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  1. #1
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    So do you think isolation causes depression and paranoia, or do you think it's depression and paranoia that causes isolation? I tried googling but all I got was crap about hormones and mice. Which is useless.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    So do you think isolation causes depression and paranoia, or do you think it's depression and paranoia that causes isolation? I tried googling but all I got was crap about hormones and mice. Which is useless.
    I'm not being trite by saying "both."

    It's a terrible circle -- depression -> isolation -> more depression.

    Refusing to isolate oneself (at least the best that you can) is one way to help stop the cycle. I know it's hard.

    Are you going through this right now, and are you okay? *concerned*

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    yeah a little bit. I'll be fine, I'm sure. It's just night after night after day after night not having anyone to do anything with, and it's been like this for months. When I do make plans 90% the time I get stood up. I mean even as an introvert being alone 24/7 or not feeling like you fit in gets frustrating. Even when I'm with my own family I still feel like an outsider looking in.

    Then when I'm told by someone I am in fact liked, I think they're lying and keeping me around for some sick amusement. I still hang with them because it's either that or being isolated by myself.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    I think it's a bit of both. If someone is feeling down in the dumps and unmotivated, then it might become difficult to get out of bed, go out, that sort of thing. That can cause isolation. Then being isolated, it's easy for most of us to send ourselves on a downward spiral of imaginary anxieties with no real way of getting things back into their proper perspective. That being the case, we'd get even more depressed.

    Hm... it's kinda weird how you mention not feeling like you're genuinely wanted or liked for yourself by someone you hang out with, but yet you also admit that you seem to only hang out with them because you feel you've no other option? Do you need to feel valued before you value them, or the other way around?

    Regardless, I gave up that kind of thinking ages ago, largely because I got on the receiving end of it a few times and realized how it felt when I had a taste of my own medicine. True, sometimes I'd go see someone just for lack of anything else to do, not particularly thinking "Wow this person's awesome, I've so gotta see them right now!" But by the same token, the fact that I chose to see them at that moment was itself a sign that I found their company pleasant - otherwise I would likely have gone to someone else, or just watched a DVD.

    So even if someone only 'chooses' you sorta 'by default', they've still chosen you, and it still says something. But to suppose they keep you around for some kind of sick amusement is really quite insulting to them, don't you think? How many people do you really think are like that??
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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    So do you think isolation causes depression and paranoia, or do you think it's depression and paranoia that causes isolation? I tried googling but all I got was crap about hormones and mice. Which is useless.

    Cycle that feeds on itself, methinks.

    Isolation denotes a separateness and a lack of external stimuli. Nothing wrong in itself - we all need some time alone to reflect.

    Prolonged isolation would only be for the strong of mind and heart though. It is not without reason that solitary confinement is one of the punishments inflicted when jailers want to break someone.

    It means then a person has to go within themselves to find a reason to be.

    Lack of external inputs / corroboration / rebuttals mean there is no way of clarifying doubts.

    Paranoia exists when doubts grow too big.

    The lack of trust in oneself, and lack of trust in others can spin out of control sometimes. Feelings of self-doubt eat into self-worth. Feeling like nothing and hating yourself for feeling so. Sometimes I think depression is anger & loathing turned inwards? You'd then isolate yourself more. Over-react to the wrong things. Under-react to the right things.

    Cycles.

    To break out of it takes courage to move out of the comfort zone of gray though, and developing a thicker skin to go out there. And there'll be periods when you'd feel very emptied and exhausted, and that existence is merely a day to day pointless dragging of feet.

    I know sometimes feeling depressed is better than being empty - at least it is familiar.

    This may sound trite, but as long as one holds to the light and keep walking one step at a time towards it, you'll be alright.

    Balance in all things.

    Edit: No one wants to be tolerated or borne with resignation. It is not easy to be around someone depressing too. Not that you have to mask your own feelings to make others happy, but that, find the little things that make you feel positive, and hold to those? You cannot fight negativity by doubts. You fight it by replacing it with positive things - actions and feelings.

