Loneliness or depression?

It’s normal to feel lonely from time to time. Anyone who’s been single for longer than a couple of months is probably used to this feeling. It sneaks up on you at strange places too. At the movies. While watching TV. Talking with friends. Feeling lonely from time to time is natural and you shouldn’t try to deny that feeling. Allow yourself to accept that loneliness will come into your life every so often, you deal with it, and then you move on. Unless you’ve gone through a recent breakup of a longtime relationship, loneliness shouldn’t be any every-day, 24-7 feeling that prevents you from being social or even getting out of bed. If you feel that way, it’s actually depression.

Depression is a serious problem. Having suffered from it myself, I know the mind games you can play on yourself. You fixate on the loneliness because it’s something concrete. You’d feel silly fixating on the clouds blocking the sun or that your dinner didn’t turn out quite as expected (though certainly in the worst phases of depression, that can happen too); not having somewhere there to comfort you is very real, in-your-face, and accessible to obsessive thoughts. Thus you think you’d feel better if only you had someone, and that special someone will make everything all right.

The truth is that no one has that amount of power over you. Meeting someone to talk to, date, and have sex with doesn’t make depression go away. You won’t feel lonely, but the depression will take other forms. You’ll obsess over losing that person or lash out at them for no real reason as the depression turns into anger. No, meeting someone won’t make your depression go away, it will just turn into another form.

If you don’t feel life is worth living on your own, what could you possibly offer someone else? You need to know that you’re a wonderful person who does good things regardless of other people’s feedback and approval. Feeling that no one will ever love you is a sign of low self-esteem and that just makes you less attractive to the opposite sex (or the same one). No one wants to be with someone who’s depressed because, well, it’s depressing. Yes, it’s true that sometimes pain draws two people together, but those relationships typically explode in horrific ways. Most of the time, it’s someone’s positiveness that draws others to them; it’s the way that you make people feel when they’re around you that creates attraction.

When you’re depressed, that’s the energy you give off and others will feel worse around you. This begins a vicious cycle where you’re depressed because you’re alone, but others won’t be attracted to you because you’re depressed. If you find yourself in this situation, your only option is to address the depression yourself. You cannot wait for someone to come along and make it their responsibility to lift you up out of your current state. That’s too much pressure to put on anyone. You need to make your life special, rediscover the wonderful things in your life and just how great of a person you are. You need to create the person that will be attractive to others: a confident, kind, caring, and fun person.

If you’re tired of being single and feel like loneliness is crushing you, it may very well be depression speaking. Please, seek help from a counsellor and get to the bottom of it. Everyone deserves to be loved by someone, but by not addressing your real problems, you’re keeping that special someone away. When you’re truly content in your life, being alone isn’t nearly as crippling as when you’re depressed. As a bonus, when you’re content in your life, you’ll have something truly wonderful to share with someone else.

17 thoughts on “Loneliness or depression?”

  1. Being lonely can be depressing, but you’re right it is NOTHING compared to BEING clinically depressed. When I get in a funk about being lonely I ask myself “If THE guy came into my life right now would I be prepared physically and financially to get married?” Right now and for the past year the answer is NO.

    So instead of focusing on being lonely I need to focus on saving money and getting rid of the ridiculous amount of stuff I own. But most of all be sure that I am ready to bring happiness into a relationship.

  2. No no no. Having someone by your side really can brighten up your life. Too much loneliness kills a person. A girl should know better and not accept assholes. Go for the guy who’s lonely who will turn out to be great and heart-warming.

    I have a policy when I don’t like a girl. If I get asked out by a girl (which pretty much never happens), I have a sworn oath to take them out on one date. And who knows? Maybe I’ll get attracted to them instead of blowing them off. I strongly suggest that to all girls out there. Give the nice guy a chance.

    Otherwise, you have a mental problem.

