Isolating: First Symptom of Depression and Suicidal Ideation

What the mental health professionals call isolating is withdrawing from contact with other people. This is often the first symptom of depression. Whenever my depression deepens I begin isolating from others. It becomes increasingly difficult to make contact with people just when I need that contact the most. There are several reasons for my withdrawal.

First, many of my friends are uncomfortable with any discussion of suicide or depression  Most of them know that my husband killed himself two years ago  but generally they find reference to it conversationally difficult.  If I admit to my depression people change the subject.  Naturally I don’t want  to cause them distress so I no longer bring it up.  I understand their feelings because most of them are older woman whose lives have been much more settled than mine.   As a result only one friend knows about this site.  I find it easier to blog than talk in person with the people I know.  From  what I have learned from other people who have depression and suicidal ideation this feeling of rejection is common problem whether real or perceived.

Second, one of my primary symptoms of depression is confusion.  I can’t explain myself coherently.  When I try to express what is going on my mind becomes mush.  Recently  the one friend that wants to help me in by discussing my condition with me and who knows of this site tried to offer some suggestions and discuss my mood.  I became so confused trying to explain myself that I fled her house.  That happened last week.  This week I apologized and explained about the confusion and we agreed that we wouldn’t try to talk about my depression in-depth when I am in the throes of confusion.  I really appreciate her understanding and sympathy.

Third,  some of my friends believe that since I am a Christian I shouldn’t be depressed.  Certainly most Christians with some life experience don’t believe this but enough do so that I am constantly on the lookout for this particular land mine.  I am not particularly cogent when depressed so instead of speaking coherently about what I am experiencing I often just become defensive which is counter productive.  The belief that a believing Christian is a happy person at every level is a common misconception.  Certainly my faith gives me happiness and joy but that is often at the deepest levels of my being when my brain goes into a depressive episode.

So what does a depressed and suicidal person need?  I can speak for myself by acknowledging that what I need most is for someone to express that they care and that they do not judge me or my faith by what is occurring during my depression.   My first priority is to keep in mind that this is a passing event.  That it is a trial by God, deserved or not.  Next,  I need to do the things which I know will help me come out of the mental fugue as quickly as possible.  So I need to pray, exercise and do my best to keep in touch with others.  That I may express doubts that I am not normally afflicted with is just part of the package.  Certainly Job questioned why God allowed him to go through his trial.

12 thoughts on “Isolating: First Symptom of Depression and Suicidal Ideation

  1. The isolation of depression is indeed compounded by friends and relatives who withdraw because they are uncomfortable with the thought of my depression. It’s also compounded by efforts of the well-meaning to explain the unexplainable, to bring order to the confusion and sense to the nonsense. Job’s friends did that, but it was from the chaos of the whirlwind that God spoke to him. And the isolation of depression is compounded by those who want to “cheer me up” when what I most want from them is their presence while I cry, their arms around me, and the silence of their love.
    As a pastor, I don’t always get this right when I’m trying to minister to someone else, but I think I have been learning. Thank you for letting me listen to your heart.

  2. How I relate to every statement in this blog. It helps to read a description of your symptoms. Some of these things I’ve thought were personal defects, but no these things are depression. It has freed me to read this. Thank you! I care about you. I don’t judge you or your faith. I personally understand the stigma attached to depression. It doesn’t help to judge us. We are suffering enough.

      • I’ve been rejected so much over one thing or another, I’ve gotten over it. I just forgive and give it over to the Lord. He is my comforter, the only one I care to please.

  3. First of all, I would not have known about you had I not received a comment on my blog from you. In reading your message today, I realized that you were in need of comfort and I sincerely offer that to you. Not only that, my husband and I both suffer from many disorders and are Christians. So, we both understand what you are going through to a great degree. Knowing that we love you and accept you may help, we hope. If you need to share and receive comfort and acceptance, please feel free to write to us at My husband is having a particularly hard day today. We call it “our chemicals are out of whack”. Your faith and our faith is not the issue. We did not ask for these disorders, did we? But God chose to allow us to have them, nonetheless. I know for me I have to lean into that on most of my days. Each day is rough, yet blessed, all in its own way. Hang in there, new friend. Thank you for blessing my life by sharing a bit of yours. Much love and understanding. Sharon

    • Sharon – your generous and immediate caring is so kind. I appreciate that you took the time to write such a loving and honest reply to my post. Those of us with chemicals out of whack as you so wisely call it can understand each other. I look forward to following your blog and corresponding with you. Michelle

      • Thanks for your comments, Michelle. I’m having a really, really bad day today. My chemicals are so whacko! Can’t figure it out. Most of the time I can tell it’s because I ate something with msg or some other chemical, but today is just baffling. I, too, look forward to following your blog and keeping in touch through encouraging one another. I can feel your heart, even though we haven’t met, and it is so beautiful! Praise God for you! Prayers are requested. God is the one who truly understands us, because He made us, and He made us for a reason. Be blessed, new friend.

  4. Pingback: To the one who didn’t know you, you’d look fine. « It's not about dying…

  5. ” Someone some where is Praying for you ”
    What uplifting and encouraging words these are.
    I can not know what your feelings are, only the Lord and you know how you truly feel.
    But as someone who has been through depression, and suicidal attempts ( suicidal
    attempts when I was very young .) And understand the feelings of rejection in my own life, I know that Jesus is the answer to all your needs. He cares for you!
    Remember, when the disciple Peter walked on the water to go and meet, his friend and savior Jesus, he was walking by faith. But when he took his eyes of the Lord, and started took look around him at the storm, and all the troubled waters, he began to sink.
    Peter was in fear of his life, thoughts of drowning ( depression ) came into his mind,( rejection, ) why was this happening? Then he looked to Jesus, and cried out to the Lord to save him, and Jesus stretched forth his hand and saved him.
    This is the story Jesus showed me, to help me overcome suicidal attempts, depression, fear and rejection.
    Jesus said ” I will never leave you nor forsake you, I am with you always. ”
    I hope what I have told you will not offend, I am not judging anyone’s faith or beliefs.
    When we keep our hearts and minds on the Lord He will save us!

    I am praying for you all, love and care in Jesus name, from me to you.

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