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    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    So do you think isolation causes depression and paranoia, or do you think it's depression and paranoia that causes isolation? I tried googling but all I got was crap about hormones and mice. Which is useless.
    I think isolation exacerbates tendencies for depression and paranoia. Everyone like you mentioned has a tipping point where isolation turns from solace to hindrance.

    I test as a relatively strong E, and one way I pull myself out of it is to go where the people go. This is when I know no one and have no one to do anything with. This is kinda what you have to do when you first move to a new place where you don't know anyone or even when you are visiting a new city on business. I try to avoid super crowded places where I feel like cattle (i.e. the mall during holiday rush season!!!) and I avoid drinking. But, you can still be a super introvert and never talk to anyone and just being around a community of people really helps. People watching!

    As for interaction -- I remember in college there were always a ton of meetings and conferences and lectures and film viewings going on at any given time. Or if you were adventurous, you could wander around your dorm and visit with people.

    But, even if you go out without the intention of meeting people, it's good therapy just to get out. Period.

    And if you're going to do that, try a bookstore or a park. Someplace where there are people engaged in something but it's relatively low key. Close to a like minded community feel.

    Sometimes just sitting with other people and engaging in random small talk if it arises is really helpful. Small steps to draw you out and get your social interaction juices flowing.

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    ditto to what Cze Cze just said!

    I know when I'm stuck alone I usually end up being forced to THINK, which I usually try to avoid since it's depressing (you know, things like "I really should water my plants more often" and "I could have been in a good grad school now if I hadn't intentionally messed up my entire life"). I NEED external stimulii in order to be able to keep distracted and function happily! (why is whatever here so often? to avoid thinking!) I understand hanging out with people who you don't really like in order to not be stuck at home- I've done it in the past and at least it was a distraction, not a good idea necissarily though... I'd definitley suggest getting out and doing SOMETHING, maybe find a new hobby or volunteer somewhere or get a job or something- they'd all keep you occupied and therefore happier without having to worry that someone else who you don't really like will let you down!

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    ^^ Cze has some nice recommendations there. Consider joining a course or something, an activity you don't mind (you don't have to like it, but just be willing to try it) - can help you meet more new people?

    a soup kitchen, a book club, walking/swimming club, a pet lovers' club? photography, painting, wood-work, dance, martial arts classes?

    Don't recommend competitive sports / debate though - those can increase feelings of isolation sometimes. Especially if you meet an ENTP. Those things are hazardous to self-esteem

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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    yeah a little bit. I'll be fine, I'm sure. It's just night after night after day after night not having anyone to do anything with, and it's been like this for months. When I do make plans 90% the time I get stood up. I mean even as an introvert being alone 24/7 or not feeling like you fit in gets frustrating. Even when I'm with my own family I still feel like an outsider looking in.

    Then when I'm told by someone I am in fact liked, I think they're lying and keeping me around for some sick amusement. I still hang with them because it's either that or being isolated by myself.
    I'm not sure how old you are, but when I was in my early 20's I felt similar to the way you've described you are feeling now. I was pretty much a loner and when I did make plans with people they always seemed to cancel at the last minute. At the time I would internalize everything! Did I say something wrong? Do I look stupid? Etc...

    Looking back now I think how sad that I wasted my youth worrying so much about crap, but at the time those feelings were very real to me. Getting married, having children and basically experiencing life has changed me. I feel much more comfortable in my skin now than I ever and from what people tell me that is very pretty normal, so you'll be fine.
    Time is a delicate mistress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    I tried googling but all I got was crap about hormones and mice.
    Hormones, mice, and purple chickens. Sounds like a chemistry experiment.

