What To Do When You Are Lonely
Sometimes people can feel lonely in a crowded room and others can feel totally comfortable home alone all day. Being alone is not inherently an issue. Many ancient sages or meditation masters can be alone and content. But this might be after they have gone beyond individual ego, and no longer feel separation from Oneness of the universe.
But for most of us humans, biologically and emotionally, we are social beings. We live in a communities because we need to. We can't do everything alone. We need help. Collaboration is our biggest survival skill. Our species would die off without it. It's natural to feel loneliness when you feel apart from your community (Loneliness and What To Do About Loneliness).
You Can Feel Lonely and Be Independent
We have contradictory ideas in this culture, that we are weak if we can't do things independently. But nobody, least of all successful people, do everything alone. Think of the top executives- they don't do things alone. Same for life saving doctors- they don't do surgery alone. Think of world leaders-they don't do things alone. Independence is overrated.
Also, co-dependence has gotten a bad rap from substance abuse recovery terminology. Think of the word literally outside of recovery's negative connotation. It quite accurately describes life in my family. We all need each other and are there for each other.
I don't know anyone who does everything alone. Then why do we hold ourself to this standard? I'll tell you why. It is usually a question of worth. It is usually a sign that some has a low sense of self worth, when they feel like they should be doing things alone. It's a judgment against themselves.
Feeling Lonely Includes Feeling Upset
On the other hand, lonely is totally different. Lonely is usually upsetting. It brings a melancholy, or worse, depression. Lonely is isolation, it breeds negative self identity, increasing sadness and anxiety. When we feel lonely, we feel like nobody loves us. We remember all of the evidence that points to this fact. (And for some reason, our mind gets empty of all the evidence against it.)
Loneliness makes us think:
I ruin everybody else's life.
I can't call anyone because I will be bothering them.
Nobody wants to hear from me.
I make bad decisions, I just shouldn't make anymore.
I don't know how to act in social situations.
I am awkward.
I have nothing to offer.
I'm a dork.
I mess up everything.
I can't do anything right.
I can't trust anyone.
I hurt people.
Everyone hurts me.
I am worthless.
I am unlovable.
Nobody wants me there.
Everybody leaves me.
Any of these sound familiar?
Even if none of these are true (which I can assure you they aren't!), when we are alone, sad and anxious, each of these thoughts can take on a life of their own, twisting through our memories to find even more evidence of why they are true. Pushing us further into our sadness and firming our commitment to even more isolation.
How to Deal With Feeling Lonely
If you feel this way, get to another person as fast as you can. Go against everything you are thinking about yourself and reach out to someone. You think you might feel worse, but it will make you feel better. You don't have to tell them how you are feeling, just talk about anything. Even if it is the weather. You just have to get out of your head. You know this works because it probably has worked in the past. Don't delay this time.
How about you? What do you do when you are lonely?
Lobozzo, J. (2013, March 27). What To Do When You Are Lonely, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2013/03/what-to-do-when-you-are-lonely
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
I have worked part-time for years and have just gone back to full-time. I can't go out at night. I just can't get myself to go out. This limits my social interactions. This adds to my loneliness. I'm obese, and my attempts to lose weight and exercise aren't leading me to lose weight. My weight, and my HSV2 and fear of reaction to disclosure, lead me to fear of trying relationships. This adds to my loneliness. I have a friend who lives in another country who also spends much of her time alone, but rarely feels lonely. I find this interesting, and I envy the perspective but haven't been able to emulate it.
I have been a loner for the biggest part of my life. As a child I was extremely shy and never really bonded with anyone. Every person I tried to befriend ended up dominating the relationship.
Thank you. Loneliness is something you feel ashamed of and blame yourself for. It feels a bit like wallowing and self pity. Neither of which are admirable.
Could use a friend myself.
