How do I cope with feeling lonely, alone or isolated ?

How do I cope with feeling lonely?

How Do I cope with feeling lonely ?

***TW : ABUSE , SELF HARM ***

I am a self-aware, well-educated and very sociable human. I have spent years perfecting the image that is my face and my being. At a very young age, I lost the two most important people in my life. It was the first time I learned what it was like to be left alone in the world. Now granted, I was fortunate enough that I have a huge family who did what they could to support me and care for me through the times. But nothing, absolutely nothing hits you harder than the reality of never seeing your parents again. Especially at the age of two and three.

Growing up happened real fast. One day I was running around with my other cousins, and the next, I was breaking down, throwing tantrums, and acting out. By the mere age of four, I was shipped off to a new country, new family, with no idea when I would ever feel at home again.

During the years of my childhood, I was often isolated from the rest of the world. Most of my memories base themselves in my bedroom at step parent’s house. It was located right at the front of the house looking out onto the rest of our U-shaped street. In the winters, I would be trapped in my room watching the rest of the world light up. I would watch the kids slip and slide through the streets laughing along with their friends. Summers were not much different.

Starting school was probably the only thing that I was happy about, I was finally kind of not alone. In school, I got to be with teachers, and other kids! I didn’t have to be trapped in a room all the time, sometimes, I got to go outside, and talk with other kids, and play in the sandbox. My primary years were beautiful at school. But as I started to grasp social behaviours among my peers, I soon realized, I was so much more different than the rest of them. I started noticing that I was left out of many conversations, my voice was never heard, and everyone else were having sleepovers, birthday parties etc. without me even knowing a single detail about it. One of my very few friends during that time had no problem telling me I was annoying, and that no one at school liked me, and that I was known as the ‘loner’.

Auggie Blue Trans Non Binary Writer

He wasn’t wrong. I look back and I honestly could say, the times I thought I had the most peer support was actually all lies. People were smiling and pretending to be nice to my face while saying the meanest things about me behind my back. I was again, all by myself against the rest of the world.

I’ve always hated being alone, feeling like I had no one to go to, and I was terrified that one day, it would just be me, no one else, just me in this life trying to resolve a loss I never understood. I can’t put into words how isolating, and disheartening it is to be surrounded by all of what you think is good for you, only to feel invisible amongst it all.

By the age of fifteen I began to self harm, and abusing substances just so I could not feel lonely. I started telling myself awful things about me, and how nothing and no one in the world could ever see or understand how much pain and suffering I was feeling. I justified to myself that there was no reason or will to keep living, so, I decided to finish myself off with a bottle of pills and liquor.

I woke up to drenched in my own vomit, faced down in my bathroom floor and once again, alone. Now, you must understand, my family was abusive, in every sense you could think. Including that, and the fact that mental health does not exist in my culture, resulted in very little understanding or belief in my illness. My family does not believe that your brain can be sick unless you are in full psychosis. And to be completely honest I could have been in psychosis for most of my childhood and they still would not believe that mental health is real. So, after my first attempt, I tried to tell my step-mom I wasn’t okay. She told me I was just sad and ungrateful. That was that, I stopped trying to talk to her about it.

I sat with this experience for a long time. Having no resources, no support, and no one to talk to, my mind would just snowball in silence. I realized I had screwed up somewhere, I didn’t do it right, and my ideations would grow. I started investing more and more mental energy into thinking of ways to successfully kill myself than anything else. Near the end of age seventeen, I tried again. More alcohol, more pills, and more recklessness. You see how this turned out.

Processing and healing through this was a journey and three quarters.  Along the way, I have met incredible people, learned powerful tools, and have witnessed compassion on a whole different level.

My chaplain at the time was my greatest blessing. Having watched me grow for six years, and hearing the violence I was facing at home, she did everything in her power to provide me with hope and support. She believed in me more than anyone had ever really had in my life, and constantly reminded me that she was always cared about me, and she sees me. Even now, she still checks in on me to make sure I am still healthy and well.