    Sounds like you're getting a bit farouche (a French word meaning simultaneously wild, sullen, and shy, like a wild animal not used to human contact)

    I agree with what everyone else has said thus far. I particularly like CzeCze's concrete suggestions for getting out and being around people, even if still at a distance. Here's another one:

    If you're in school, then pay attention to how others contribute in class. At the end of class, when everyone is gathering their books to leave the room, go up to someone and compliment them on something they contributed: "Hey, I like what you said about monarchy vs. democracy--that was a real good point." You don't have to get in a conversation; just give them your compliment and then be on your way. If you can't compliment them right after class, then usually anytime in the next 24 hours is usually fine for a small compliment like that.

    It's like the rep system. You drop them a little "Attaboy," but you do it in a way that doesn't require or expect further interaction. Most people like those little unexpected "Attaboys"; those who don't like them can't fault you or make an issue out of it. Meantime, you get a little positive buzz out of paying notice to other people and giving them some credit when they're looking good.

    And who knows. One day a little conversation will arise at some point. It needn't be a long, deep chat. Just build small bridges to other people on a regular basis, and get in the habit of being around people without getting stressed and putting up your defenses.

    Another suggestion: Take a recreational class or join a recreational club (square dancing, line dancing, camera club, parachuting classes, whatever). You'll be around people, and you won't have to question their motives for being in your company. Don't forget to interact with them lightly and give them an "Attaboy" when they do something well.

    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    Then when I'm told by someone I am in fact liked, I think they're lying and keeping me around for some sick amusement. I still hang with them because it's either that or being isolated by myself.
    No need to pick apart the various motives people have for hanging around each other. When I was living in the barracks in the military, the reason I hung out with some people was obvious: They were bored, and I was lonely. And it was a perfectly good basis for a friendship--one of the best, in fact. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be around other people to alleviate boredom or loneliness. And since we had nothing in common, I ended up hanging around with people I would normally never have considered as friends. They exposed me to new experiences that I wouldn't have sought by myself; some genuinely interesting friendships arose across time. Serendipity and all that.

    Don't look for deep reasons to be in the company of others. Most people don't require a big, deep connection or rationale to be friends. They're just bored and looking for someone to help shake them out of their lethargy for the moment.

    If you're severely depressed and someone offers to do something with you, it doesn't necessarily mean they pity you and want to help you out. More likely, they're just bored and need some company. Depressed people can be good company--they're relatively low maintenance, and with their griping they sometimes open up more than they think and provide some dark humor and/or interesting new views on the world. Of course, depressed people are also monotonous over time and eventually turn boring and uninteresting; friendships don't last long with depressed people. But that's okay--not everything has to be deep and long-term. Nothing wrong with having a few laughs together and then going your separate ways.

    Accept things as they appear on the surface and quit picking things apart looking for ulterior motives or deeper meaning. Most people aren't that deep.

    If someone offers to do something with you, go for it. Have some fun for an evening and don't worry about motives or how long the friendship will last. Live in the moment. Conversely, if you're bored and you see someone else looking bored or depressed, then invite them to do something--have a coffee, play a game of checkers, go get a burger, whatever. Don't create any expectations beyond the moment. Just alleviate your boredom in someone else's company, and then tomorrow you can evaluate the experience and see if you want to do it again with that person.

    If you can capture that "Live in the moment" attitude, it will help you understand the world better. You'll see that people aren't usually deep and don't usually have ulterior motives. They're just bored. And that's not a bad thing. There's an infinite supply of bored people around you, so there's always things to do and people to meet. Live your life in their company, and after a while you'll find that you're encountering a lot of variety, doing a lot of things, and having a lot of adventures. Not a bad way to go.

    And then occasionally you'll encounter someone with whom you'll share a deeper connection. Fine. But don't forget to live in the moment with the others as well. They're the ones who will keep things light and fun and expose you to some new experiences and perspectives. Novelty is important--it shakes you up a bit. It keeps you from getting stale and old before your time.

    Just my own spin on things, of course. Take what works for you and don't worry about the rest.

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