Living Alone? Science Says You’re Probably Depressed (Thanks, Science)by Lauren Passell on March 26, 2012
A new study came out in Science Daily saying that people living alone had an almost 80 percent higher risk for depression. To me, those sound like the kind of results that you’d come up with if you didn’t actually talk to people living alone, and you only paid heed to their stigma. People who live alone are freaking lucky. And they know they are, despite those moments of sadness they have when they don’t have someone to eat dinner with or someone to make clean the litter box.
The study doesn’t seem completely trustworthy to me. Researchers “studied the living arrangements with psychosocial, sociodemographic, and health risk factors, including smoking, heavy drinking and low physical activity, to antidepressant use of 3,500 Finnish men and women.”
But, says Dr. Laura Pulkki-Råback of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health:
This kind of study usually underestimates risk because the people who are at the most risk tend to be the people who are least likely to complete the follow up. We also were not able to judge how common untreated depression was.
So… untreated depression, they don’t have those numbers. And depressed people = people on anti-depressants? I’m not convinced. Plus, everyone knows that it is bomb-ass to live by yourself. Have the whole bed for just you. Do whatever weird-ass activity you want to do. Eat the same takeout every night without feeling judged. ETCETERA. And living together can be frustrating if your partner doesn’t DO EVERYTHING YOU SAY.
Living alone was one of my favorite things about living in New York City. I never for a second wished there was anyone there with me. But I will say, I had some sad moments. Once on a freezing Friday in February when I didn’t have anyone to hang out with, I was feeling lonely and walked by a pizzeria, and from the street through the glass, I watched a couple sit down and cheers their pizza slices like they were glasses of champagne. I stopped right in the window, staring at them like a smudge-nosed orphan and got tears in my eyes. They didn’t sit down and say, “hey, let’s cheers our pizza like champagne glasses!” They just did it, obviously, because they were part of each other’s lives and you could tell they did it all the time. They had that. I never felt as lonely as I did at that moment, and was convinced I would be alone forever and after I was done gawking at the couple trying to enjoy their adorable pizza, I went home and watched Dirty Dancing alone in my underwear. That was a low point. But once the movie was over I kind of looked around and was like, “I think I’m okay. I’m going to make it.” And I continued to be very happy living alone.
Until I moved in with my boyfriend, which is really great too. But sometimes I get depressed when he uses all the iPhone chargers or prioritizes his sneaker collection over me. See? Everyone gets depressed sometimes.
But what’s wrong with crying in your underwear while you’re watching Dirty Dancing? What’s wrong with being a little sad? It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re depressed.