about how you get your voice out into the universe or who hears it. It only matters that you get it out there. It’s always better for your mental health to get your thoughts and feelings out rather than keep them buried inside.
Isolation can worsen mental health conditions, and mental health conditions can increase isolation. It’s important to break this cycle by finding support in those around you.
At Southern California Sunrise Recovery Center, we understand the importance of connecting with others, being held accountable, and having your voice heard. Our team strives to create an individualized treatment approach while maintaining a healthy sense of community for our clients. You should have a voice in your mental health treatment, and we want to hear it.
If you are struggling with isolation and think it might be exacerbating an underlying mental health condition, we want to speak with you. Contact us at (888) 627-6225.