Only The Lonely

lone·li·ness
1. sadness because one has no friends or company.
                                                                            ***
I read an article on PsychologyToday.com by Sean Seepersand Ph.D. It outlined several studies on loneliness and compares it to depression. Two different situations. Where often they go hand in hand. They define loneliness as a "social pain, a result of the lack of intimate relationships desired by a person" and "linked to the need to belong, a need that has been argued is along the same lines as physical needs such as the need for food or sleep." They stated depression was different in that it indicated an over all dejected state, rather than the need to belong. You can see why these are closely associated. 

A Women Left Lonely
I want to preface all this by saying I am not qualified to give medical advice on loneliness. I am not a therapist, I am a middle school art teacher. I also want to say that I do not hate ALL of myself ALL of the time, but I can relate to people who may. I can see where it would get scary for some. This isn't a cry for help. It is my experience with loneliness and depression.

I will mention that I have had plenty of opportunities to be scared of being lonely. I have used poor judgment because of it. I have been taken advantage of for it. I have created patterns around it, only to end up feeling more lonely. Other times I have just felt alone, like no one is really on my team. That it's just me, even in a group of people.

Even around Friends and Family. Maybe even more.

Hey There Lonely Girl
I am a pretty lonely person. This may seem shocking to some because I have a personality that suggests otherwise. While having a larger than life persona IS me, I mask my heart pretty well. It is survival. It is a constant struggle in my head. Like someone talking over you. All the time. But its me.

When I get lonely I feel bored. Restless. As if layers of my skin are burning. I feel listless. Unmotivated. I start letting thoughts creep into my brain. Thoughts like "I am waisting time" "I have so much I need to do"  "I hope no one calls me to hang out because they wouldn't understand"  "I miss my friends"  "No one is calling"  "Why does my existence burn?"

When I am lonely I feel alien to my own life. I start the replay button and montage all the negative moments of my life. I start punishing myself for the ones I acted in. I cower. I point fingers. I feel awkward. I shame myself. I start wishful thinking. I start regretting. I start synapsing all my demons.

I actually feel I am insignificant. I ask, "Why would anyone care about the difference I make?"

"What difference do I make?"

Sure all this sounds like depression. While some of it yes,  it is deeply rooted in loneliness.

Lonely is the Night
My mind is always running on overdrive. Analyzing or over analyzing. At hyper-speed. In cases of extreme loneliness I can identify myself also as depressed. I have quarantined myself inside the house surrounded by blankets and binging Netflix or HBO. All day and all night. Probably eating a large bag of salt and vinegar chips, downing sugary drinks and eating candy. Feeling guilty because I am paying for a gym membership. And into the self loathing loop I go.

Thinking...
I can't
I'm not
I won't
I never
Unworthy
Unloved
When will I feel enough?
What is wrong with me?
What do I want?
I am so TIRED of feeling this way. It is exhausting.
I am one of the lucky ones that can pull themselves out of it. 


So Lonely
I have watched people close to me suffer for similar feelings. It still doesn't make it easier. When I was seventeen I watched the slow decline of a close friend, my step-brother. It was a fast ending articulated around abandonment, loneliness, depression, and self-defeat. Searching for love from absent parents and a life of disappointments. Taking anything he could to escape. 

Some think therapy is a bad word. As if you need to be diagnosed or take medications to see one. One, a therapist cannot prescribe medication and two, why wouldn't you want to talk out these crazy notions like hating yourself. I do. Also, there maybe times you do need medicines to help you regulate your emotions. I have taken them. I also try other things such as meditations or a healthy lifestyle. Though, there are times I STILL need medication and definitely my therapist. They do not need to be mutually exclusive. I wish my brother grew up in a world that gave him a platform to talk out his emotions. That was 21 years ago. Many people still view seeking help as weak.

I am very thankful for the mental health field. This is life. This is not a movie or a video game. It is not a fashion magazine or the latest Youtube sensation. It is life. And it can be as strange and dark as it is painted with beauty. I have a lot of feelings dealing with loneliness, but I have yet to give up on myself.

Lonely Too Long
I am not surprised to hear that loneliness is an epidemic in the United States.
It is also not surprising to me that attributions to this include technology, over-prescribed medications, and the fact that our culture is set up treat vulnerability as weakness. Natural Selection. While I get that only the strong survive.
WHAT DO WE DO WITH LONELINESS?
Mostly we look to external forces to make ourselves "happy" again. We hang out with friends, watch something, social media, shop therapy, take a class, drink, eat. You name it, humans are great at avoiding our issues.
I want intrinsic strength to fight these times. I do not want to exclusively look outward anymore. I want to quiet the lonely hum in my head. I want it to be an excitement that turns "lonely" into just alone time. I envy those who already have this gift.
Human connection IS vital. However, so is the connection with ourselves.
For me, my loneliness is a search for validation. Something is very off with the relationship I have with myself AND THEN with other people. 
What kind of validation am I looking for that will satiate these voices telling me that my existence is stale? Somewhere in my life my need for validation seems to have made me feel that I am constantly not doing enough to prove myself. To whom? Who are these people that I am trying to prove myself to? Why do I feel I cannot connect to others or myself?
I should be enough.
I am enough. (still working on this)
by Dorothy Verbick

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Click HERE to read the article I reference

If you didn't notice, all titles in this blog are song titles that use the word lonely. They are good songs.




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Comments

  1. Beautiful. I never thought of myself as lonely, until reading this. I always took it as messed up or immature because I just can't fit in. Honestly, not sure if I want to anymore. I also write poetry, and relate to it more than most dialogue. I feel that it is a bridge that connects hearts no matter how unrelatable one feels expressing oneself in other forms. You are most correct that loneliness can be greatest around others, as that is when we feel the most separate, in realizing how different we think we are. In all reality, we all feel this way at some point, just not everyone has the courage to speak up about it. Thank you for sharing❤

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  2. I am blown away by the raw truth. Beautifully done. Thank you.

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  3. Thank you so much for your comments. It means a lot to have people respond. I wish to reach people through my own experiences of emotions and feelings. It is all I have ever been. All emotions. My mother said I was soft hearted. I guess I am. Sometimes being full of emotions is very lonely. Sometimes it is the greatest gift.

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