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.
Smith, J. (2018, April 26). Disconnection in Depression: Signs and Tips to Reconnect, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, November 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2018/04/depression-disconnection-signs-and-help
Author: Jennifer Smith
I’ve done this for over 6 years now to where there is no one to connect to. I went through a miserably horrific long separation and divorce from my now ex spouse, a/k/a covert narcissist, and he brainwashed everyone against me. EVERYONE! I don’t have TV service, (surprised I’ve not lost my mind yet), but am constantly on my phone trying to do anything that takes my mind off of my life. Or existence. I’m not living and can’t remember when I did last. My dog is my only reason for getting up at all. I cry constantly. I don’t take care of myself or my surroundings. Why should I when not a single person cares or loves me to even see if I’m alive? I used to be considered pretty. I find myself caring less and less about how I look when I do make it out because I don’t want anyone to ever be interested in me. As lonely and empty and lost as I’ve been forever now, I can’t imagine having anyone that cared for me, when I feel like I’ve been dumped in the curb for the trash to be picked up with. They’ve all made me feel this way and the C-PTSD I was diagnosed with during my divorce has me agoraphobic and frightened of most everything. Knocks on the door which happened today sent me into hiding in the bathroom and could not rationalize with myself that there was nothing to fear. But we know how ptsd affects us. There is no rationalization. There is no ability’ to stop yourself.
I’ve seen my decline. Nobody else because nobody else sees me or cares let alone loves me. When you can say that’ honestly nobody loves you, that’s the epitome of these illnesses major depression, anxiety disorders, theh the C-PTSD that not a soul even knows who should know me. I’m not even existing. I’m wishing everyday that somehow I die during the night and this pain is over. If not for my dog I’d have found a way and I’m dreading the day she’s no longer with me. That will be the end of me. I’ve so much love in my heart but how can I possibly feel this dead and empty, too?
I’m glad you’ve reached out. I’m one of the authors of the “Coping with Depression” blog. I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. I have felt what you have many times and I know that it’s a terrible feeling. Please know that things can get better. Can you get in contact with your doctor or counselor to let them know how you’re feeling? And if you begin to feel suicidal, please get help: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/suicide/suicide-suicidal-thoughts-and-behaviors-t…
I hope you start feeling better soon.
Hello, Nancy. I’m glad that you responded to my article, but I’m so sorry that you are going through all of this. I have been in the dark place that you are in right now. It is so painful and scary, and I know that it feels hopeless. I am living proof that there is hope. Please get in touch with your health care provider and tell him/her what you are feeling. I assure you that there are people who care about you; I am one of them. As Michelle said, please get help if you are suicidal. Your life is worth living. Don’t give up. Thank you again for reaching out.
Your life sounds just like mine only I have many pets. I know what you mean about people not seeing you or loving you, I come from a very dysfunctional family. There are more of us out there in your situation.?
Hello, Kim. Thank you for your comment. I have two dogs, and they are a constant source of joy and companionship for me. I can connect with them when I feel disconnected from the human world. It is hard when we feel that people see right past us or don't take the time to get to truly know us or even try to understand our health issues. I am sorry that your family is not as supportive as you'd like. Do you have any other support systems? Once again, thank you for reaching out and reminding us that we are not alone in our struggles.
I loved it when you suggested talking to the family if the person is feeling signs of depressions, telling them that they are emotionally unattached, and how they need help and assistance. That is exactly what my sister said, but I do not think my parents took it seriously. It was good that I came across this article. I will be sure to show her my support by accompanying her to the professional for an assessment and recovery guide.
Hello, Mina. I know your sister is thankful to have you. It is definitely helpful to have someone who is supportive of us when we are taking steps to get the help we need. Thank you for being there for your sister.
I think whoever wrote this article is a little gullible. Sometimes friends and family can be the worst people to go to for these sorts of things. It would be nice if the proverbial "they will understand" was true. Sometimes, it is not true. The very people you thought you could count on for anything, can quickly become the people you can't count on for one thing.