  3. Loneliness IS killing me…I used to be so popular, happy, confident, HAPPY…then I got into an abusive relationship years ago when my ex boyfriend stalked me after hitting me and then took a knife out on me and threatened to kill me and himself…I talked my way out of it, and later developed PTSD and a fear of getting too deep too fast and want to get to know a man’s temper and honesty level, and also if he cares how I am feeling, instead of just himself. My big problem is that I CAN trust, sometimes too quickly, but then pull away if I think I might be rejected. I then end up usually rejecting men and then coming right back to them, which pisses them off or confuses them. To make matters worse, I recently gained about 10 pounds from being depressed, because I am single, which makes me less attractive, more likely to feel low, which is unattractive, which keeps me single, which makes me depressed….CIRCLE, CYCLE, CIRCLE….MAJOR MAJOR SADNESS….then I feel angry at the men who easily could have made less selfish choices and actually loved, instead of just expecting me to only serve their needs…leaving me, DEPRESSED, OF COURSE. IT’S SO FRUSTRATING. I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING. THERAPY, FRIENDS, NOT CARING, BEING BUSY, ETC. THE ONLY THING THAT “HELPS” ARE MEDS FOR ANXIETY…WHICH IS BASICALLY JUST LIKE DRUGS GETTING SOMEONE THROUGH. I think it is BULLSH** to tell someone to be ‘positive’ and then people will like me more…plenty of people like me, in fact, I can be so ‘positive’ and caring that most people USE me…which makes me depressed. What else am I supposed to feel??!!??? I hate people sometimes. Because I love people and care about them, only to find I am the only one usually doing any of the ‘caring’. Is life only about suffering? After all I have survived…and for what? For this??!!?? Are people mostly just emotional predators?!? Men just want sex? There are so few nice people, who have morals or play fair or have compassion. I go around helping everyone and being so supportive. When I ask for a little support, nobody is around. I usually hide my sadness (mostly)…so it’s not like I’m a pain or anything. Other people can cry on my shoulder, but not usually there for me…Which is…depressing!! Is it too much to ask that a man actually be my best friend? Why is it that most men want me to be their little servant for their ego, etc…whatever happened to love?????Ridiculous!

  4. im having the same loneliness depression. and i think this memory will keep going over and over in my mind. although theres this girl that i like and she likes me but i dont think she might like me as we start to go out. and i may think she may cheat on me. but i would ask her out but she just finished a relationship with her ex and her ex still loves her and i dont think now will be the time to ask her out. but the longer i wait the more depressed i get and i loose confidence in my love life. i need advice quick !

  5. im feeling extremely frustrated. sometimes i wish i could just scream and brake things. this is the second time i feel this way about one person and i thought it will never happen again after the first. we got together, had sex and then she went off to victoria(im in vancouver). I went to visit her a couple of times and it was great, she sent me messages saying she wishes i was there and she misses me bla bla bla. i fell in love and the signs she was giving me was like the ones of previous long term relationships..so… i asked her to be my girlfriend.. to date me..and of course she said no.. we can hang out but no dating. so i thought well maybe just give it time. time didnt do anything, still just hang out. this made me very insecure and worried since i felt so strong about her. well eventually my insecurity and frustration toulk over my mind and made me tell her that im done with this. now im so fricken mad at myself for doing that and i still think about her everyday, i want to cry when i think about her. it feels like someone is shoving a pillow in my face and cutting off my oxygen. maybe im just needing some sex, maybe i just need someone else.. what the hell is this.. is there a pill i can take to make this feeling go away? i have a headache from all the memories of her going through my head today and making me miss her sooo much. AAAAHHHH!!! i dont want to meet a girl in a bar, i just want that magical hollywood encounter with the girl of my dreams and get married. the journey to find love is truly painfull. the thought of being 50 and still not found it scares me more than a close encounter with a pissed off lion.

  6. I think its important to make distinctions. Loneliness is often the pain of being alone…feeling isolated or lacking of meaningful relationships on many levels.

    Depression is the long lasting feeling of hopelessness. We feel that there is no hope in our lives for happiness, and that becomes a factor in why we don’t have the same ambition toward our activities.

    They can most certainly feed off of each other. I think that when a person has become lonely for a long period of time it develops into depression. While it is very possible for a person to be Depressed and not be lonely, i have not really seen anyone be lonely and not be Depressed.

