I suspect not many members will read this thread. Reason being, even people with mental illness commonly maintain their regular contact with others.. .including me.
However, all my life when depression hits ive been tempted to withdraw fully from people...with the exception of my close family members.Why?
Sensitivity plays a huge part. Without it a thick skin would shield me against those that hurt. Ok, thats my reason for me being tempted to become a recluse so what stopped me?
After a few attempts to run away from humans i realised that it wasnt practical even though l was desperate . I still needed health care so a current medicare card (nowadays), supplies for hygiene, utensils, tools, even hair cutting implements..and if something breaks? What about shelter?
I'd suspect these are the reasons hermits are homeless in cities where they can access services.
So if you have a burning desire to withdraw from society, what is an alternative?
A comfort safe zone might be your answer.
Firstly as people with mental illness we should not feel guilty for not contributing towards society. We are often only capable of focussing on our own survival.
Find an environment that suits you in housing you can afford. Many of us cant afford much. Consider a caravan...if you are single you are mobile and can park it in someones back yard for low rent..or be a drifter of caravan parks with some roadside or free camping.
The concept should be to maintain just enough contact with society to enable you to reap the benefits of it. I call it "swanning". I swan into town for my supplies, have a coffee at our fav cafe if it isnt busy and im feeling well, then swan out.
Over time you will perfect the regulation needed of home and away from home to remain in your best possible mental health.
A friend of mine a single guy with ptsd rents a cottage in our small town (pop 200). He drives a hiace campervan. His rent is very low here and he can tour around as he likes. He has many friends in Melbourne so when he wants he drives down, stays overnight then leaves the next day. He swans in and swans out.
If you are so depressed and can no longer tolerate people for whatever reason, resist the feelings of total withdrawal
In 1983 l expressed to my GP my need to live in the bush alone and with no contact. He said "you'll last about 3 months then you will be very unwell".
If you have just survived society, take care of yourself and find a safe place on society's fringe.