Depressed: Should I Be Alone?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I currently own a house with my fiancée, who I have been with for about six and a half years. I have been depressed as long as I can remember. I first went to the doctors about it when I was 16, but it started way before that.

Recently, in about the past 10 years, it has got a lot worse. I know my thoughts were irrational before, but now they seem completely logical. I go from being very down to being excited and optimistic, but more often than not I feel very depressed.

I find it exceptionally difficult to talk to anyone about it and I manage to put on a facade to make sure nobody knows. It has slipped though, a few people now know. Two by accident and my fiancée who I told, as I needed her to know why I wasn’t ready for marriage. I get very edgy knowing that people know and every time someone tries to talk to me about it, it makes me so much worse. As a result, I find it very difficult to go to the doctors to try to get help. On top of that, I seem to actually enjoy it. I suppose I want to be depressed so I have an excuse for things I haven’t done well in or tried hard enough in. Nothing specific, but just a general excuse.

I really dislike being around other people, but I very rarely get any time to myself. I spend a lot of time driving alone in my car, but it’s not the same. When I am alone I feel worse, but I also feel like I’m processing some of the thoughts and feelings. It seems to help, but my fiancée is very demanding. I’ve spoken to her about it, but it doesn’t change anything.

I’ve thought about breaking up with her, but I know it would tear her world apart. Owning a house makes it very awkward as well, but just knowing I would cause her pain really hurts me.

The thing is, I don’t know if it’s me that’s thinking these things. I can’t tell the difference between me and my depression any more. The only way I can describe it is that the depression is like a virus. It controls me now. Every time I try to break through, it covers me up. Now I don’t know whether I’m making decisions and thoughts or it is.

I just don’t know what to do, but I do know I can’t go on like this.

I really feel that I need to get away from everything, either going somewhere completely new or somewhere more familiar.
Am I right about needing to be alone?

Do I need to do what I feel I want to do, or is that not me that wants those things?

I really feel I need to break up with my fiancée, but I don’t know if that will make me any worse or better.

Although I have thought about how I would kill myself, I know I would never do it as I have a great family and I know they would be devastated. I just need something to change.

A. I believe that being alone would hurt rather than help your situation. When you’re alone, you say that you tend to think more. The more you think about your life and situation, it seems as though you become more depressed. On one hand, being alone allows you to feel less pressure from your fiancée but on the other hand, it leads to a deeper level of depression.

Social isolation is a risk factor for suicide. That is a concern primarily because you mentioned suicide. You wrote that you will not commit suicide but it has crossed your mind. The only thing keeping you from committing suicide is your concern regarding its negative impact on your family. If left alone, cut off from the world and others, the risk is that you may change your mind and attempt to end your life and no one will be there to stop you. I don’t think you should take this chance.

What may be most helpful for you at this juncture is to seek professional help. As you mentioned, you recognize this is a problem that you are struggling to solve. You’ve dealt with depression for at least a decade. It is robbing you of living a full and happy life. It is negatively affecting your relationships and most likely other areas of your life as well.

Before you decide to make a major change in your life, consider meeting with a therapist. Depression clouds judgment. Impaired judgment may lead to mistakes. For instance, you might regret ending your relationship with your fiancée. You don’t want to make that mistake or any other. A therapist is an objective observer. He or she can help analyze whether your judgment is correct or being driven by your depression. He or she can then advise you accordingly.

In the midst of depression, individuals may find it difficult to believe their situation can improve. It can and it has for many, many people. It is important that you know that depression is curable. It is not a condition that can be cured overnight but with time, patience, support, effort on your part, a will to live and oftentimes a good therapist, you can overcome your long-standing depression.

Unfortunately, I do not have a link for mental health services in your country of residence but if you speak with your doctor he or she may be able to provide you with a referral to a qualified therapist.

I hope you will strongly consider seeking professional help. You have struggled with depression for many years and it’s time to get help. I wish you well. Thank you for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Apr 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Depressed: Should I Be Alone?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/04/19/depressed-should-i-be-alone/