Forums Home

Lived Experience Forum

Acceptance, connection, support. Share the journey.

Safe, anonymous discussion for people living with mental illness, moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals.

Read the community guidelines
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Something’s not right

Highlighted
Senior Contributor

Loneliness

Hi everybody, I'm new here and have been reading posts last night to get me through this cavernous loneliness I'm experiencing. It's a constant spectre and when it is at it's worst, it feels like I'm being swallowed up into an abyss. Everything makes me sad during these episodes, seeing families in the street going out to dinner particularly hits me hard. I've taken to going for walks early in the morning to avoid seeing people as I compare my lack of a life to their seeming inclusion in it, and down the rabbit hole I go. I crave connection and belonging, but at the same time I'm afraid of being overwhelmed by people, which I feel whenever I get too close to anyone. I also am afraid that if they get to know me, they will see that I'm not all together mentally and reject me. Rejection is also a big fear I have which sees me run away from people I feel are getting too close. And then I find myself alone again. This has been a vicious cycle I've been in for decades. How do I learn to feel like a valuable person worthy of friendship? I would like to break this pattern now that I'm aware of it. Thank you.

71 REPLIES 71

Re: Loneliness

Welcome to the forums @Pilgrim, we're glad that you were able to read through some threads and felt confident to share your own story. It does sound like you're incredibly self-aware, do you have a psychologist or GP you can talk this through with? We are sure you are a valuable person worthy of friendship. In your spare time, what do you like to do? 

Re: Loneliness

hi @Pilgrim welcome to the forums.

 

I feel I'm an expert in loneliness. I was entirely socially isolated for 7 years due to extreme mental illness. I was estranged from all of my family and had no friends. My only company was my dear cat. I went to support groups just for company and found them very lonely & alienating. I got fired by more than one therapist because I was too difficult/angry. I had no-one.

 

Eventually, in desperation I started going to meetups. I found it was like a minefield - this person would upset me or that person would offend me and I was extremely nervous & socially awkward. After 2 years of meetups -very hard work, some disturbing experiences & some rejections - I finally made some friends. I now have a nice social life. I'm going to a dinner party tonight. I still find my friendships hard to manage, I get hurt or feel rejected or abandoned sometimes but the effort is well worth it for the company & connection I feel.

 

Somewhere during those 2 years of meetups I finally got help from a psychiatrist who prescribed me effective medication for my MI symptoms. That made a big difference to my anxiety and ability to talk to people and relate to people - I was able to form relationships. I found conversation practice was very important (because I'd spent so long only talking about MI) and to have hobbies & an active social life so I had someting to talk about when I met new people. I also find practice is important in friendships, you can early learn about relationships through having them, well at least that's what I think.

 

Hope you'll feel welcome here & we'll hear more from you soon Smiley Happy

 

 

Re: Loneliness

Thankyou for your reply. I have been struggling with tiredness/fatigue which means I have neither the energy or motivation to engage in hobbies, it's frustrating. Reading is difficult as my concentration is also affected. I feel like I could sleep all day but I can't sleep or get anything done. I've become a lump just hanging around. I tried to work 2 days a week, a simple cleaning job but I struggled with the workload. I also felt like I wasn't doing a good job, I have a lot of negative self talk, it sabotages me. I have a lovely doctor who is caring and knowledgeable. She is trying me on new meds and I trust her opinion. No psychologist, have yet to have success there. It'd be nice to see through a healthy persons eyes for a day, just for a break!

Re: Loneliness

Hi @Pilgrim  and welcome to the forums.  I also was completely isolated for a long time (years) and found the forums a great place to start interacting with other people.  It's a really safe place too, where you can really just be yourself.  There are even some threads that are purely social like The Friday Feast and Saturday Soiree if you want to check them out.  Good on you for starting your own thread and being brave enough to share some of your story and what's going on for you.  I am sure you will find support and even friendship here.

Re: Loneliness

you're very welcome @Pilgrim 

 

to tag someone here you just type @infront of their name, then they know you've replied.

 

You sound possibly depressed? I have quite debilitating depression (and anxiety/psychotic symptoms) so I understand how exhausting it is, how poor sleep can be, feeling demotivated & having negative self-talk. It's truly horrible & I'm sorry to hear you're suffering so. I've been unemployed for 7 years & have only been able to volunteer 1 day a week for the last year. I find it hard to concentrate too, I struggle with washing my hair & teeth flossing & the washing up. I can only read for a short time.

 

You sound like a really brave, interesting and wonderful person and I'm sure a lot of people would like to be your friend. Try not to be too hard on yourself. I'm sure there are some effective treatments out there for you and that your mental health will improve in time. I'm sure you can look forward to a better quality of life. For me it just took a lot of trial & error and in the end medication helped, but that's just me, everyone is individual.

 

That's so great you have such a nice and helpful doctor. It sounds like you've struck gold there, well done. I hope that the new meds are helpful. It sounds like you're looking forward to finding a psychologist which is great too. A lot of people find that effective and supportive. My brother actually finds CBT really helpful. I believe you can get 10 free sessions with a mental health plan from your GP.

Re: Loneliness

Thankyou @eth from reading posts and replies I see that loneliness is a factor in MI. I've become so aware of my own loneliness that I start to see it in others everywhere I go. I smile like a lunatic just in case that person who caught my eye on the street is in need of reassurance. It's funny how we give what we most need. This week has been harder as my adult son is away, we are very close. But, I need to face this emptiness even though it's so painful. I'm so glad I found this website where we can share the reality of our experiences with MI.

Re: Loneliness

@BryanaCamp thankyou, I just discovered how to do that! Yes, you are very perceptive, I have treatment resistant depression and have been particularly low for about 3 weeks. Worse than usual. I told my doctor through tears on Thursday. She was very sympathetic and I so needed that. Confusion.is another massive symptom, not being able to make simple decisions. It makes shopping an ordeal and I try avoid it or go really early or late to have less distractions. I over think pretty much everything too, I wish I could just lighten up so that the world doesn't feel on my shoulders. And I am hard on myself, see my faults and failures clearly but my strengths and achievements pale until they're invisible to me. Which means I need constant reassurance and I hate being so needy. Around in circles I've gone with this for decades, while putting on a brave face so nobody really knew my struggles. Even I became distant to myself. Maybe the loneliness really is me not knowing myself after years of neglecting myself. Learning to care about myself is a whole new world which is so foreign to me right now.

Re: Loneliness

Hi again @Pilgrim   yes self-care is really important, but very hard to do when depressed.  As I know.  It starts with little things like a few minutes of sunshine or a warm bath.  It's different for everyone.   For me it's gentle exercise in a heated pool, sitting at the beach, writing, doing craft, cooking food to share with others, reading a book ....  I have a list that I can look at when I have no motivation.   

You might get some ideas by entering coping or self-care on the search bar.

Re: Loneliness

hi @Pilgrim yeah, self-care can be tough. I was neglected a lot growing up so it's an alien activity. I force myself to go to the doctor, take care of my health & nutrition, exercise. 

 

It's lovely you have a close relationship with your son but it makes sense that your struggling with him gone this weekend. Has he been away before & do you have any coping strategies that helped while you were by yourself?

For urgent assistance, call: