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It’s hard when you feel invisible. Perhaps when you try to say something, others talk over you. Maybe when you speak, it feels like nobody is listening.
When you feel this way, it can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Feeling invisible can be a lonely and isolating cycle.
When you’re with people, it seems they know you’re there and recognize you, yet you still feel overlooked, unheard, and unseen. When you find the courage to speak up, it doesn’t feel like anyone hears you.
Over time, the consistent feeling of invisibility and unimportance can erode your self-esteem and self-confidence and shift your mindset from positive thinking to catastrophizing. You’re left to feel as if you don’t matter, which couldn’t be further from the truth!
In order to move past this feeling, a person must do the work. You need to dig down and develop a deeper insight into why you feel invisible so that you can make a plan to take positive steps toward changing it.
Feeling heard, seen, and cared for is essential and integral to feeling loved and safe. Today I’m sharing potential reasons why you feel invisible and how you can counteract and change these feelings.
By the end of the article, you’ll be able to identify the situations in which you feel invisible, begin understanding why, and cultivate a safe plan to eliminate the feeling and slowly incorporate more positivity. I have a lot of tips to share!
Something to bear in mind: whatever the reason for your feelings of invisibility, it is very likely that you would benefit greatly from speaking to a professional therapist. This sort of issue is more often than not beyond the realm of self-help. So, speak to a therapist and get the help you need.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
The Effects Of Feeling Invisible
The effects of feeling invisible are detrimental, destructive, and can be dangerous. For example, feeling invisible might lead a person to retreat internally and fall into depression, or it could trigger anxiety and exacerbate symptoms.
Invisibility makes you feel:
- Isolated and out of touch
Feeling invisible is tough. Whether you’re feeling it when you’re with a certain group of people or all on your own, invisibility can feel like a giant sinkhole. Loneliness, solitary living, and feeling invisible can have enormously adverse effects.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you acknowledge your feelings, begin a path of understanding what the root of the feeling is, and set up a system to combat feeling invisible.
Reasons Why You Feel Invisible
1. Depression/anxiety/mental health.
Mental health is complex, and a diagnosis like depression or anxiety could be why you feel invisible. Speaking from personal experience, I know how heavy it is to carry around depression and anxiety. It can feel like a debilitating weight resting on your shoulders, chipping away at your energy, happiness, and desire to live.
At my worst moments, it felt like I was all but a dead soul trapped inside of a human body. I would complete the daily obligations, smile at others, and make appropriate small talk, but on the inside, there was a deep hole of nothingness. Interactions don’t feel natural or pleasant; frankly, the intoxicating loneliness is almost an invitation to remain invisible.
First, let me tell you that while your mental health might prompt sabotaging thoughts that lead to negative feelings, these feelings aren’t what is true. While you feel invisible, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re not invisible.
Anxiety is another wicked beast that can make feeling like you belong a nearly impossible feat. It leads you to question yourself, and your self-confidence shrinks. Fear of rejection, falling by comparison, and sinking into the depths of darkness can leave a person feeling invisible.
It might feel like people don’t know you’re there or that you’re not a valued part of the group. Maybe you don’t feel like you have anything in common or that when you speak it doesn’t resonate with anyone.
Each and all of these feelings are not only valid, important, and vital to work through, but they’re also brutal and complex. They require patience and care for yourself. Many times, depression and anxiety require medication for them to improve. Still, there are natural things a person can do to take care of their mental health and acknowledge their feelings.
Symptoms of depression:
- Feelings of tearfulness, hopelessness, emptiness
- Unexplained irritability/frustration
- Angry outbursts
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies typically enjoyed
- Sleep changes—sleeping too much or not enough
- Lack of energy
- Changes in appetite
It’s important to remember that a person might have every symptom of depression while another person might have two serious symptoms. It looks different for everyone. The above symptoms are common ones that many people experience with depression. Each can range in severity from mild to intense on any given day.
Depression doesn’t start and stop but is more of an ebb and flow. On particularly bad depression days, you might feel more isolated and invisible than others. It’s imperative to acknowledge your feelings and then take care of them.
Symptoms of anxiety:
- Feeling restless, wound up, on edge
- Difficulty focusing/concentrating
- Becoming easily irritated
- Trouble sleeping
Again, similar to depression, anxiety can present itself in many different forms. However, the above symptoms are common and affect many sufferers. Anxiety might be why you’re avoiding socializing or connecting with others, even though if you did that, it might relieve the feeling of invisibility.
Anxiety might be those random stomach aches that only happen sometimes, the reason you’re constipated, or why you can’t sleep. It can be a whole-body experience comprising feelings of debilitating frustration and isolation all at once, leading a person to feel invisible and alone.
Always talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling and the intensity of the symptoms. Sometimes medication is required to help treat anxiety, but there are several things a person can do to help ease the weight of anxiety and dismantle feelings of invisibility.