It wasn’t until first year university that I began to really allow myself the emotional space for healing, nonetheless making friends. Yet, I cut down my substance uses to only social occasions with friends, and hid my weapons of self harm hoping that somehow this could protect me from myself. With vigorous re-socialization, and confidence building, I would move out on my own, start university fresh, and build my own family of support. This made up of many incredible humans I met at Carleton, and people I have met through personal circumstances, but more importantly my two doggos Phinous Martha Kenneth Chubbs and Stella Fern Lanky Lanks (there’s a stories behind these names but you don’t need to worry about that).

Living alone, and having no one to answer to but myself, I realize that I couldn’t have someone by my side at all times. My best friend had her own life, and when I graduated, my chaplain and I ended up on opposite ends of the city. I needed to finally allow myself to be alone, and be okay with this. I couldn’t just call people up every night, which I did. I couldn’t be out every night, which I was. And eventually, if I stay at work too long, they’re going to just send me home, which they did. I needed to come to terms with being alone without feeling lonely.

I booked numerous appointments with psychologist counselling, and started medication. I started researching more and more into meditation, and actively took time out of my day to allow myself to be alone. Telling myself that it is okay to be here, it is okay that you are seen in this very instance. You are and will be okay.Mental training, and repetition became automatic.

Through years of counselling, mental health management, and safety planning I am learning to step back and reflect on the realities of my feelings and thoughts. It’s not easy, and I continue to struggle daily. To this day, I am still having to fight with my suicidal ideations, learning to shut out the voices, and teaching myself that my mind is not my only friend. I can’t say that any part of me is cured; my depressive downs are still heavy, and the urges of harm remain. I can say, however, that through every part of this life journey, it’s slowly teaching me to feel less and less lonely whenever I am alone. 

24 thoughts on “How do I cope with feeling lonely?

  1. I also struggle with feeling lonely. I’m older, divorced and my kids are grown. Sometimes my perspective on the situation helps. Not everyone is lucky enough to have time to themselves and being able to spend time the way that they choose. So I’m working on having that perspective more often than not and it’s helping.

    1. It’s definitely not something that happens overnight, but something that really helped me was removing myself from boxed in spaces. I found just getting lost somewhere in cities, or parks allow me to feel seen and yet unseen. It reminds me that though I’m not where others may be, there are still others surrounding me to meet me where I’m at.
      – Auggie

      1. Love it, thank-you 🙂

        1. <3

  2. I really like what you said, “I needed to come to terms with being alone without feeling lonely.” Very powerful, as this is so true, lonliness is a human experience and it can be very painful. Being alone can be many things, and it sounds like you are healing. Learning to use the alone time to be creative or to write is also healing. Wishing you ongoing healing. Keep writing!

    1. It took me years to finally kind of grasp the idea of it. Thank you for following along with my journey 🙂

  3. Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope you found something helpful there. You’ve dealt with a tremendous amount of pain in your life. I’m so sorry. All of that trauma certainly makes us mentally “sick” as you put it. Really more wounded – like a broken bone that isn’t set properly and can’t function correctly. Even though I didn’t lose my parents, I’ve suffered through a lot of pain in my life too. Knowing Jesus has literally saved my life. I believe he binds up the wounds of the brokenhearted. He longs to heal our hearts and set us free from the pain of those broken places. The Bible says so, but it’s been true in my life so I know by experience. You’re a brave person to keep searching for something besides the destructive ways you explored initially. I understand how isolation, using alcohol/drugs or self-mutilation can feel like a comfort and yet actually leaves us empty and lonely. I believe God loves you and has good for you in spite of the hurt you’ve experienced. It’s great that you’re reaching out to help others! I’ll be praying for you as you continue to heal and help.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this. It truly is difficult to find peace within ourselves and it will take much time before I can really say I have healed fully. I appreciate the warmth and prayers and sending them your way as well.

