Feeling detached is one of the most unique and painful parts of experiencing depression. The exact definition is slippery because it’s a deeply interior personal sense. It’s the painful feeling of being completely detached from people and things.
Depressed people occupy a place, but are not always a part of things. They talk to people, but they don’t feel part of other people’s lives. They feel always lacking. Never completely whole. Hollow.
These feelings are very powerful, and in many cases deeply unconscious and embedded in the psyche, resulting in people isolating and sabotaging their happiness. The intensity of these feelings is commensurate to the severity of the depression.
Why do depressed people feel so detached from others?
On one level there is a continuous loop of comparison going on a subtle level. We argue it comes from three things, past trauma and hurts, and the subsequent egocentric and ruminations (thinking), coupled with feelings of inferiority and low self esteem (feelings and behaviours).
Painful past filled with loss – distorted thinking – painful and unhealthy feeling and living
Psychological memories and trauma
Childhood and upbringing play a crucial part in the development and persistence of depression. In a simple way, feelings of aloneness and separation of form when young, especially the child who felt that his or her parents were not be able to protect them.
Nervous dispositions come out of feeling unprotected. These deep seated feelings of aloneness and separation are planted and often grow and wreak havoc later in life especially in situations when apparent security and safety becomes less apparent – like job loss, relationship separation or financial insecurity.
What can also get lost in this is the ability to see life from a providential perspective, valuing others as co-equal human beings entitled to the same respect, dignity and worth as you. Harmful world-views oriented toward survival and domination produce rotten fruit like broken relationships, mistrust and abuse.
The Ruminating Mind
Depressed people chew things over way too much. They go over similar thoughts again in again in almost an automotive and aggressive fashion. Often about past injuries and people; if that’s not the case it’s worrying about new situations and potential threat.
The worry of the future again comes from the fear of not being adequately supported. This is a by-product of the aforementioned trauma and is an outworking of a mind continuously opposed to acceptance of the present moment. Excessive thought leads to the paralysis of analysis and elevating yourself into the citadel-of-self, judging others and putting people down in order to feel better about yourself.
Deep Feelings of inferiority, worthlessness and low self esteem
Feelings of inferiority are universal and not necessarily unique to depressed people, although it’s very common for all depressed people to feel low about themselves. Depressed people tend to feel naturally detached. If feelings are deeply blocked it is common to feel cut off from people and the richness of life. In this state other people can seem so rich, whole and complete while you are left behind.
How to beat feeling so detached?
Realise that feelings are not just feelings. There is a cause to why people feel this way. It’s not good enough to ignore them either. They must be confronted.
One helpful way to confront them is to document them, by noting and tracking your mood. See if there are any connections between times of day and certain moods. People who do this are able to see that good and bad feelings come and go. Feelings are not necessarily permanent but more of a sensation like the weather.
Also, and this must be stressed, perform activities to stop the illusions of mental barriers between you and other people. These include learning to listen, helping others and sharing your life. This also may be doing some voluntary work if you are unemployed, participating in some cause that helps clean the earth. There are so many opportunities to take hold of. Be creative and make that first step. Learn to do things that will help you forget about yourself and your thoughts.
Realise that no matter how bad you feel about yourself, how bad your situation is, whatever may have happened to you, that these things can and do happen to human beings and that you are unique, loved and valued in spite of all your angry feelings against yourself.
I believe this is a fundamental truth, it’s just that depression perverts it so profoundly. Believing this in your heart is a leap of faith for people. Make the leap.
The solution is often found with other people, especially when you’re so drawn into yourself. So learn of others, let them into your life, humble your preconceptions for just a moment and learn to live and accept life on its terms.
We want to to live a live that is not detached. We want you enriched by the community and diversity of life.
People can and do beat depression but it is a long term commitment. Thanks for reading remember to leave comments below (Facebook or WordPress) and follow How I Beat Depression on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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