It’s important to acknowledge the feelings of invisibility. Let your doctor know you’re aware of the problem and that you know how important it is to take care of yourself. Facing your problems head on can trigger an anxious response, and a gentle nudge back can be a great help.
A few things you can do to take care of your mental health to counteract feeling invisible are to seek help and support early, stay active, connect with loved ones, and avoid drugs and alcohol.
These lifestyle changes will help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can allow you to establish and build strong connections with others, which help you feel seen, heard, and visible.
2. Childhood taught you to remain quiet.
If you were often overlooked as a child, expected to be compliant, or outright ignored, this might be why you feel invisible as an adult. Growing up as an invisible child taught you that you must prove your worth to justify your existence. You learned that your voice wasn’t important, so naturally, you’ve retreated inside and felt invisible.
If you grew up without loving parents, then it’s possible that you internalized your emotions and projected those feelings onto the world. When a child is raised like this—overlooked and undervalued—they internalize those feelings and believe them to be true.
Children who grow up in this type of environment are not given the opportunity to express themselves, learn and label their emotions, share their opinions, and communicate their needs. Instead, they’re overlooked, labeled as compliant, and they learn to accept their given place in the world. This is absolutely destructive and carries lifelong effects.
If this is why you feel invisible, you can do things to counteract it. First, you must remind yourself as often as needed that you’re important, needed, and valuable. Second, tell yourself that there isn’t anyone else on earth like you and that you’re unique. Grant yourself permission to exist and take up space. Third, you need to recognize that your childhood left you feeling invisible and that it was a great injustice to you.
Finally, recognize that feeling invisible, unloved, unseen, and unimportant is not your fault but rather an indicator that your inner child needs some love and positive messages.
In order to take space in the now and allow yourself to feel seen and heard, you need to look within and work on your inner child. As a child, you grew up feeling unappreciated and invisible. It would be best if you did the work to allow yourself to experience these emotions and then begin the process of self-acceptance. Accept your childhood, feel it, and then commit to constantly taking up space in the world as you deserve.
If you’re shy, you might find it challenging to connect and form healthy relationships with others. When prompted to speak, you might feel awkward or anxious. You may suffer from a particular “cat got your tongue” syndrome. Shyness is real and can be the reason you feel invisible.
A shy person might feel less invisible with the help of tools, support, and love. First, talk and connect with your loved ones about your feelings and ask for support to become more actively engaged in conversations and situations. Some other things you might try are:
- Spending time practicing your smile
- Daily time in front of a mirror saying affirmations
- Working on your self-confidence
- Making time for fun every day
- Going to therapy
4. Visible signs of illness/disability.
Living with visible signs of an illness or having a disability can be a stigmatizing journey that can leave you feeling unseen, invisible, and like a burden. Visible disabilities and illnesses include a large number of things and might bring physical pain, limited motor movements, slurred speech, and more.
These factors alone contribute to feeling invisible and unimportant. Every moment is a challenge when you’re living with a disability or illness. Life becomes a silent test, and you move through each painful moment as gently as possible.
If you’re someone with a disability, you can do a few things to help yourself feel less invisible. First, remember that you’re loved, worthy, and important. Give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings you have and slowly work through them. You can also:
- Learn to accept and live with your limitations.
- Persevere through challenges.
- Ask for and accept help and support.
- Spend time doing things that give you meaning and purpose.
- Make health your top priority.
5. You’re lonely and isolated.
If you live close to your loved ones, but they make little effort to keep in contact with you, it can easily cause you to feel lonely and isolated. Feeling consistent loneliness can be destructive and toxic to every part of you.
Isolation can have a literal cause (i.e., you live far away from loved ones) or a mental cause (i.e., your mind is manifesting the feeling of being chained down and isolated even if you have loved ones close by).
To counteract this, stay connected to your friends and family. Make sure you answer text messages and emails and set up video chat dates. Regardless of where your friends and family reside, there are many ways to stay connected and in touch.
Virtual friend-date ideas:
- General catch-up sessions
- Art classes/paint night
- Movie night
- Game night
- Prepare a meal together
- Wine tasting
There are many fun and meaningful ways to stay connected and avoid feeling invisible. It’s also a great way to add excitement and humor to your day, as I’m sure some of these will have you laughing!
6. You’re socially anxious.
Social anxiety is enough to leave you feeling invisible all by itself. It’s a beast that can swipe in so many different ways. For example, social anxiety might make you second guess yourself in front of others, feel apprehensive about going out, or feel triggered by social situations.
Sometimes, the effects can be so intense that it can cause a person to isolate themselves entirely in the hopes of avoiding the anxiety altogether.
You can do a few things if social anxiety is your obstacle. First, practice being present, in the moment, and aware. Try to be aware of, and in tune with, your body and mind; when the feeling of invisibility creeps in, acknowledge it.
Work on improving your self-confidence by fueling your mind and body well. Notice the content you’re consuming and the environments that you’re in, and acknowledge all the feelings that arise.
