I’m sitting in a coffee house during my week off work, on my own, online. A few login issues on my laptop have done their work with my head for today. When your brain is like mine, it only takes little things to wind you up and frustrate you to extreme proportions.
I used to think it was immaturity. Now I know it’s just how my brain works.
And now I’m writing, sitting here, alone. I’m lonely. But I’m still here.
I’m very lucky. I have many, many people in my life who love me, look out for me, cherish me, and I know have my back. I’m hugely grateful for these relatives and friends, the people who remind me I am not alone.
But I am still lonely.
I go home, no one is waiting for me. I’m not doing life with anyone. I don’t feel comfortable calling people during the night if I need to chat – even though I have people I probably could do this with.
Loneliness isn’t about your relationship status. It doesn’t select you based on the state of your love life. Many people in happy relationships can still feel lonely. And in the age of social media, even without doing any research, I could take an educated guess that many of us feel more lonely than ever.
Being single and introverted does however exacerbate the situation. We all need to be reminded that we’re loved, valued and belong. And when you don’t get this at home, and you’re tired – well, you do the math.
Late at night is the worst time for loneliness. Insomnia is familiar to the lonely. When this strikes me I’m not sitting at home feeling lonely. I’m just sitting at home not feeling anything. I can’t sleep. I can’t relax. My brain is still working overtime. And there’s a mild longing inside, for connection, for community, which is left wide open.
Loneliness for me isn’t always something which happens consciously. I can just be awake and unable to sleep, and I don’t know why. I don’t feel depressed, or down, or in despair. In truth I often don’t feel anything.
But I know it’s loneliness. The deep, eternal desire for connection, for somewhere safe to rest at night.
When some people write about loneliness it can often be a plea for attention, for love, for sympathy or pity. I ask for none of these. Not even in a passive-aggressive way.
Because although I am lonely, I am still here.
I survive each bout of loneliness when it strikes. I wake up and get on with my life. I keep walking along the path set for me. I try to remember I am loved, valued and accepted by many, and above all by the divine, just as I am. I remind myself my value is not defined by others, or my relationship status.
I choose to not let loneliness control my life. I survive.
I hope, one day, I reach a point where I not only survive loneliness, but can manage it in such a way I can thrive.
If you are lonely, you are not alone in your loneliness. Talk about it to someone you trust. Write about it, journal. Allow yourself to express it. You can and will survive this.
I’m lonely. But I’m still here. And so are you.
Picture Source: Morguefile