I am currently going thru the disconnection phrase of depression. I go to work and come home and watch tv and play games on my phone that all I can manage to do.
I was suppose to attend my friends 50th birthday party but I couldn't get myself out of the funk I was in to attend. Now she is upset with me. I want to explain my depression to her but I don't know how. Her friendship is important to me but explaining myself and my depression to her makes me a little nervous. How can I start the conversion that I am depressed and that my depression causes me to see myself in a negative light and I disconnect from people.
Hello, Toni. I am glad that you reached out and asked this question. I feel that honesty is the best approach. I know it can be scary to talk to friends about your depression, especially if you haven't done it before, but your friends should understand. You might even start by showing your friend this article. Showing your friend what those of us with depression experience can help her see that your absence is not because you don't want to be there for her, but rather it's a part of your depression.
Thank you so much for this article. I know that I’ve struggled with depression and avoidance, but I was still beating myself up emotionally. Up until last week I was preferring to eat alone standing up in the kitchen whilst watching Netflix on my laptop, while my 6-year old had his dinner in front of the TV in the living room; I hated myself for it. When I read your article I realized I wasn’t alone. I can’t really talk to my 6-year old about it yet, but I still took your advice and left him a voice note to listen to when he’s older. I just wanted him to know how I felt, and that I love him so very much even when I preferred to be alone. I’m better now and we are back to sitting together and having dinner like before :)
Hello, Z. Thank you for commenting. I'm glad my article helped you to know you're not alone. You had a good idea in leaving your son a voice note to listen to when he's old enough to understand depression more. I'm happy to hear that you're doing better and are having dinner with your son. Please keep me posted in how things are going.
Thanks for providing a detailed description of how I feel alot. It is like I am truly 2 people. Had this all my life, praying God will pull me out. Hard to keep friends when these moods cause me to hide alone.
Hello, Mary. Thank you for commenting. I'm sorry you're going through this, but I'm glad to hear that my post was helpful. One of the reasons I choose to write about my depression is so that I can encourage others and let them know they are not alone. I know it can be hard to keep friends, but there are people who will stick with you through your hard times. Sometimes it just takes a little while to find them. Also, have you spoken with a healthcare professional or therapist about your issues with these feelings and moods? Doing that helped me, and maybe it could help you, too. I wish you all the best, Mary, and thank you again for your comments.
I'm feeling super disconnected from life and loved ones, with depression making me question my life even though I have everything I've always wanted. I'm also having trouble with being super critical of my wife and others (actions, looks, ect.). Is this normal? Just trying to understand how to stop this from happening.
I'm sorry to know you are feeling this way, Aaron. Yes, it's totally normal. What I do is acknowledge the disconnect and try to act appropriately despite it. This may or may not work for you, so please speak to a therapist about this. Take care.
i'm a teen and i've been dealing with depression for years. i have attachment issues and i constantly need emotional validation from my partners. i feel disconnected from my family, friends, myself, and life. i'm so stressed out and i often daydream of death and i have violent thoughts. i struggled with eating disorders, self-harm, and i've been hospitalized two times in the past year. i've been getting better (i'm now able to do chores, homework, and taking care of pets). i come here as a vent and am open to any suggestions to help me overcome this. i'm developing a lack of trust for those who were once close to me and i just feel so lost.
Sometimez friends and family can be the worst people to go to for mental health issues,. In fact doing so, might even be the cause of deeper depression, especially if they hold strong stigmas. Articles like these do more damage tham good when they do not afress this horrible truth. I tried that "Tell your loved ones you are feeling emotionally disconnected" and fully believed other articles that "tell your loved ones about your emotional abusr, they will understand." Note: Neither of these did ANY good. Let's deal with reality please, because not everyone truly has a support(ive) group.
I lost my long term partner because of this and I still haven't been able to forgive myself. Not a day goes by when I don't think about how rejected and confused he must have felt when I started slipping away after the first lock down of the pandemic and I feel ashamed of not being able to communicate with him. I'll always miss him and it was a big wake up call for me to realise that although my depression was not my fault, it was my responsibility.