  4. I think that feeling lonely at times is part of the human condition. Self-harm, however, is not. You have clearly gained a great deal of perspective on your condition. I wish you better days. <3

    1. Feeling lonely is absolutely part of the human condition, without it we forget how to appreciate the fullness of the human experience. Sometimes it manifests in strange ways and we heal as we go

  5. As a child I was constantly surrounded by people but felt like no one understood me, as a teen I felt alone and was literally alone all the time. I would goes days without seeing anyone. As a young adult I struggled being alone, I always wanted someone around me(not that I ever told anyone that). Now and a mom and wife all I want is to be alone. My depression and anxiety often make me feel selfish because I crave quiet and being by myself. I still feel alone most of the time even though someone is almost always near.

    1. I still find myself feeling lonely in groups of people, sometimes even with my closest friends around. It’s a very heavy feeling and though we ache and yearn to not feel alone, it is a place that we sit with tenderly with ourselves.

  6. I prefer to be alone when I feel lonely. Because then I can’t blame other people for not living up to my unrealistic expectations of them… I feel most lonely with other people… Because they see me, but they don’t “see me”. I dunno. It’s weird. I get where you’re coming from though. I used to be scared to be alone by myself. And then I got used to it, and realised… i felt lonely with and without company… sigh. I dunno. Sorry. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am really sorry for your tragic childhood experiences… they’re really awful and isolating and just… awful. My heart goes out to you. But not out of pity. Jeez, no one needs pity. But my heart goes out to you in solidarity, in strength, in sadness. To share the pain, to acknowledge it, to ease it, to “not be alone”.

    1. There is a certain kind of comfort in being lonely. And it can become the sweetest of surrender or the most deafening of moments. Never apologize for feeling your feels, it makes you human and brings me comfort in knowing loneliness doesn’t exist alone. Keep your heart up, sending so much warmth 🙂

  7. Thank you for sharing your life with us. It is so brave of you to open up to us for people like me to understand.

    1. I learned very young that speaking about it gives it a certain power and we are the ones who gets to choose how we let others understand us. I hope through opening up my life, it may mean something to someone in the world.

  8. Take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. Be strong in knowing you are here for a reason and share your experiences with confidence so you can reach others who are not yet in a place to share their pain. Keep your head up and be proud of who you are. We all have a reason to be here, even if we don’t yet realise what that is. Cheers,H

    1. Thank you for those powerful words. Always keep your heart up and stay gentle to yourself.

  9. Thank you so much for your story. I definitely feel lonely a lot and am working to try to figure out how I feel about my specific situation (even though I have a lot of not-lonely time in my life). I am heartbroken yet feel less lonely to read that an aspect of strife was that of convincing family of what you were going through and those relationships kind of breaking down. That is what I’m dealing with. I really appreciate you sharing this so extensively. Lots of love to you.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read, I hope that somewhere along the way you find peace and rest amongst the lonely. It is not something easily found when in heavy and disheartening situations, but be gentle to yourself, and allow yourself the space to heal.

  10. Wow! I am so sorry for all you have gone through but I admire your courage in continuing to try and you are doing it! You are making it! I admire you for that! I have found more friends here on the blogs that I do not know in person but it has helped knowing there ARE people who care and are there for you even if not in person! Keep hanging in there! I battle severe anxiety and depression BUT I am trying to. With very few family members that care or understand and almost 0 friends, I am alone a lot but you know what? We are trying, we are looking and we can do it! We really can! I tell myself that thought everyday!

    1. That is very validating and thank you for all of those words. I find everyday that I push through is another win at the end of the day. Sometimes allowing yourself to be patient with yourself makes a heck of a difference. People will always come and go from our lives, the ones that stay, stay for a reason. And the ones that come back, they come back for a reason. I had to learn to allow myself to give AND take space appropriately with the dynamics I’m in.

      1. Amazing! 🙂

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