You didn’t waste my time. But you did certainly take the long way around to ask your question. So — yes, social isolation does affect a person — as it already has affected you. How do you deal with it? You already started by writing your letter to us here at PsychCentral.
I do have to wonder: How are you managing to support yourself living as you do? Either you are independently wealthy or someone is enabling you. If the latter is the case, you are not as socially isolated as you think. It looks to me like your mother hasn’t given up on you if you continue to have a roof over your head and something to eat — or not eat. My guess is that your parents don’t know what to do but hope and hope that you will snap out of this if they just climb into your discouragement with you and leave you alone. That approach avoids fights but it does leave you alone and lonely.
For that reason, I see this as a family case. You need help out of your depressed rut. Your family needs help finding a way to love you and help you without enabling your depression and dependency.
At 18, it’s time for you to get going on adult life. My guess is that you are paralyzed by fear of what that entails. When people are afraid they generally respond with a fight, flight, or freeze reaction. In your case, you are fleeing by freezing. You have allowed yourself to think that if you do nothing, you can’t make a mistake. In some ways it works but the strategy has turned on itself. Now, not doing anything is the mistake. It’s taken on a life of its own. You are depressed and your life is depressing.
You need help facing your fears. You need support to rejoin the social world and to become the fully functioning adult you can be. That means dealing with your sleep disorder. That means engaging in your hobbies for real. (There are millions of kids who enjoy LARPing in the woods and then hanging out. You could be enjoying their company.) That means taking steps to become independent – which means dealing with your social anxiety and either going to school or going to work (or both). None of this is news to you. But maybe I can give you an idea or two about how to approach it:
Your self-esteem will not improve if you hide in your bedroom. It will improve if you start being a contributing member of your family. If you wait until you feel good to do anything, chances are you will remain stuck. Feeling good comes from doing things that are worthwhile. A place to start would be to set your alarm for the morning, get up and take a shower, then do something, anything, that is life-affirming, even something as mundane but important as doing your laundry. You can build from there.
Your family needs help to stop feeling so helpless to help you. They need new tools to support you in dealing with your depression instead of leaving you alone. You didn’t choose to share your relationship with your father. If it is a good one, he may be at a distance but he can still be helpful, both to you and to your mother, through video calls and emails. He just may need some guidance about how best to help.
It’s a tall order for anyone — and any family — to make such a significant change. That’s why I think it’s a team effort. You and your family need the support and practical help that a mental health professional can provide. I hope you will talk to your mother about finding a licensed family therapist to get the advice and support you all need and deserve.
If it has become too hard to talk to her directly, please show this letter to your mother. I suspect she is discouraged and scared. Maybe hearing what I have to say will give her some direction in how to help both of you.
I wish you well.