Social connection – or, in the case of mental health, isolation – has been proven to have key fundamental effects on the human body and mind. In fact, loneliness has been found to be a contributor towards mental health issues. Logically, it makes sense. If we are wired to thrive on human connection, then the lack of it results in a core imbalance that, depending on the individual in question, can have significant effects (especially over long periods of time). It may sound strange – particularly to those who are introverted or prefer to spend more time alone than in the company of others – but loneliness has been attributed to mental health issues for quite some time, and the logic makes sense.
There are various coping mechanisms or treatment methods that one can invest in to improve their physical health, such as taking supplements such as Ashwagandha (which combats stress), or trusting in the professional assistance of an accredited, licensed professional. But when it comes to mental health, it can be a little trickier to figure out the appropriate channels or methods to treat the illness. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and yet it has a certain stigma that, even after so much awareness and discussion around the topic, has yet to definitively lift.
Mental health issues often correlate with the individual in question pulling away from the world around them, including the people they are close to. While this often comes as a surprise to the loved ones around the person, the individual themselves may not even realise that they are pulling away. The fog that mental health can inflict on a person can be difficult to see one’s way out of, and the reality is that once it settles, individuals affected can sometimes lose all sense of anything outside of it, even forgetting about how those around them think or feel.
When suffering mentally, the coping mechanism is most often to block out everything – literally, everything. The mentality that comes with this is that if the person allows nothing in, then nothing can affect them. The reality is quite different. When they block everything out, they often do not think of the consequences of doing so in the heat of the moment, and then when they find themselves lost in the chaos of the dark it can become all-consuming. The result of this is inevitably that the fog that began to engulf the person in the first place becomes darker until it is a cloak as black as the night. This is the epitome of loneliness, a manifestation of all the isolation.
Loneliness has been connected to depression, often as a direct correlation of the stress that an individual feels. As people get stressed, they lash out, and then pull away from those around them. As they pull away, they begin to fall into a pattern of trusting people less and less, effectively isolating themselves further from social connection and giving rise to the inky black fog of mental health issues. There are many channels to get assistance from when suffering mental health issues, including mental health hotlines, family and friends, partners, community support groups, and professional therapists.
Each of these channels is based on human connection, and investing in any one of them (or multiple, if you feel you need them) is key to finding one’s way out of the struggle. Struggle is temporary. Help is always there – even if it is hard to accept to begin with – and it is always absolutely fine and encouraged to ask for help. The way out of the dark is to accept the guidelines offered to you.