Loneliness isn’t just about being alone

Loneliness isn’t just about being alone. I’m rarely alone – family and friends often hang out here and there’s always someone popping by or bumping into me – but sometimes I feel lonely.

I’ve always liked my own company and I don’t feel the need to be around people. I’m an introvert in an extrovert’s job so I spend my working hours interacting with colleagues at a frenetic pace unseen outside a speed dating event. Stepping so completely and relentlessly out of my comfort zone is exhausting, so I enjoy time to decompress and shed my alter ego. And of course, as much time as I spend with people, they only get to know the work-me or social-me, not the real me.

Three years ago everything went to shit: major changes at home and work; relationship exploded; too much alcohol, too many cigarettes, not enough food; insomnia. I was shattered trying to maintain some normality and losing weight so quickly people thought I was anorexic.

I kept it all to myself for as long as I could and then one day, I cracked.

Someone said I looked rather rough (no shit Sherlock, I wasn’t feeling my best funnily enough), and I just gave up trying to keep going. I spiralled so quickly I was scaring myself. A trip to the doctor’s and I was presented with a antidepressants, and six sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy.

As an aside, it has always amused me how people will ask if you have had dark or suicidal thoughts when talking to you about your depression. Serious suicide attempts aren’t a cry for help: they’ll be carried out at a time and place that ensures no interruption, so inevitably the answer here would be “No”, surely?

Despite clawing myself out the black hole and launching back into life, my mental health took a major beating in January. Work fucked me up. I have never felt so alone in my life, there was no one who was prepared to support me, even though they knew I wasn’t in the wrong. I wasn’t sleeping, eating, coping. The GP sent me home with a box of medication to help me sleep/wake up/calm down/digest food/retain food/lower blood pressure/control pain, and the offer of further therapy.

After some very, very hard days I took the decision to resign. It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve done but every single day since I’ve woken up feeling it was the right one.

This isn’t one of those uplifting tales with a happy ending. I’m still depressed (and I use that word clinically), but the panic attacks are fewer and I can get out the house. I’m even washing my hair and showering more frequently!

When I’m on my own, I’m in the company of someone I “get”. It’s actually when I’m in the company of others that I feel my loneliness most keenly. They don’t get me.

By |2018-04-22T13:36:48+00:00April 22nd, 2018|Guest Writer, Post of the Month, Your Voice|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Richard Crisp 23rd April 2018 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Thank you for your amazingly honest input…since Stuart’s post I have been actively researching. this subject on the internet…ultimately everything comes back to the self-sabotaging programmes in our subconscous.

    As I wrote recently very few of us actually enjoy the toxic feelings that loneliness will trigger and if given the choice would kick them into place. But the problem is with little understanding of how the mind works we are saddled with a set of crazy beliefs that literally and systemically eat away at our souls, isolating us for the tribal world in which we were born; a world that NATURE deemed we should embrace and flourish within.

    I will be writing a post on this subject but in the meantime check out Lissa Rankin does Ted Talk on this issue. With over 20% of Americans struggling with this condition, as a trained doctor who left the profession to focus on the new sciences, her take on loneliness is both thought provoking and stimulating, as long as you allow yourself to listen to Lissa with an open mind…which is sometimes difficult because it will be your subconscious that will continually try to push you off course..

    We ay MANSTRESS continually tell our growing tribe just how cathartic writing about their experiences can be…so please feel free to send in further posts because not only will your input help others but it can seriously help you…

    Once again thanks for your valuable input

  2. Mr Mumbles 31st May 2018 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    That’s an incredibly honest post.
    I have had ongoing problems with feeling lonely for as long as I can remember. Explaining to someone that you can feel lonely in a room full of people even family and friends is very hard, they just don’t understand that horrible feeling. It helps me to try to understand how others feel and I try to interact with people around me when I’m feeling that way. It’s hard and has taken me a long time but I can now go out hold my head up a feel ok . Good luck with this

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