I suffer from severe depression and anxiety carnt do anything on my own my 25 year old daughter is looking after me but I feel so lonely and self harm every night just to focus on something and not my head whizzing round
To Nancy...I completely know how you feel. I have suffered anxiety in social situations for years. I dealt with it okay when I was younger. It was easy to hide but I always felt lonely and I isolated myself as my parents were both narcissistic so I felt alot of shame for no good reason. I am now 51 and am isolating other than going for groceries and appts . I love to be out and active to a certain degree but have nobody to do anything with. My friends don't understand after all this time that I still feel uncomfortable in certain situations so they give up. I wish zi had someone to talk to. I sm fun loving and know lots of great things to do to have fun and not feel lonely and isolated. But times running out on me too....take care !
Bill !! Thank you so very much for just reading what I typed! (Over and over and editing and deleting), as I often do. Then hit “Comment” and rarely have seen any replies, and I knew this was a very old article. I knew it was likely a waste of my time. (Like I don’t have anything BUT time).
You sound so very much like myself. I force myself to go get groceries but typically only after I’m at a point of great urgency with that and other thibgs. (Appts which I cancel a LOT). Scripts that I have to drive less than a mile to a drive through to pick up, but I agaonixe over that. So many times I’ve left and just thrown on whatever because I’d just be sitting in my car at a drive through pharmacy so who would know I was feeling so desperate and lonely? They don’t care. They don’t ask. I’ve cried while speaking to the techs/cashiers. You’d think someone would have SOME compassion somewhere? I DO! I take my dog when I can if I don’t have to make several stops, as she takes my mind off my pain and anguish and I always hope to turn any attention on her. She’s been my person. My friend. My 24/7 when i cry so hard I’m afraid my neighbor will hear me on the other side of me. It’s embarrassing to say the least.
Other times I make myself get dressed and ready like I used to do. I used to be a very girly girl type. (I still am under all this) I can talk to most anyone anywhere about most anything and nobody wiuld ever believe I suffer like I do. Then there’s the returning home. The knowing it’s empty and lonely and I’ve never in 5 + years made this place into a home other than its where my dog is. That’s what my door mat says. And it’s the absolute truth. I fear that when she’s gone I’ll not be able to go on. She’s a Golden Retriever, 8 yrs old. Large dogs don’t live nearly long enough. None do. The two before her died at 9 and 10. I do fear I’ll find a way out then. There would be no reason to get up at all. Nobody knows just how bad it is but when I tell them honestly, I get the cold shoulder. The ignoring that comes along with being uncomfortable with something. I’ve been told so often how strong I am I’m so sick of hearing the word. Im not strong. I’m here because it’s HARD to take your life and complete the act. I won’t fail if it comes to that. My family and those friends would look at it as a ploy or an act. That’s what I could never live with. I don’t want it to come to that but each passing month and year only comes and goes faster and with nothing to ever look forward to. It’s the most devastating thing I can think of that can happen to a person. A person who was vibrant although always not very confident. I gained confidence through work and people who saw me as a person who was liked by everyone.
That wasn’t the case growing up nor in this last awful marriage I lost everything in. My self respect. My self worth. My financial stability is gone. My health suffers. And most of all my daughter and granddaughters who I miss more than life itself. I do feel they were stolen from me by my ex. And I’m not strong enough to fight to gain her back
Bill, Thank you! You’ve made me feel heard and validated which is something I don’t get any longer. If there’s a way we can connect,, I’d very much welcome that!!!
Nancy I know how you feel as well the overwhelming oppression of it all, the loneliness, anxiety, depression, feeling No one cares, like being in a pit and not able to see the light and everyone telling you your strong I'm so sick of being strong it churns my stomach, and I haven't found anything that helps. the prescribed drugs I tried for a bit but only made me feel like a zombie, I'm in recovery software alcohol and drugsee are out as well. I have isolated so long that friends and family never call and i cant bring myself to bother them only way I knowe what's going on in there lives is social media but it's like being a ghost looking in/ apart. It's good to know I'm not the only one going through this but hate to think of anyone else feeling like this at the same time I wouldn't wish the way I feel on anyone. I hope this helps to a small degree just writing this has helped a tad bit for me so thank you . Robert
Hi Bill, THANK YOU, for sharing with me, reading my words and HEARING me! It’s not often that happens and although these blogs are very useful, it’s unlikeky that the comments made are seen, (no where to request notifications be sent), so i bookmarked this article to come back to.
