Home Alone: Lost In Your Thoughts

I thought I would take a moment in this blog to analyse how living alone affects depression and anxiety. I have lived for the last 18 months alone in my flat in Ealing, and so have a good period of time to base my analysis on. And before anyone asks, I’ve never considered the following an advantage:

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In the past I have lived in flat shares with strangers, and also flat shares with friends. I found this an incredibly difficult experience, due to the struggles I have with my anxiety specifically. A facet of anxiety is that the tiniest of things can bother you, get under your skin, and consume all of your time and thoughts. When sharing with people these were highlighted to a greater degree, to the extent that in the early days I would spend the majority of time in my room, even for meals. The thought of eating or being in the same room as others made me incredibly apprehensive. It started to become oppressive and it felt like I couldn’t escape my thoughts or worries. Even minutiae thoughts such as having to cook at the same time as someone, or meet someone for a chat in a corridor, or another flatmate having someone stay over at the flat caused me considerable anxiety.

This precipitated my mood taking huge plunge downwards. I dreaded coming back to London if ever I went home. It also heightened and highlighted the many symptoms of the illness, including not being able to sleep, being constantly tired, feeling constantly on edge and unable to relax, and also affecting social interactions.

Now I live alone, I have my own sanctuary, an area that I feel safe in, and that doesn’t cause me to fear coming back to. I have freedom and a reduction of the worries and anxieties associated with sharing, as previously mentioned. However, the clear disadvantage is that at times the only companion can be the ruminations inside my head (and occasionally the sounds of the screaming children next door!). There is no distraction, and nobody to talk through how I’m feeling, or even to just go for a beer with in the local area. Anxiety and low mood can mean its at best difficult, and at worst neigh on impossible to force yourself out socially. Being in the bubble of living alone can mean that you can easily get sucked in to staying in that safe environment which may ease the pressure in the short term, but in the long term can lead to loneliness, isolation, frustration and a feeling of despair. It’s a vicious cycle, as much of the associated components of mental health can be.

I think in conclusion that there are clearly pros and cons about living alone with depression and anxiety, and I feel personally that it is unequivocally preferable for my situation, and gives my the best platform to try and get better. Although, clearly living in isolation can have an affect of depression particularly, as this article suggests (Link). It claims “People of working age who live alone increase their risk of depression by up to 80%”. I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that, but clearly it does have a significant impact.

Finally though, for this guy it’s a no-brainer, he clearly loves being the King of his own Castle!

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5 thoughts on “Home Alone: Lost In Your Thoughts”

  1. While thinking about what you said about living alone or with someone and all that thing about how your depression also affects your family/friends, I thought I should share something about my life that you don’t see much out there. I have depression and live with my mother, who also has depression, and we’re not close to our family, so we kind of only have each other. It’s hard sometimes, because when she’s not well, I have to do my best to help her, and the same when it happens to me, but when we both are struggling with it and won’t leave our bedrooms, it can be very suffocating. I’m very young, I’m in high school, and I always try to do my best to help both me and her, even when I don’t feel that well. It’s pretty hard, you know? I don’t think many people live in the same situation I do, and, like you said, living alone can me pretty difficult, but living with someone who suffers from the same thing you do is very complicated. But anyway, your words have been helping a little, so thank you. I made a blog of my own to try to write about the same topic and some other stuff that were the cause of my depression, I just hope I can do it as well as you’re doing. Keep up with the good work. x

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    1. Thankyou so much for your comment, and talking about your situation. I must admit I hadn’t ever considered your type of situation before (despite the fact that some of my family members also suffer from similar to me), and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you. All I can say is you are doing a fantastic job holding it together and your mum is very lucky to have you for support. I’m really hoping this blog can bring together stories like yours, with the aim to show there are lots of similar people out there and we can hopefully help each other. I’m glad my words have been helpful. Well done for also doing a blog, it can be very cathartic so keep up with it! Would you mind if I used your comment in my next blog as a basis?

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      1. Thank you for you words! It’s really good to know that there are people talking about so many different situations involving the same topic. It helps me a lot, and I know it will help lots of people out there. I don’t mind, not at all, go ahead!

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