Many who suffer with depression and anxiety become recluse. Their depression makes getting out of bed to leave the house seem like an impossible task. They hate the idea of going out in public. They feel safe at home and alone where they can keep their emotions under control. Home is their safe place. Not everyone who has depression is a recluse. There are sufferers who need to get out of the house and be near people or a person to feel better. For some, loneliness causes the brain to work on over time with racing thoughts, obsessive worrying, deepening of depression, and so on.
No one person’s depression and anxiety are the same. We are all individuals with different personalities and feelings. Not everyone has the exact same symptoms. That is the same with any illness. Some symptoms are the same and some aren’t. We are each unique individuals and our illnesses also match our differences.
I’m not one of those people who can sit at home and feel comfortable. I have had those days where I have had to fight just to get out of bed, but staying home alone is bad for me. I’m not a recluse. I do like my alone time, but I also love being among people and friends. That’s why being a cashier is a good job for me. I love working with people and talking with my customers, especially my regular customers.
I spent too much time as a child alone, wishing and dreaming of the perfect friend and feeling no one would understand me. Through my struggles with my mental illness I felt these same feelings. These feelings only made my inner pain worse. I felt the release of those feelings when I finally confided in my mom about my illness. It’s a heavy burden to carry your illness alone. After college when I struggled with my relapse into depression, I found myself needing people around me. Not everyone was able to handle my illness, but I often leaned on those who were able to.
Now I find myself stuck between the light and the dark hole of depression. I wanted to work up until my surgery date, but I can’t. I want to be around my regular customers chatting with them when they come through my line and with my co-workers joking around with them just to make it through a day of work. Now I’m spending a lot of time home alone trying to keep busy, so my mind doesn’t push me all the way down the hole of depression.
My husband works all day until four P.M. We only have one car. With COVID some of my friends are weary of getting together, and there are friends who are busy working and managing their families. Depending on my friend Denise’s schedule, we go walking a couple of times a week. This is a big help, but she’s not always available. On days when I am stuck at home, I start to think too much and worry. I begin to feel lonely and unloved.
I start to think that no one at work even misses me or cares. I start to worry about how we are going to pay our bills and if we will be so far in debt that we will lose everything. I sleep in until one-thirty because there is no reason to get up. I blame myself for unemployment denying me. I filled the application out wrong. A fund at work will pay two months of our mortgage, but what about our other bills? We’ll lose everything or we’ll be so far in debt that we’ll never get out. Yes, I magnify our situation.
When my husband gets home from work, he suggests we take a ride. He knows how important it is for me to get out of the house. Sometimes our rides lead us to my parents’ house. One time we stopped in to see my older sister. We never know where our rides will take us. Sometimes we go to stores and look around. Just leaving the house helps distract my mind.
Last Monday I took my husband to work so I could go to my parents. I spent the day with my mom looking through pictures and talking. I stayed there until it was time to go pick up my husband at work. Spending the day with my mom lifted my spirits. It felt good to be around her. On days I’m unable to go anywhere I try hard to keep busy. I try to do housework that won’t hurt my back, I woodburn and I take my dog for a long walk. If I can’t be around people or get out of the house, then I have to keep active. I must do something to keep my mind from running wild.
Last Friday I felt lazy, so I watched television until my husband came home. It was the worst thing I did. The depression took over, my thoughts raced, the negativity swirled around in my head, and I magnified everything. I felt the ache of loneliness throughout my body. The one thing that made me feel better was my husband and I meeting my parents for dinner. I like people, I like being around people, and I feel better when I’m not stuck at home all the time.
Do you feel better by yourself, away from people? Or do you feel better getting out of the house and being around people? Recluse or not, you have to find ways to keep the symptoms of your illness under control. If you are a recluse, make sure you are practicing coping techniques, make sure you are nurturing yourself, and you don’t spend your time dwelling in depression. If you’re the type of person who feels better getting out of the house and being around people, then find ways to do that. If you can’t get out of the house, find things to do to keep yourself above the hole of depression.
I really miss working and talking with my co-workers and customers, but I won’t let being out of work throw me down into the hole again. Finding ways to keep busy or to get out of the house and spending time with others will help me stay in the light of recovery.