What a pleasant surprise to see you’d commented and shared your own pain. (I hate that anyone feels the way we do), but if it helps any one of us then it’s worth it to me.
Like you, I’ve all but given up on all family and most all friends. Social media i left years ago when separating from my now ex husband. It was constant grief. Constant pain, and as you said I️ felt like I was a ghost peering in through a very small window. Too many people known in my past with my ex. My family decided to disown me, and so I decided was much better off being that ghost. Nobody calls, nor did my family believe in my depression, anxiety, and the C-PTSD diagnosed with due to so much unimaginable trauma during and after my divorce, goes unknown. I truly doubt they know or care that I’m even alive. Isn’t it just easier for some to sweep you under the rug than face you, or dare try to help you? I never imagined this life for myself and like you, doubt that medications, counseling have really helped me at all for the most part. It’s exhausting thinking about it all let alone living/existing day to day.. I can’t say I’ve felt like I’ve lived in years. The isolation gets worse. Yet I know it’s me that’s making it worse. You can’t just go out and make friends easily because forcing myself out anywhere is so brutally hard.
Thank you, for your reply and your words. You’ve made a difference for me that doesn’t happen often. I wish you all the best. I do wish there were a way for some of us to contact each other, if you’d be interested in having a friend who cares. i know I sure would.
ROBERT!! Please accept my apology for referring to you as Bill!!! That was the other gentleman that commented. i read your name and my head still had my finger type Bill!! Please forgive me!!
I know this is a very old article but I've just read it and relate to most all of the comments I always read.
I too, have crippling anxiety, have done all the "reaching out" to the few close friends I still have only to be made to feel I just need to force myself to do something to help myself. If I were able I'd have done it, I assure you. I'm disabled due to major depression, anxiety, since 2006, as of a cruel brutal divorce from a narcissistic spouse in 2013, I was diagnosed with complex ptsd. I've lost the only family I loved to the lord of this man to my adult daughter from a first marriage out of high school. She's 37. I'm 56. My only child. We were closer than close. I prided myself on our relationship because my own mother was never a mother. She's still alive but I stopped contact with her over 6 years ago when telling her my marriage was falling apart and I was losing my home of 24 years to foreclosure. I made that call from my then counselors office because I knew the backlash I'd receive. I did. My also narcissistic mother told me what a failure I was and an embarrassment and shamed her again. She never liked my now ex from the day they met over 20 years ago but she suddenly tells me I couldn't keep a man either. That was the last straw with her. She's now 93 and still tries to contact me. I don't listen to her VM's. I've heard enough. I no longer open her cards that she'd enclosed nasty letters inside accusing me of elder abuse. I owe her now in these years she's in assisted living fir raising me, feeding and providing shelter. I've heard all of that. Yet I still feel guilt if she dies without me having tried to talk with her one last time. My other family members have disowned me since my decision to stop contact. Nobody likes or can stand being around her but once I stopped doing everything for her years ago, they had to pick up when I dropped the ball. After all, I was on disability. A paid vacation I'd chosen according to my mother above being a loving caring daughter she believed I was obligated to be. My now ex emotionally, psychologically, financially, etc., abused me for years before I realized it was NOT me nor my fault as he'd engrained in me for years. I've spent every day and night alone with just my dog who I credit for my being here at all. I think about suicide daily, but do not have the courage it takes to go through the motions to complete it. It can't be an attempt. I can't fail at that knowing my family would think it was some cry for help. The only family I can't let go of is my daughter. She's been fed lies for years and I can't blame her completely for believing the same pathological liar j was married to. I have three gorgeous granddaughters I've not seen in 5 years now. Im only a few miles from them and I she's never answered my calls, texts or letters. I won't be like my mother and make her feel guilty. I can't. I love her and still respect her but I'm running out of time. She has no idea if I'm dead or alive and I'm imagining she doesn't care. It's harder and harder to get through each day each season each new year which will be here again before we know it. I've spent the last six years of holidays birthdays everything alone. It's getting harder to get out of bed for anything other than to let my dog out and in. I'm failing her too, because I've stopped walking her and I because of other fears.