7. You’re in your head.
If you’re stuck living in your head, that might contribute to your feelings of being invisible. Perhaps your thoughts are stuck on replay over and over, you’re second-guessing everything you say, or you’re anticipating what to say next and getting all worked up. Whatever the reason, you need to get out of your own head.
Make it a priority to work through whatever is taking your focus internally so you can build and maintain strong connections and feel like you belong. In order to create meaningful connections, you need to allow yourself permission to be vulnerable. So be real, raw, and authentic.
You’ll see quickly that you’re not invisible and you’re not the only one dealing with stuff. And not to say that in a way where I’m implying that other people have it worse. There isn’t any toxic positivity going on here. What I’m suggesting is to work through what is in your head. Reach out and connect with your loved ones and seek support. You’re not alone and don’t need to exist solely on your own.
How To Not Feel Invisible
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-and-done kind of answer to curing feeling invisible, but there are several things you can do to fight it. If you commit to your personal development, you’ll begin to notice a difference in your feelings. It takes effort, work, and persistence, but it IS possible. You don’t need to feel invisible. You have the power and the control to do things to change the feeling. Step into your power and own it, friend.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you explore and overcome your feelings of being invisible. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.
Get in tune with your feelings.
If your childhood was in a home where you didn’t share feelings, talk about emotions, or feel like you were in a safe and stable environment to explore what was going on in your mind, then you repressed a lot of negative emotions as a child. Repressing negativity can create detrimental effects both short term and long term. So, you need to get in touch with your feelings. Here are some things you can do:
- Work on increasing your comfort level regarding sharing and exploring your feelings.
- Keep a daily mood journal.
- Start a meditation practice.
- Talk about your feelings.
- Label emotions.
Whether you’re hiding because you’re triggered by social anxiety, dealing with complex issues on your own, or for any other reason, you must stop hiding. You must fight the urge to isolate yourself. Instead, get authentic and vulnerable with your loved ones and allow them to support you. You’re an essential part of the world and don’t need to hide.
Change the way you think.
Work on challenging your thoughts when you notice you’re sinking back into yourself. You can change your outlook and fill your mind with positivity. Start a gratitude practice, take part in random acts of kindness, journal, use positive affirmations, or leave yourself little love notes. Take yourself on dates, be your own biggest fan, and do whatever you need to convince yourself that you’re amazing. The list is never-ending.
Learn to communicate your feelings rather than bottling them up. For example, “I felt left out when you guys hung out last night without me. It sounded like fun! Maybe next time, count me in too?”
Or… “Hey, I’m feeling kind of sad and lonely. Do you have time to chat for a bit?”
Communication is essential. Your feelings are important, and any person’s loved ones would want to know. (Assuming that we’re talking about healthy relationships.) So open up and get honest with both yourself and your people.
Positive affirmations can be a game-changer if you really give them a go. They foster a belief in positive thinking and self-empowerment. Consider reciting a few positive affirmations when you notice your mental health declining or your anxiety is elevated.
Affirmations are phrases or words that you speak to yourself to help overcome harmful and destructive thinking. It’s like you telling yourself and reinforcing the thought that you’re awesome, needed, valued, and important.
Examples of positive affirmations:
- I can handle anything and everything that comes my way.
- I am strong.
- I have a lot to contribute to this conversation.
- I am awesome.
You can make them as long as you want or as simple, but the idea is to speak your truths into existence. Tell yourself all the time how amazing you are. Make it a habit to take a moment and frequently acknowledge your triumphs. Life is but a series of intricate, complex phases, and as humans, we tend to move through everything without acknowledging our achievements. I challenge you to acknowledge them.
Look in the mirror daily and speak words of kindness. Change the way you speak to yourself. Choose compassion, love, and respect. When you notice that you’re feeling invisible, reassure yourself of the truth.
When you’re feeling invisible, it’s important to acknowledge the feeling and reinforce a path to positive mental health as well as a positive mindset. Create connections that make you feel safe, loved, and meaningful.
These types of positives fight negative emotions like depression, invisibility, and loneliness. Fuel your mind with positivity and watch how your life flourishes. Step into your space, acknowledge your awesomeness, and let yourself live.
We spend much of our time attempting to fit in society’s box and too little living our authentic true life. I challenge you to be different. When you’re with others and find yourself feeling invisible, speak up and say something. Suppose you’re feeling shy. Practice talking to your reflection in front of the mirror to build your confidence.
Where there is a will, there’s a way, and there’s definitely a will. You’re worth putting in the effort for, and once you try a few of these tips, I’m certain you’ll begin to feel more connected, grounded, and in control.
We really do recommend that you seek professional help from one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com as professional therapy can be highly effective in helping you to stop feeling invisible.
You may also like:
- Why Don’t I Want To Talk To Anyone Anymore? (7 Possible Reasons)
- 9 Things To Do When No One Cares About You
- “I Feel Like I Don’t Fit In” – 14 Things You Can Do