    And you are correct, meeting someone on a superficial level….casually dating or having sex. Will not make either problem go away. If you are lonely, only a deeply meaningful relationship will bring you fulfillment. If you are Depressed for reasons other than loneliness, no one person can really help you. But, that does not mean a person is not fit for a relationship per say. We all come into relationships as humans which means we have flaws.

    No one person has completely intact self esteem. We are always in the process of building it up or having it torn down. Usually when we leave a relationship its time to build our self esteem. At this point, being a lone can be rewarding and needed. If we spend too much time alone that self esteem comes down again. if we find a good relationship, we are more than likely filling up on positive energy to repair our self esteem. Our relationships are usually a reflection of what we have lacked in our life thus far.

    I think simply, we need to admit (even though its not popular) that humans need to couple in meaningful relationships in order the have deep fulfillment in there lives. A lot of people may truly not need this, but the majority do. This is why being alone for a long time becomes an emotional problem that leads to depression. Loneliness / Depression in itself is the leading factor in the causes of suicide.

  7. well people do get to fifty and dont find it.are they supposed to kill themselves?
    nearly there and that is how i feel

  8. I’ve been single for about a year now, my last relationship was amazing and fulfilling in every way. I was happy 99% of the time and always gave the girl i was with the utmost attention. Needless to say I put a lot into that relationship and when it failed, my entire world came crashing down. I’ve been able to move on in some ways, I’m completely detached from the girl I was with. I am absolutely miserable living the single life and for the life of me cannot figure out the reason I’m still single. I can’t see, which is probably going to put me at a disadvantage as far as first impressions are concerned, but my situation now is that of despair and fear. I’m sick of being unhappy, and i’m sick of going for a girl I’m seriously interested in and failing, I need to do something, this isn’t getting better, on the contrary, it’s becoming worse all the time.

  9. Matt I feel the same way and I’m in the same situation, I’m just getting worst I have been separated for a year now, after a 9 year relationship.

  10. for some people who have been alone for a while, you cant just tell them to find self-worth. thats like telling a blind person to “just see”…

    some people know that they are great people and are probably fun to hang around with. problem is most of us never get into the position to show a girl that. we never meet girls, we dont go out because its either not our thing or we are socially anxious (which is a real problem). so going to clubs and bars are out of the question.

    take me for example, im depressed because i am lonely. my first gf told me that i was actually the perfect bf and i was what every girl looked for in a guy. im funny, friendly, respectful, selfless, attractive, fit, helpful, considerate, caring, sweet. i never raised my voice and always respected her.
    ive been single for over a year now. im never put into the position to show a girl my personality. girls dont come up to me, the girls in my class have absolutely no interest in me, all my female co workers are like 30 years older than me, the 2 girls that ive met since the break up both have boyfriends even though they clearly showed some interest in me.
    so as you can see, most of us depressed guys know we are great people. we are just never put into the position and are unable to put ourselves into the position which we can meet women.

  11. @hatakilla

    hatakilla i know how you feel. This article makes sense yet it doesnt talk about what you said: the fact that there are people out there who know that they’re wonderful and attractive smart funny etc but who just dont happen to get the opportunity to show it to anyone! I like everything about me and i am grateful for that! But it brings me down that there’s no one to share it with, (except my friends but i mean about the opposite sex) It’s like my personality is going “to waste.” it may sound silly but i believe i am a great girl and there’s no one who sees it. I go out a lot but guys seem hesitant and i’ve been single for ovet a year and a half! I just dont know where to meet guys even though i’m out a lot. At 24 it shouldnt be so hard:( I work with kids so the workplace isnt helping. Anyway it’s really sad to see that so many people are feeling depressed, i truly hope everyone finds that small light to trigger their motivation and start feeling better. It’s really depressing too when some things aren’t in your power and you just have to wait for an opportunity ex.someone u wanna be with.