If anyone reads this comment who would like to correspond with someone like me, because I know there are many of us, please comment, I'd love to have a new friend and maybe we can help lift each other up or listen and hear each other or anything other than this silence and horrible loneliness. I wish everyone the very best who feels much like I do.
So sorry for your situation and your loneliness. I have chronic stomach issues that escalate around holidays so I know its anxiety from feeling left out of family life. I am married with no children. My husband is paranoid schizophrenic so does not socialize well. We tried to be part of my aunt's family who is not much older than me but his behavior makes it awkward and we don't feel welcome anymore. Just the fact that it is September and another has my stomach churning at the thought of another year of lonely holidays. My husband is not abusive but he barely talks to me. Sometimes only says good morning and good night. My single friends think I "am lucky" to have him so don't get that I should be lonely on holidays. It was nice advice that the doctor gave on this page but sometimes there is no one to listen and understand you. I am a Christian and sometimes feel the presence of Jesus comforting me but its not the same as having a flesh and blood person to talk to. I will pray for you if you don't mind, Nancy. I am anxious just because its Labor Day and I know there are picnics, barbecues, beach trips, etc. that I would love to be at.
Judy, Thank you for your sharing your story and referring to mine as well. It’s not nearly as lonely when you know someone has read your words and felt what you’re feeking, or has the knowledge in other ways as you do to understand the sheer loneliness of being with a person as you’ve described your husband to be. We all know we can be just as lonely or more so in a crowd of many or of just one.
I was at a horrible point when my marriage was crumbling at a high rate of speed. I hated him. He was psychologically, emotionally, verbally, abusive for years before I realized I was being deconstructed into what he thought or wanted me to be. That’s not even mentioning the alienating, the belittling. The gaslighting., the accusations of me cheating when it was him all along and I never had a clue! It devastated me it crushed what little confidence I did have. I was always said to be pretty and funny and liked by everyone. But nobody knows the turmoil you go through behind your own closed doors but who’s living behind them.
Your friends who think you’re lucky may be so unhappy themselves that your situation may sound ok to them. Walking on eggshells around someone or groups of people when you’re trying to make things look ok to others is EXHAUSTING too! I don’t know if you’ve had to do that or not but I sure have. I didn’t want anyone to know my marriage that people still believe he adored me had been failing for many reasons. Many I blamed on myself as that’s how he made it all look. I learned otherwise. Thank god for good counselors and Dr’s then because they believed in me. Our health system is failing me miserably now as it is with so many of us with mental illnesses. That’s something I’m nearly giving up on because I’ve been through everyone who was good. Who left. Who just are not the same caring individuals as I was so grateful and lucky to have found those years ago. Now I’m lucky if they know my name when I get there. Sad. Then you start your stories and your issues all over again and I just keep thinking “WHY” and what good is this doing me any longer?
I hope you’re doing ok. The holidays are here again and this will be my 7th year of my soon to be 57 birthday alone along with every holiday these last 7 years and the birthdays of those I love who no longer know I’m alive or care for all I know.
I’m grateful for you, and wish the best for you and like I mentioned to Bill above, I’d love to correspond with people who understand like we do. I’m hoping there’s a way the Healthy Place will allow us to do so.
Thank you and my prayers are with you.
I get lonely and anxiety i depression and i dont like the situation feel makes me feel like im not important in my life
Great piece work.
