Episode 60: Isolation, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Molly, tells the story of her depression, bipolar and suicidal ideation, and how ECT (electroshock therapy) has helped her regain her metal health and a more balanced life. Sunday, May 14, 2017.
Isolation—the experience of being separated from others—may result from being physically removed from others, as when a person lives in a remote area, or it can result from the perception of being removed from a community, such as when a person feels socially or emotionally isolated from others. Social isolation is distinct from the experience of solitude, which is simply the state of being alone, usually by choice. Taking time to be alone can be a healthy, rejuvenating experience that allows us to reconnect with our own needs, goals, beliefs, values, and feelings. But when a person experiences too much solitude or feels socially isolated from others, he or she may develop feelings of loneliness, social anxiety, helplessness, or depression, among others.
How Can Therapy Help Isolation?
Therapy can help address the emotional and psychological issues that lead to isolating behaviors. Sometimes isolation is not a matter of choice; some people may report wanting to have friends and engage emotionally, but are unable to do so out of fear or because they do not know how to proceed. In addition, many people battle a sense of isolation during major life transitions, such as when someone loses an intimate partner or close confidant, and others may experience isolation simply because they are physically isolated by living in remote areas. In any case, feelings of isolation can be severely distressing, and therapy can help a person develop social skills and learn to manage symptoms. In fact, the therapeutic process itself provides an opportunity to establish trust with and experience the emotional support of another person, all of which will help a person to live a less isolated existence.