Being an introvert, I’ve naturally always enjoyed my own company; I’m productive, I can please myself and there’s no pressure to be someone for anybody else, y’know? I am my own comfort zone & I’ve been just dandy with that. The only thing with having made myself my own comfort zone is that I’ve essentially isolated myself at times. This all magnified when I became really mentally unwell & it’s like that introvertedness, that ‘time preferred alone’ got, well… lonely.
I’d chosen to be alone all those times before and felt comfortable & accepting of the introvert I am; and yet when depression and anxiety really struck, I suddenly felt like I was no longer in control of that ‘alone’ time. It felt – and still feels – as though some other force is choosing isolation for me. It’s putting it on me like a big ol’ piledriver. I feel like I’m part of one of those games at a fairground where the crocodiles pop up and you have to smack them back down with a hammer quick as you like.
I am one squished crocodile.
I’d pretty much set up residence in lonely-land, to the point that on Saturday night I had a bit of a breakdown. It had been building up for a while and when those floodgates opened, boy, did they open. I’d isolated myself so much so, that I couldn’t even find the right words to tell someone ‘I’m lonely’ without feeling pathetic AF. I scrolled through my contacts and made excuses as to why I couldn’t tell this person or that person. I’d mentioned over the last few weeks about loneliness to a few folk but then found myself brushing it off and sticking a few ‘cry laugh’ faces at the end like ‘I’ve got this btw’, when I really fu*king didn’t.
I know that so many can relate when I say that living with a mental illness can see our circles shrink; we believe or know that people won’t understand what we’re going through, we change in ourselves and are unable to commit to seeing friends or family as much, and we don’t always ask for help when we need it – we reason that there’s nothing anybody can do anyway. We unwittingly cut ourselves off and fight off any lows or panic alone. Sound familiar?
Personally, anxiety has made it difficult for me not to be lonely; there are people who trigger my anxiety that I refuse to engage with, people I don’t know put me on edge and big groups are just a no-no. There are also times when I just prefer my own company. I like peace and quiet and I tend to grab that whenever I can. It’s easier. I don’t have to deal with anything that triggers me and I’m ‘safe’. Except, am I? You can see my problem here right?
To state the obvious, being lonely fucking sucks. & it can be dangerous too. I’m sure I’m not the only person to ever have a meltdown because it’s gotten to a point where it physically hurts and all you can do is have a good sob; that’s not me being dramatic, that’s me telling it straight and I wouldn’t be doing me or you justice if I tried to dress it up. Isolating ourselves to the point that we want to be around people but just can’t is a downright horrible position to be in.
If you find yourself where I was on Saturday night, here are some things that helped me that might help you too:
- DO talk to someone. Don’t make excuses not to tell someone or believe that you’re pathetic, because you’re absolutely bloomin’ not. Feeling lonely is HUMAN. I reached out to someone in the end and after the initial ‘I’m so lonely, I’m in the midst of a breakdown, talk to me pls’ shpiel, we got to talking about ‘normal’ stuff and I was quickly reassured that I wasn’t pathetic, I am normal and I wasn’t alone.
- Distract yourself. Find something to focus on. Easier said than done I know. There’s only so many YouTube videos you can watch amIrite? I’ve also severely lacked energy recently, but I would suggest working out or getting out for a walk if you can find it in yourself. Eat well, listen to music, paint, read, write – once I’d calmed down on Saturday night, I opened the laptop and began typing this. It kept me focused & gave me an outlet.
- Similar to focusing on something, maybe find something that requires your attention daily or so – a pet, a dog to walk and nurture, maybe plants or an allotment – maybe you could volunteer somewhere? Work can also keep you busy & can be good for a spot of socialising too. Plus it’ll make you appreciate that ‘alone’ time a lot more when you get it.
- I know I recently wrote a post on how social media isn’t always great for our mental health but I do believe it can sometimes be a great way to connect with people who might be feeling the same as us; Twitter I’ve found is especially good for a bit of community spirit & support.
- If you do get to breaking point & really don’t feel like you have anyone to go to, remember there are some really cracking folk out there who are always there to listen – Samaritans have been wonderful when I’ve spoken to them before & I can’t recommend their support enough. You can call them free & anytime on 116 123 or email them firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, message me! I’m always here if you need someone to talk to, scout’s honour/pinky swear.
I hope these tips help in some way and if you’re feeling lonely remember to reach out – you’re human and it’s a perfectly normal thing to feel.
All the love,