Surviving Loneliness

 

I’ve been purposefully avoiding my blog for these last three months. I knew that if I came here again after my last post, it would be an emotional process to write the next. These four months of grief have dealt me a card I still don’t know how to handle. Leaving aside the fact that I’m grieving and all the messy things that come along with that, I have been left feeling completely alone. Which of course, is a consequence of grief.

I am 100% an extrovert. I love being around other people, I thrive off of it, get my energy from it. My extroverted nature is the reason why I never had a problem with all the roommates I had during my four years at college. So when I woke up one day this summer and realized how isolated I felt, it was a hard pill to swallow. I feel physical isolation as a result of being away from all of most of friends. I feel an emotional isolation because I still have difficulty feeling connected with others in my life after the death of my dad. Despite trying to be open with everyone how hard this process has been for me, I still find myself in a place where I feel as though no one gets it and no one can help me.

The day I realized how bad this loneliness had become was the night I had made plans to go to a birthday dinner in LA. I was really looking forward to doing something normal and with people I hadn’t seen in a while. But as the time approached to go, I got a massive wave of anxiety and it was so overwhelming that I didn’t show up. As a girl who love, love, loves going out, I realized that my isolation had created a fear of being around groups of people. So even though I don’t want to feel lonely, I’m too hesitant to make major plans with anyone, for fear of something going wrong.

Truly defeating loneliness is a hard thing to conquer. You have to make sure you’re not depending on other people as distractions to do it. I notice my good days are always the ones where I see and interact with people, never the ones where I spend it alone.

My loneliness sharpens when I see and compare others’ lives on social media, which we all understand as a big “no no” to do. Yet, it’s practically irresistible. If you’re going to be extremely susceptible to snapchat stories and Instagram posts, it might be best to put those things away for a while. Even if you delete those apps for a short time, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders and hopefully you’ll remember how unimportant it is to see what everyone is doing every second of the day.

Getting comfortable with yourself and being alone is huge. Being alone and loneliness are two different things. If you can find comfort in your “me time,” maybe the loneliness will fade away. Right now I’m doing my best to enjoy the days alone I have. However, if  I have multiple days in a row when I’m alone I start having difficulties so it still is a hurdle I need to jump over.

When you’re in your loneliness you might find yourself looking for distractions. They may be either productive or destructive and somehow the destructive ones always seem more appealing. As I work through this myself, I try to think through all my actions and decisions. People tell me to do things that used make me happy, the hobbies and pastimes I love. Distracting yourself with the things that bring you those kinds of inner joys is no doubt a great thing to do.

I want to suggest talking to a close friend or family member on a regular basis, but the truth is if you’re trying to get over loneliness like me, maybe it’s best to try and figure it out on your own instead of with other people. In my case anyway, I know that I’ll just begin to depend on people and I’d rather depend on myself. When it comes to family and friends though, the best thing I can say is to not push them away when they reach out to you. Be honest with them when they ask how you’re feeling. Tell them why you feel lonely, maybe they can help.

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