When we begin to explore loneliness more closely, we can also recognize its close relationship to depression. But what comes first – depression or loneliness? Well, I suppose that it depends. 🙂
We are a relationship species and seek connection in order to feel secure and safe. This doesn’t always mean an intimate partner; however, living without someone to share life with can often increase the amount of time we may have to battle the blues. When we seek solitude, that feels very different from loneliness, and we can spend time alone and be content. Loneliness tends to be more pervasive; a feeling that we are alone and struggle in feeling disconnected. Over time, this can easily lead to depression.
Depression is also an isolating illness and we tend to cocoon when feeling blue. The longer we stay disengaged, the greater the chances will be that loneliness also takes up space as we deny invitations out and spend more time alone.
Perhaps what tends to be most important is to identify how you are feeling and move from there to battle the blues. If loneliness has crept in, the best course of action is to build your time; making sure that you are spending enough time with people you care about in order to feel connected and secure. And if depression is setting in, act as if you are better – accept the invitations, attend regular activities, take the phone calls.
In either case, you will be putting your emotional health first when struggling with the side effects of what isolates us naturally.