I am a single woman approaching 30 and a researcher in a foreign university. I know I have many advantages as I am a single woman. But I live a town which is a family town and as I am a foreigner I am not always invited by my friends when it is Christmas or other festivals. I engage myself with lots of activities and talk to many people. Still I do not get emotional satisfaction. Instead all those activities make me physically exhausted. I feel extremely lonely and rejected. I crave for love and company. I try dating websites also, but it does not work. Most often I meet people who are not of my type. I have certain intellectual need when I talk to people. I do not expect that everyone will fulfil this need, but I hardly get people who can of my type. I desperately seek to have a partner, but all I get frustration. As I am a foreigner people normally do not consider me as a person who will have a stable career as a person in the foreign land. My family is far far way and I cannot travel always there, neither they can come. my friends here are always busy with their kids. So they cannot be with me when I need then. It affects my research. I am getting very afraid that I am doomed to be lonely and single all through my life. I do not like pets. I do not know how can I control this anxiety of being lonely. I feel that I ll suffer from acute depression. I cry a lot. sometimes people with family irritate me, and I get very very much exhausted with planning all the time to have some company. I need more time for my research.
I am in (almost) the same situation. Leaving in a foreign land with no friends. The friends that I have are at home. Where do you live? Do you to talk with me more?
I have read all the comments and replies on this article. I can totally relate to the comments of being lonely, depressed, and having anxiety. However, from my perspective, the replies are often suggesting the person join groups, take classes, volunteer, etc. While all of these sound helpful for some people, they are not for people like me who can hardly make it to the corner store for milk. When you are to the point that you live in PJ's, don't shower for a week, feel sick all the time, cry all the time, cannot sleep at all on some nights, taking a class or joining a group would be like climbing Mt. Everest. When I can get my mind motivated, I lay in bed and say to myself that no matter how I feel tomorrow I am going to do this, and this. Tomorrow is here, but my attempt at motivation has faded, and I am right back in my chair, thinking the same thoughts, and feeling worse as the day progresses. I have had traumas in my life, a lot of different types at different stages of my life. However, starting in 2001, my life began a down hill tumble that has lasted to this day. A lot happened, especially in the five year span of 2003-2008. I have suffered physically and emotionally, and still do. I cannot get out of this place. I do not know how. I think and/or imagine many different ways to escape, and think about how happy I would be, but then reality sets in, and I realize that unless I am happy when I do these things, I will not find happiness by doing them. I will still be lonely, sad, feel guilty, worthless, unloveable, hurt, and I am not a likable person. So, i am back to where I started, in my bed dreaming of how I am going to take charge of my life, and be that strong women who was the fixer, the fighter, the helper. And then I cry, because I know that woman does not have the strength anymore to fix anything, or even fight for my life. Loneliness is torture, I suppose that is why they use solitary confinement in prisons as punishment. When you daydream about having a friend to talk to, or cry because you want to feel the touch of another human, a hug, an embrace, but no one is there, that is torture. I realize the suggestions made in the replies are a starting point that may help me, I am a long way from making it to a class, or joining a group. Even if I could find a support group, I am not sure there would be people like me there. It is one thing to be depressed or lonely, but still able to work, and socialize, to never getting dressed for a week or more at a time. OK, i have said enough, sorry for the length.
One of the horrible things about any mental illness, trauma, etc. is that these creep inside of a person and take over, affecting thoughts (like "I am worthless," -- a very common belief), emotions, and behaviors (such as zapping motivation). The good news is that you don't have to wait for these things to go away before you can do something or find happiness. Often, motivation and happiness come after we start to do something rather than before. You're right in that it can be very hard to get started on a path you want. Support groups, community centers, etc. are indeed excellent sources of connection, but you don't have to start there. You don't even have to start with socializing at all. What is one little thing that you would like to add to your life? What little things can you do right away to work toward that thing? Don't impose a timeline. Just step by little step work toward one thing you want. Then add another. Eventually you can work toward socializing, and it will likely be a little easier because you've successfully been adding good things to your life. Taking a step away from the overwhelming big picture can go a long way toward creating happiness.