    I feel like i’m wasting away! Burning out!! I’ve lost all interest in my hobbies and i drag myself to work. Too bad no one out there knows since i’m always laughing and joking around:/ Loneliness is toughto fight an sometimes it’s not about low self esteem; a person can love themselves and still feel lonely, simply because they havent met anyone to acknowledge it. Good luck everyone! I wont say anything cliche because it doesnt matter how much faith you have, i see it’s all a matter of luck. If only we could all be a bit positive to at least make the wait bearable.
    But how?

  12. There is a difference to feeling hopeless and actually living a hopeless life. I have been isolated and lonely since i was 10. Im now 29, have a bad abusive marriage behind me and nothing has changed, I’m still alone, but I now accept my lot. I don’t like it but its better to accept it than to have it drag you down to the depths of hell where you pop pills to sleep cos dreams, even bad ones are better than a nothing reality. I recently met a wonderful man. Of course i could never ask him out because we are just about friends. The first proper friend since…i don’t really know actually. He is my masseur, so i basically pay him to be my friend. Yes i know its weird. He can’t understand why i have no friends. He says that someone as warm, caring, confident, intelligent and fun as me should be over-run with friends. I guess I’m just one of those throwaway people. Im fun to be around and chat to but no one wants to take it further. In the end i take my joy from the little things in life rather than relying on people. Chronic loneliness doesn’t equal depression. Sometimes it just means your life is destined to take another way. I raise money for charity through physical challenges, i paint and read and cook, i help people when they need it and don’t expect them to be there for me. If i start to sink then i just pull myself together and get on with life knowing sooner or later it’ll go away. I would love to have coffee mornings with people and go out for dinner rather than be alone but on the other hand since i am alone i am not going to let it break me.

  13. I have just been diagnosed with depression I am 43 and never had a girlfreind I suffer from chronic shyness and I am now trying to do something about it

  14. I have something in common with you all. I’m only 23 and was in 1 long term relationship only because I asked him out. I haven’t been in a serious relationship in 2 years and I’m already convinced that there is something wrong with me. I am a pretty girl and men do approach me often. The problem is that they are usually ugly, fat, have no car/job. I know there’s the saying beggars can’t be choosers but if I give into a loser, I will be more depressed. The men that I am interested in never seem to be interested in me. I work out and eat right, most of the
    time but I have gained over 2 years because I eat when I have nothing to do. I have no female friends because I’ve had bad experiences with multiple girls, do when I do go out its by myself. I have 1 male friend and he always wants me to do things for him. Kinda like I’m his assistance since he owns his own company. I tolerate it because he is the only friend I have. I love my family and I know they’re always there, but sometimes I would like the love and support from someone outside of my family. All my cousin are married and/or have kids (except my cousins who don’t have a job). It seems everyone around me has someone outside of their family to be there. I have really no friend, I’m no where near getting a boyfriend, I have a hard time getting close to other females, I have a job, I have a car, in school, and u can be funny, but only if I’m happy. I feel like my best times in life are already over so why am I working to make money? Why do anything anymore?

  15. I have read a lot of the comments on here and they are really interesting.

    I am currently under my Doctor, for clinical depression and some of what I have read here I can relate to.

    I get angry when people say pull yourself together and make an effort easy to say but very hard to do.

  16. Here is my story: My ex and I were together 2 years he moved in with me after of a few months of dating. We broke up because he cheated on me with several females and yes I took him back a few times until I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. When I saw him and the girl he was cheating with me on out to eat together. I was hurt behind it all because I taught that he really wanted to be with me. He would tell me he love me and would never turn his back on me and would help me pay bills and we would do things together. But he was a liar. Long story short he has moved on and I am lonely and depressed can’t seem to find the right person that wants to be apart of my life. I keep thinking about the way things use to be when he was with me. He want to tell me how happy he is now and how he a changed person. I don’t believe it I think he just trying to hurt me more. Yes I think without question he living with another chick but he has not changed I don’t think that I still want to be with him or have real feelings for him its that fact that I am lonely and that he still living his life that hurts me. I want to be happy and move on with my life but I keep thinking about the hurtful things that happen to me in the pass. He said he want us to be cool with no beef but he keep doing things to hurt me. I know its my own fault because I keep responding to him>

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