Being lonely a cause of depression?


Have you ever wondered or noticed that when you've been alone for long periods of time you start feeling depressed? We are made to not do life alone but to find trust worthy friends and family to enjoy spending time with. Sure it's good to be alone sometimes but not for long periods of time.


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This is something I can relate to. I live in a complex that was once classified as Sheltered Accommodation, but it's been renamed to Independent Living. The minimum age for getting one the flats (apartments) is 55, but the average age of the residents is much higher and they are all single person flats; there are a couple of doubles, but mostly for single residents. Many have family that call to visit or take them out, but there are a lot left on their own and they do get depressed when no one has been around for a while. The Covid-19 situation has exacerbated the situation so it's ever more important for the residents to alleviate the loneliness by communicating with each other; that's a bigger ask than it may seem as they have had a tendency to isolate themselves whilst relying on their families.

I also know an elderly lady that lives elsewhere (not far from where I am) and is alone in her bungalow. I call her every day on the telephone and chat for up to an hour and she suffers terribly from depression. Her family lives in Spain so not easy to arrange visits, she's also housebound and can't go out on her own.

I don't think I suffer from depression because of loneliness, I guess I'm used to living a solitary life, but sometimes, depending on my mood and whether there have been any altercations between residents, I feel the loneliness pressing inwards. It's also not an easy affliction to explain or even rationalise at times, so for those who don't suffer from depression they have nothing by which make a comparison - this would explain their lack of understanding and compassion when someone is suffering and they tell you to 'snap out of it' if only it were that simple.
I never really experienced this because I force myself to stay active, but it hit me during the worst months of Covid when I wouldn't leave the house for days. I think that time period was rough for everyone. I wasn't working, I couldn't see friends or family who I am used to seeing often. It was just me and my partner in the house for months. For me, the cause and effect are often reversed. My depression causes me to feel lonely even if I'm a room full of friends.


I don't know if I get depressed when I'm lonely but sometimes I do get sad or down on myself if I'm lonely for long periods of time (like a week with not seeing people) I have to try to force myself sometimes to hangout with people too and I always feel much better after doing so.


I get depressed sometimes too when I'm alone. I try to spend lots of time with people although lately with the pandemic that's harder to do.