In all of the chaos and fear surrounding COVID19 we’re all considering our physical health and safety. Taking action as needed. Now what about your mental health?
Have you sat down and thought about how you and those close to you are coping?
Anxiety (and especially health anxiety) is a topic that has been discussed lately which is great to see. But I haven’t seen much yet about managing depression and isolation. If you want to share a link in the comments on this topic I’d love to read it.
Part of managing the health risks of COVID19 is self isolating if needed. As someone who has lived with major depression long term I’ve learnt to recognise warning signs that I’m not ok. Isolating myself is one of the signs I look for.
My kids and I have been home for over a week (my son has a cold). His school said to keep away. I’m grateful for their clear stance and being home has reduced my anxiety for my family. But being isolated has me worried about myself.
Usually when I start to self isolate it means my depression isn’t managed well. I feel comfortable and safe being at home and retreat further and further.
So.. I was curious to ask what do other people do in this situation?
Does anyone have realistic ideas that might help?
I’m waiting for my psychiatrist appointment and no doubt he’ll review my medicines. I’ll update at the end of the month and share what advice he has.
Above all I wanted to ask how do you distinguish between isolating as a symptom of Depression and isolating because of the virus?
If you know (or are) someone who manages mental health issues there are questions important to be asking right now…
What symptoms do you experience if your mental health is declining? How do you know when you are at risk and need to take action? What might it look like to me as an outsider when you’re struggling?
I’ll share my own warning signs (I manage recurring major depression and ADHD and have a history of suicidal ideation).
Perhaps it might make you think about how you or a loved one is coping right now and more importantly decide what steps to take to keep safe.
Withdrawing further and further from everyone and need more time alone to cope.
What this can look like to others:
I might sleep to avoid having to talk. Seem lost in thought. Be unable to follow conversation or focus. Snap at you or become teary for what seems like no reason.
The worse my depression becomes the harder it is to talk or write.
What can this look like?
I never answer the phone if you call. If I have to I’m blunt and cold. I’ll make any excuse not to make a phonecall. If you ask me to make an appointment I’ll do it online or not at all.
It can take days or weeks to get a reply to a text/email (if you get a reply at all). When I do reply it can be unpredictable. Maybe you’ll get prompt replies for a few days and then nothing again.
I’ve deleted nearly every post, blog, email or text I try to write. I’ve volunteered for BeyondBlue for years writing to others. I love it and it’s important to me and yet I’ve barely posted.
Others might notice…
I’m inconsistent. Might write to you and then disappear. When I’m present I care and might seem upbeat and even fine. Then I disappear yet again.
Other times you might see incomplete sentences or the writing is all confusing. That’s me trying to keep writing no matter what.
Alternating between needing to sleep all the time and insomnia.
This sounds obvious but it is important to consider that sleep can be used as an escape. So if I’m over sleeping or excuse myself to sleep it can be a way of coping because I’m overwhelmed and need space. Other times I might pace the house at night. Ot not come to bed so I don’t keep you awake.
Do anything to avoid leaving the house.
What does this look like?
Constant excuses and apologies. I’ll even bargain (if you’ll do the shopping I’ll clean the house). I do get snappy if you pressure or push too hard.
It can also mean refusing to go outside. Again the excuses can sound reasonable.
I know this post is confusing and I’m nit sure there is a point within the waffle. Just food for thought perhaps. If you find yourself going downhill in isolation it helps if people around you know what to look for so you can get the support you need.
I’ll hit post before I delete it like every other post I’ve tried to write. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to try read this ❤.
7 thoughts on “How do you cope with depression while self isolating?”
Glad you posted your thoughts, Nat. One thing I shared with others due to my mental health, I sometimes cannot rely on my thoughts and feelings. You, these automatic thoughts are intrusive and negative that stops me from doing. To combat it, I decided to just do it with less thinking. Then after, I reflect on it. The result is effective and I feel better. One thing I discovered is nature therapy or forest bathing regardless of the weather. This can be done alone or social distance.
For example, see link https://www.meetup.com/ForestTherapy/events/269504940/?rv=me1&_xtd=gatlbWFpbF9jbGlja9oAJDUxZjdiYmFmLTgzZGMtNDRhNS04NWRkLWZhODQyNmE3YzA3Nw&_af=event&_af_eid=269504940
Also, the therapist has thus blog. https://anxietyshrink.com/blog-page/f/the-real-pandemic-is-fear
Hope this will provide you a different perspective.
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Thank you Perpetua.
The links will be very helpful to read. I appreciate your reply very much.
Nature therapy sounds like something that would suit me too.
I think you make a very good point about not being able to always trust your feelings/instincts when you’re not doing so well. I can relate to that.
You’ve given me lots to think on. Thank you ❤
Dear Nat, thank you for this amazing, honest post. I’m sure many people will find it helpful. I wish I had s omething useful i could say. Self isolating so far agrees with me, an introvert who loves the time and freedom to day-dream and write.
I decided when i first started to isolate that I’d try to keep to as regular timetable as possible, dress neatly every morning, get enough exercise and eat properly. We have children who shop for us so far that’s worked. A friend told me she’s made a spreadsheet with tasks and days to make sure she doesn’t fall in a heap. I will do that too.
Please keep in touch.
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Thanks Maureen, your reply is helpful to me. I will have to pinch the idea of making a list/speadsheet. That’s a great idea. The loss of routine is very tricky especially with kids. I will keep trying to write. Hope you and John are doing ok.
Hi Nat, how are you doing?
Here’s another link that I use
I have learned over the years that managing my depression is not something I can do alone. I have two friends who understand my depression and will check on me often if they don’t hear from me or if what they hear is increasingly negative. We need to have those support people. Meds and dosages are important. The wrong one or wrong combination can sabotage me. Luckily, my doctor consults me on my care plan, so I feel empowered. You are probably doing some pretty amazing things: writing, parenting, managing your hygiene. Always give yourself credit for doing even the small things. You’ll soon realize that there are many things that you do well, and you’ll be inspired to do more. You are a good person. Stay strong for yourself, and for all of us that follow you.
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Wow. What a beautiful comment to return and see. Thank you. I hope you’re coping as best you can and are safe.