Social isolation can worsen depression and depression can magnify social isolation.
As I patiently wait to be back to running fitness, today I was at the pool for an aqua zumba class. Aqua zumba is exactly what it sounds like, zumba done in the water! It’s fun and as with (terra) zumba requires an unusual amount of coordination.
I stayed in the pool for a slow after class swim, and noticed an older man in the deep end holding the side of the pool. When I was close enough I asked if he was ok, as I was concerned. He was fine, just taking things slowly as he had back pain.
This lovely gentleman and I then talked for about 20 minutes, we didn’t know each other but he appreciated my concern and was friendly and openly honest about his life. I left the pool feeling happier than when I’d arrived because of this unexpected conversation.
With depression it’s very easy to isolate yourself from social situations, friends, family, and even the workplace. Your mental dialogue tells you that you are worthless and that no one would miss you if you didn’t go, that you’ll feel out of place and that you’re boring and awkward.
Making the move to rehabilitate yourself socially is a massive step when you believe the messages your brain gives. But often that first move starts a cascade of positive changes, boosting mood, self-esteem, self-worth and giving you a happy buzz of endorphins when you realise that a) people were glad to see you and b) that you were glad to see them too.