When we have depression, we can often feel horribly alone – even in a room of our favourite people. It can feel as though we’re apart from the rest of the world. We don’t have much energy. We don’t know what to say to people. We don’t feel how we used to feel. We could be unable to work, or study, which can make our feelings of isolation even worse.
It’s also been reported that rates of loneliness are on the up and are having a detrimental effect on our health.
When we feel lonely and isolated, our perspective of ourselves tends to be the only one we hear and it’s usually an unkind one. That makes reaching out, to foster connections, even more difficult because we have to overcome our feelings of unworthiness and low self-confidence. We’ve put together a list of things we hope will help, some easier than others.
Some of us are green fingered. Having an allotment, can be low-intensity ways of meeting like-minded people. If we can’t afford an allotment, or there are none close to us, we could find our nearest conservation area and ask about volunteering, such as with The Conservation Volunteers.
Borrow My Doggy
For those of us looking for a new four-legged friend who’re unable to commit to having a pet – Borrow My Doggy can be a great middle ground. It allows us to borrow a dog on a regular basis. Not only do we make a new furry friend, we might also have chance to chat to their owner, and make a person-friend, too.
Most communities, whether it be a village, town, or suburb, have all sorts of different things going on that we often don’t know about. Some will have a magazine that they pop through doors. Others will list things in the local supermarket, library, or even online.
Lots of communities will have some sort of music scene. It might be bands, choirs (such as Rock Choir), orchestras or something else. If we’re a keen musician, then it might be worth finding out what’s going on in our local area. We don’t need to be particularly confident because if we’re part of a big group, nobody is going to hear the odd duff note!
If we are very active, we could try joining a local sports team, such as netball or football. Our leisure centre or community centre might have a list of those available, or there might be a list online.
Connect With Friends And Family
This might sound like an obvious one, but it’s one we often forget because we fear being a burden to them. Connecting with friends or family, can help to ease the loneliness for a while. We could invite them over or go out somewhere.
Get A Pet
Sometimes we don’t fancy human contact, but would quite like something warm and fluffy. If we’re able to care for it, getting a pet can be a great way to ease our levels of loneliness.
Some of us are big gamers. This might be gaming online with headsets, or it could be playing a game such as Warhammer. This can be another way to interact with others who have a shared interest.
Join A Book Club
If we like reading, joining a book club can be a way to do something we enjoy, whilst connecting with others with a similar interest. Our local library might know about book clubs. Sometimes they’re run through schools, religious centres, workplaces, or online.
Join A Gym
If we like being active, but don’t fancy a sports team, we could join a gym. We don’t need to speak to anyone else if we don’t want to. Sometimes just being around others doing a similar thing can help us to feel less lonely.
Join A Twitter Chat
Some of us don’t fancy leaving the house, or getting out of our jim jams, but do want to communicate with others. Twitter chats (or social media in general) can be a great way to do that. The advantage of Twitter chats is that they’re contained to a set amount of time. So once they’re over, we can switch off and return to life. If you’re interested, we facilitate Twitter chats which take place once a month.
Libraries can be great places to go when we feel alone. We don’t have to speak to anyone or do anything in particular. We could take a book or magazine, or borrow one when we’re there. We could use their computers. We could take a puzzle book or newspaper. It’s sometimes nice to be around people, even if we’re doing something alone.
If we’re feeling sociable, we could look at the different community events advertised in the library. Or we could chat to the staff about things going on in the library, and in our local area.
Meetup.com is a site enabling us to meet others in our area who have similar interests to us. Some areas are more active than others, but it’s possible to start our own group if there’s nothing we see that we fancy. The advantage of a site like this, is that if we’re anxious, we can ‘meet’ people online before meeting them in person.
If we are a keen runner, park run could be something to think about. They’re a lovely way to meet other runners in a fairly chilled out environment. We don’t need to be a particularly good runner, we could always walk it. If we’re not feeling confident, we don’t need to speak to anyone, we could pop along and check it out. It might be a nice way to get out of the house for a bit.
Reading, Films, or Radio
Reading and watching films can be a way to feel less alone without actually be around other people. Sometimes we are lonely, but don’t feel up to speaking to, or seeing anyone. Getting really stuck into a good story, or bopping along to the radio, can be a way to feel connected to the outside world.
If we have a child, or someone we care for, who is in school or nursery, there might be a Parent Teacher Assoction (PTA), or ‘Friends of…’ organisation. This can be a great way to help out, whilst meeting others with a common interest.
Visit Free Attractions
Most parts of the country will have some free attractions close by. It could be an art gallery, a museum, or something else. These can be lovely places to wander round, either alone or with a friend. Being around others can help us to feel less alone.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to help us feel less alone. It’s particularly good because we can tailor it to our own lives. So, some people might like to volunteer without ever leaving the house. Others may prefer to volunteer with animals. Some may like to volunteer with groups of people. We can find something that suits us. Do-it.org, vInspired, or local community pages are great places to start when looking for a new volunteering post. We could also try our local Scouts or Guides.
Be Kind To Yourself
Depression can affect us in so many ways. It can make it hard to interact with others and leave the house. We might not be up to doing activities that we’ve done in the past, but that’s okay. We can take it slowly. There is no pressure to do or be anything we don’t want to be. Be kind to yourself.
Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.