Feeling lonely is often considered to be the starting point of depression, but it is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. Felling lonely doesn’t mean one is depressed, but yes prolonged feeling of loneliness coupled with a few more symptoms can lead to depression.

Having said so let’s understand the difference between the two:

When a person feels lonely, he/she doesn’t like to move out of the bed and tends to become a couch potato, longing for a text or a call from a friend.

But, when a person is depressed, he isolates himself from the world. Loses interest in things enjoyed once. Over a period of time, starts feeling numb and remain caged in deep thoughts to find an answer.

Understand whether the feeling is depression or loneliness.

Depression: it is a kind of mental illness which affects thinking and behavioral pattern of a person.

Loneliness: people feel a void within – a feeling of sadness, isolation and rejection. The person feels low or sometimes too low due to being alone.

Depression: Clinical depression leaves one with thinking that cuts off from reality. Bouts of sadness can go on for days and days. It can even leave a person emotionally numb.

Loneliness: It is a feeling of emptiness. One loses connection with the people around.

Depression: It may not be a resultant of a grave circumstance, event or loss. It can happen otherwise too.

Loneliness: It happens following an unanticipated life change or loss of a close relationship. Loneliness can be a short term feeling but can prolong too. When it does, it brings grave outcomes.

Depression: it soaks in all the energy, capability and motivation to enjoy life. Such people do not trust other people and generally stay away in opening up about their feelings with others.

Loneliness: it can be cured by talking to people, social connection or getting the intimacy one craves for.

How to overcome loneliness?

Having an intimate relationship with closed ones and not always an intimate one can help one find peace, not necessarily a sexual relationship though.

Feeling lonely is just like any other feeling. One must not overreact when such a thing happens. Let it pass. A memory must have triggered it, one is not actually lonely.

Talk to your near and dear ones. It can get painful. Every time someone feels low or falling into a rut of sadness and isolation, it is advisable to talk to someone. Start new friendships, cultivate new relationships.

Notice emotional and mental habits of loneliness. Every time an emotional habit tries to takes over, start a conversation, initiate a relationship.

Shift focus from your lonely thoughts. Whenever one feels lonely, shifting focus on other people is good. Looking at people and feeling a gratitude for having the life one has is helpful.

Unfortunately, depression is far widely accepted and recognized in the social strata than loneliness. But as said earlier, it could be the beginning of depression and must not be taken lightly. It is one of the first symptoms of falling into depression. Loneliness can lead to early death too.

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