Disconnection in Depression: Signs and Tips to Reconnect
Depression causes disconnection from ourselves and our loved ones. It often leaves the one diagnosed with depression feeling emotionally detached, while in the process leaving his/her loved ones feeling hurt and confused (Effects of Depression on Family and Friends). There are some warning signs of disconnection in depression that we, as the ones who battle depression, can look for in ourselves; we can also ask our friends and family to help us notice when they appear, too. Once we've learned to recognize the signs of disconnection in depression, we can take steps to start connecting again.
My Signs of Disconnection in Depression
My first sign of disconnection in depression is when I notice that I begin to feel numb inside. I then gradually start to feel distant from those I love,and that distance seems to grow wider and wider as time passes. I shut down emotionally. I respond to questions with as few words as possible. I do not initiate conversations. Depression silences me.
The next disconnection in depression sign I notice is that I spend a large amount of time watching television and scrolling through apps on my phone (Binge-Watching Television While Coping with Depression). I am then able to lose myself in other people's lives and stay comfortably disconnected from my own. While I know it isn't healthy, when I get to this point, I am so emotionally disconnected due to my depression that I don't care. Burying myself in my television and phone allows me to escape, which is all I want to do when I get to this place mentally.
Those are my warning signs. When I start feeling numb and distant, I know that I'm beginning to disconnect due to my depression. If I start watching too much television or spending excessive amounts of time on my phone, then it's likely that an emotional detachment is imminent. The question is, what should we do when our warning signs appear?
What to Do About Emotional Disconnection in Depression
Be honest. Tell your loved ones that you're starting to feel emotionally disconnected. Remind them that it's a symptom of depression. Don't be ashamed to talk about your mental health. Ask them to work with you and be a part of a team effort to battle depression.
Ask your loved ones to be open with you. Tell them that you give them permission to gently point out any warning signs of disconnection that you start to exhibit. Invite them to express to you when they need to talk to you. Allow them to express the desire to hold your hand or to show affection. Of course, you should never do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Take small steps. Smile at someone. Tell a loved one, "I love you." Talk to friends and family. Some days a five-minute conversation is all we can manage, but then maybe the next day we are able to manage 10 minutes. Just keep making an effort. Small steps will eventually get us to our goal.
Know the warning signs of depression disconnection and know what to do when the signs appear. With these strategies in mind, we will be able to stay connected to those we love.