Is there a difference between withdrawal & isolation?

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I have been reading threads about isolation and I know us Carers do our heads in trying to work it out. Yes we understand that it means our Sufferer has overloaded but I wonder this..........

Is there a difference between a PTSD Sufferer withdrawing (to take stock) versus isolating (to avoid).

I am curious to hear what Sufferers have to say about this as I sometimes see Anthony zone out which is what I would call withdrawing and then there are the times when he overloads and actually isolates...IMHO.
Yes, I think there is a difference. When I'm overloaded, I shut down. Nobody home. When I need a breather, I'm still present.
Hi Nicolette,

Yes i agree with Midi, there is a difference. Like she said when I'm overloaded I shut down, no one at home. When I am isolated there tends to be someone home and I'm aware of actions around me but I just don't feel like responding, thus I am quiet.

Hemmy xXx
Hi Nicolette... same here. I can't say it any better than midi or Hemmy but yes, exactly what they said!

I would say that Withdrawal can be about stepping back and taking the time to collect ones thoughts.
Isolation is hiding from oneself and their fears.
IMO in both cases you have to give the person the time and space that they need. Without silence of some type we cannot grow or heal. If the isolation starts to dominate a persons way of living then they need a caring person to remind them that its time to get back into a healthy swing of things.
Isolation for me is cutting off my contacts with the outside world AND my husband - if there are days when I am overloaded and I just need to be alone, I don't reach out to anyone because in that state,I will only end up hurting someone. I know that.

Withdrawing is like everyone says, getting quiet, still being present but not participating. Its also a hard place to be because people accuse you of ignoring them or being 'wierd', sometimes I long to be with people, but I find I don't have the energy to participate, so I just 'be' there. Its just how I am now.

Some days I want to be completely alone, other days I want to be at least near someone, the hardest part is that you never know when one or the other is going to happen. Neither is ever a 'convenient' place to be.
This is very interesting because I would have thought the two were one in the same but now I can see there are subtle differences.

Maybe my bf wanting to spend the day yesterday walking through the woods, sitting and reflecting was more about withdrawal than isolating.

Thanks for the thread and something else to ponder.

For me, when I withdraw it is a reaction to some type of emotion that is overwhelming my mind. Usually this is some source of pain or rejection from a person I trust. It's that reaction of "well yes they were close to me but they will hurt me just the same". The old doomsday feeling like everyone is out to make you sad or hurt. I am present with the surroundings but have a very hard time responding to any language I hear. I guess a temporary mute would explain it.

When I isolate, I am completely checked out and stuck in my head. I feel like I am in survival mode and any outside interference will cause me to die. It almost hurts physically to have people or pets around. I hate their noise and any physical contact feels like I'm being attacked. I become extremely angry and feel like I have no control over what is being "done" to me. I dissociate and months will go by, even years in the past. The only safe place for me is in the bed with the covers over me protecting me like a sheet of armor. In this state, I usually will just wake up one day and it will be over. I never know when.

Thanks for the thread..
This is very interesting because I would have thought the two were one in the same but now I can see there are subtle differences.

This was the exact reason why I posted this thread - so Carers could read from a Sufferer what they viewed their differences to be.

Thanks to all who commented.
I agree, isolation, is completely cutting people off/out. Withdrawal, is more like just taking a break, or a time out. Shorter periods of time, and yet still holding some conversation.....

For me it's kind of like reflecting, or looking inward for a time....Isolating can be weeks for me.....
I pretty much feel the same. For me withdrawl is something I willfully choose to find some peace, try to regroup my thoughts, and to try to think more clearly. Afterwards I usually feel better; it gives me energy.

Isolation on the other hand, I don't really specifically "choose", it's usually acompanied by unhealthy thinking and destructive emotions, saps all my energy, and takes a Herculean effort to pull out of.
I guess I just don't see the harm in isolating or withdrawing. In general I don't like to be around others (offline at least) because they drain my energy too much. I'm much more comfortable crawling into a little hole and not seeing people often like some sort of hermit then everyday life.
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