Those of us living with addiction and mental health issues are no strangers to isolating ourselves. Many of us go to great lengths to avoid people and having to interact with them. We find ways to survive on a daily basis without venturing out in public. For example, we have everything delivered to our homes rather than having to leave the house. We cancel plans with loved ones. We shirk our responsibilities and totally alter our routines. There are a number of reasons why isolation is so harmful to us.
When we isolate too much, we’re not connecting with other people. We’re often not engaging with the outside world in any meaningful way. Sometimes we go long periods of time without speaking to anyone. This self-isolation can cause our existing mental health issues to fester and grow worse. We don’t have anyone helping us to pull ourselves out of our self-imposed shadows. We’re alone with our pain, and when our issues are left unchecked and unaddressed, they tend to build up until we’re left with devastating mental and emotional consequences. Our health deteriorates. Sometimes we’re unable to sleep or eat. Lack of sleep can cause us to break down. We lose our appetite and aren’t getting the nutrition we need to be healthy. We don’t exercise, which can exacerbate our mental and emotional difficulties. We don’t go outside, and lack of sunshine and fresh air can make us feel even more sad and distressed. If we’re on medications to help us with our conditions, we often stop taking them. We lose our ability to function in our daily lives. We lose our jobs and suffer from financial insecurity, causing us to be even more anxious and stressed out. Our depression gets worse. We can suffer from total breakdowns in our overall health.
When we isolate, we aren’t seeking out the support we need. We don’t take advantage of the services, resources and programs available to us that could change our lives for the better. We aren’t telling anyone how much pain we’re in. We’re suffering alone, sometimes with no one knowing. We push people away, including the people who care about us and might be able to help us get better. Sometimes we cut off relationships with the people who are trying to intervene to bring us out of our isolation. We can feel like they’re invading our privacy and therefore disrespecting us, and this can cause our relationships to become damaged and estranged. When we don’t get the help we need or connect with other people, we can become even more depressed.
Isolation can cause our addictions and mental health issues to worsen and deepen. Part of healing is learning how to come out of our self-isolation to rejoin the world.
Bayview Recovery can offer you the supportive, nurturing community you need to feel supported in your recovery. Call 888-570-7154 today for more information.