This article is someone’s story about how isolation affects mental and physical health, of how his mental health was impacted. The word isolation conveys seclusion and loneliness. For most of us, isolation or lack of social contact and physical activity leads to negative mental health. Isolation is not really a psychological issue, but it causes some critical mental health problems like depression and anxiety. How does isolation do this? How does it destroy social relationships? And how does it affect our mental health? Yes, indeed, social isolation and loneliness may be a public health priority.
Mental Health And Isolation
Have you ever been in social isolation and loneliness? If you did, did it affect your well-being? Did you experience having depressive symptoms? How was your own isolation experience? Here’s mine.
When covid 19 pandemic hit the world, most people seemed to be in panic mode, scared for their mental and physical health. buying everything in bulk. But that was not the case for me. Though aware of the mental health consequences, I shopped for a few days’ worth of supplies on purpose so that I had an excuse.
Of course, COVID-19 existed ( mental health professionals confirmed it). It is a more serious public health risks than any other illness according to Centers For Disease Control or CDC. People were isolated and required physical distancing, and many businesses closed because most people were not allowed to go out. It apparently impacted physical and mental health, as it results in low self-esteem, poor sleep quality, negative interpersonal relationships, and isolation and loneliness.
Well-Being during Isolation: My Routine Got Messed Up
Let me take you to when my well-being went awry during seclusion.
I planned to continue going to the supermarket three or four times a week while avoiding total seclusion. I wished I could maintain my social activities but I couldn’t – my friends were scared of the health risks. The park opened briefly, but the local government closed it again so more time away from people. It was reported that the health risks – including mental health risks – were getting higher.
Unfortunately, I realized that any plan that seemed perfect was too good to be true when the supermarket closed one day. It read: “Sorry for the inconvenience. An employee tested positive for COVID-19, so if you’ve shopped with us in the last few days, please inform the health authorities. You have a higher risk of being infected.”
I could not decide what was worse between getting a swab test and remaining in isolation. I knew then that there will be negative effects on my well-being. I, for one, have not experienced having no social interactions and social support with friends and family.
Social Isolation On Mental Health
Social seclusion occurs when someone has been secluded from the people around him. The effects of social isolation apparently affect well-being tremendously.
I never thought of the possibility of being healthy and asymptomatic, which I turned out to be (and I realized being positive could also affect my well-being). Now, it was my time to self isolate. My head was spinning. I hated isolation and feeling lonely. Eventually, the low self-esteem would sink in, along with other psychological aspects. I would then be reaping the effects of social isolation soon.
I promised not to go out for at least three weeks and stay in seclusion, although I wished I would not experience chronic loneliness or stress. Research suggests that acute stress and prolonged isolation are risk factors that lead to coronary heart disease and premature death. I would be a liar if I said that I never thought of sneaking out once to avoid seclusion. Self-isolation was one of the worst experiences of my life! It may sound exaggerated but it was, especially when it also put a toll on the social connection I had with my loved ones.
Gosh, isolation was – and still is – crazy! After a week of isolation and staring at the same walls, I grew restless, and the psychological impact began to creep in. I tried to drink my mental woes away. My mental health was at risk! The social lives of people were very much affected by all this. No wonder it has caused psychiatric disorders and other medical conditions in others!
Drinking To Decrease Loneliness
Of course, drinking to decrease loneliness did not help my mental health at all. One morning, I woke up with a mental hangover and got ready to buy some meds for it, but then I remembered that I could not leave, so I had to stay in isolation and nurse myself with water. The depression was sinking in. Another mental health condition arose – anxiety, one of the worst psychological problems.
It was my younger sister who helped me – she just got her license to work as a mental health counselor and handled a few psychiatric disorders. It was depressing to be in isolation, and hearing her voice touched my soul. I missed my family and I feel lonely. Clearly, the isolation led to my poor mental health. When I was socially isolated and could not be physically present in my family, it was devastating.
Counseling To Heal Me – What I Did
Every day since then, my sister, the mental health counselor, would talk to me for on my cell phone at least 30 minutes. She would tell me about her day as a mental health counselor and a mom of two playful kids. Despite being socially isolated, it somehow helped my mental health to hear her voice just to stay connected.
Mental Health And Isolation
On my part, I decided to be honest about my feelings about depression and isolation. If anyone could get me out of my depression due to isolation and social distance, it would be my sister who is a mental health counselor. She would often tell me, “In these uncertain times, everyone is prone to mental health issues, especially people who live in isolation,” she explained.
Isolation Final Thoughts
My thoughts about my social isolation experience and my mental health.
I had a tough time with my mental health initially during my isolation. Isolation might have driven my mental health insane if my mental health counselor sister did not reach out to me on time. If there’s anything I understood from the isolation experience, though, it’s that mental health counseling would beat drinking for mental health any day. Health outcomes were far better than when you engaged in drinking. And the fact is, drinking too much is a risk factor for premature mortality!
- How does isolation impact mental health?
- What are 5 mental impacts isolation has on people?
- What mental illnesses can isolation cause?
- What isolation does to a person?
- What happens when you don’t socialize?
- What happens to the brain if you don’t socialize?
- What happens if you isolate yourself for too long?
- Is isolation a form of depression?
- Does isolation cause psychosis?
- Can being alone cause mental illness?