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    • #14661

      Far too often we hear that a side effect of depression is social isolation, or a desire to be alone. While this can be true for some people, it isn’t a generalized and widespread “rule” or statement that applies to everyone. Since my diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in early 2016, I have more desire to be alone than ever before.

      I used to be a complete social butterfly; organizing birthdays, dinners and weekends away with friends. I also belonged to a number of sports teams, held volunteer roles and had no problem staying out until the wee hours of the morning socializing before getting up for work the next day. This is no longer a life I can keep up with, nor do I want to.

      I value time on my own, and I need the quiet to recharge and rejuvenate. When I opt to spend time alone, it is not because I’m experiencing depression from my fatal lung disease, I think time on my own is healthy. I know how to be alone and I enjoy it. It may mean that I choose not to attend a social event, or spend several days by myself in my PJs just resting and relaxing, but it doesn’t mean I am depressed.

      I have had friends voice their concerns that I spend “too much” time on my own. What they don’t realize is how tired I am (how tired all of us are) at the end of a day of either working, appointments, rehab exercises, etc. They don’t, and never will get the fatigue that comes from living with a lung disease and despite explaining this over and over, they still think my desire to be alone is odd. When I am by myself, I also don’t have to explain anything to anyone, or deal with people worrying about me and honestly, sometimes this is just easier.

      Do you value time on your own moreso since your diagnosis of IPF/PF? 


      Are others in your life (carers, friends, family members) who worry that you’re experiencing depression if you want to spend more time on your own?



    • #14680
      Cooper P Abrams III

        Well said! I too have times like this. Plus, poeple are aways asking how I are which is hard to answer. If I say “okay”, well I am lieing. I can enjoy just being alone with my thoughts. Helps me recoperate.

        • #14688

          Hi Cooper,

          Thanks so much for your reply and for writing to me about this topic. It is a hard one, and I like what you mentioned about not answering “I’m okay” when others ask. Like you, when I say this in response to being asked I feel like I’m lying. However, at the same time, it is easier to just say I’m fine as opposed to launching into what is really going on in my mind. This is why I find it easier to just stay at home and within my own thoughts, or among people who “get it”. It’s nice to have a few friends who know that when I say “I’m fine” that I’m really not anyways. These friends are few and far between though, as they don’t have a chronic illness so they don’t understand.

          My time alone helps me rejuvenate and feel better as well. Thanks for sharing your experience with me 🙂

          Wishing you well,

      • #14777
        Katie Bagshawe

          Hey Charlene! I totally get this as I’ve always been a bit of a “loner” ever since I was a kid and people could never relate to my desire at wanting to be left to my own devices. Personally I think everyone should find their own company perfectly acceptable as it helps form self acceptance and tuning into your own mental health by having quiet time away from others where perhaps you can truly figure out how you’re coping. As long as you say, that you don’t isolate yourself completely or begin to form negative controlling thoughts, then I don’t see why it should be so taboo to spend time by yourself. Personally I have travelled on my own, I often go to the cinema on my own or go out walking now my Dad has died since he used to come with me, it’s all perfect respite for a bit of golden silence. Not to mention the best opportunity to watch the world go by and observe the perfect moments in the simple moments such as leaves falling or the sound of birdsong. It all encourages a better and more positive outlook and attitude.

          • #14801

            Couldn’t agree more with what you shared Katie, especially the piece around the importance of accepting your own company and the importance of being okay with time away from others! Being alone is actually now my biggest coping strategy, which differs completely from the person I used to be before my diagnosis. This is the biggest changed I’ve endured since being diagnosed with IPF – going from a complete extrovert to introvert, and only wanting to be around certain people for a certain length of time. It’s a weird change, but one that I am okay with. I like my bubble, and it gives me time to rejuvenate and rest while getting different projects done around home which then ultimately make me feel better too.

            I like what someone else also said about lonely vs. alone, that is an important distinction and if someone is feeling lonely then definitely I’d encourage them to reach out for more support. Someday, once transplant is done, I can’t wait to travel on my own and add more destination stamps to my passport. I feel as though this would be so very soul-filling! 🙂

            Thanks as always for writing.

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