So very lonely all of the time,,,by myself 85% of the time,,,sad,miserable,,unhappy,,no one cares,,,dread winter,,,no phone calls,,can't stand it much longer,,,help,,,judi
Does your community have local mental health organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)? Organizations such as these typically have connections with other community groups as well as have support groups of their own. Other places of connection are community centers, which often have various activity groups, or specialty groups (like a hiking group) that vary from place to place. Reaching out to groups like these are great ways to connect with others and reduce loneliness.
That's me! I have complex PTSD and other illnesses so I am on a small disability pension. I don't have a car so going anywhere means public transit and that's hard also for balance reasons. You can't get a seat, even with a cane when you're old. I'm 63 and my in town friends have all died. I have two out of town friends and I call them every few weeks but can't travel to get to them. I have 5 younger siblings that I helped raise but no one calls me or responds to posts on facebook. I did volunteer in the past but as my health worsened, had to stop. Could not commit to being able to work scheduled hours. I have a cat and she keeps me from suicide. The only interaction I have is with strangers on Twitter. Somehow, I have 5,000 followers so I kind of live for them. I reach into my well of pain and try to find encouraging comments/quotes/articles that would have helped me when I was younger and I post those. Even though they no longer speak to my situation, I figure they might help someone else out there. But it is lonely when the phone only rings for telemarketers. Just venting here. Please forgive me for rambling on.
Sharing your experiences isn't rambling, so no apologies are needed. Welcome to HealthyPlace.com! You'll see that there is a wealth of information, and readers interact with each other a great deal. In addition to comment sections after posts, there are forums where people can interact. Exploring the home page will help you find things you like. You aren't alone, and you'll find people who understand and who share things that they do that help them get out and connect with people.
You are not alone Beryle.. We are all united in the loneliness we feel..lets all keep interacting here...anywhere we can let out what we feel...
I lost my husband 8 years ago and my life has been very lonely. I have a son who lives abroad and a daughter who I never hear from. I feel so isolated with no one to turn to. The only person I talk to is my dog. Where I live neighbours just don't talk to you. There is not a day go by that I can't stop crying I don't know which way to turn to. I have seen my Doctor and he told me to pull myself together and get on with my life. How do I do that ? just to talk to somebody would be nice but that does not happen. I would really like to talk to someone who may have been in the same situation
Are there any community or senior centers in your area that might have activities you can get involved in. Sometimes local libraries also have talks or classes. I hope you find someone or a group to connect with.
There are times when I feel lonely as well. I have a consistent problem with anxiety that interferes just before I fall asleep at night and sometimes it hits me. First thing in the morning. I was married, but he was extremely controlling, emotionally abusive and if I had stayed he would have physically abused me. I managed to raise my 2 daughters alone and during that time I met someone else that was worse then my ex. This damaged me emotionally and it has taken quite a few years, some therapy and counseling to get over the damage he did to me. I am now 52 yrs old and hardly Trust anyone. I've always had one or 2 friends, but after 14 yrs my best friend showed me her "true colors." I try to keep busy and spend as much quality time with my little grandson.
I grew up in a very dysfunctional environment. My father was an alcoholic that was emotionally physically abusive towards my mother and later my siblings.I never felt "Safe" and had a very difficult time Trusting others. My mother and I were always close, but now she is continually attacking me verbally and I never know what to expect.
My father is still an alcoholic and emotionally abusive, but is now losing his memory. My immediate family is very dysfunctional fractured as my mother bitterly and angrily refers to us as. As for my 2 daughters one has developmental problems and lives in a group home. She consistently picks up with the wrong people and gets into trouble a lot even though she is almost 30 yrs old. My other one I have to be cautious with like"walking on egg shells" She is extremely controlling and emotionally abusive.
Who am I kidding! I have no one! I work p time at a mental health agency as a "peer facilitator." I am also seeing a counselor, but not very often. I also attend drop in advanced DBT therapy when I can. I am also in the process of trying to start my own business.
I have been hurt so much that I find it very difficult to let others in. I don't know how to help myself...
I think it is very strong to seek counseling, attend a group (DBT is proven to be an excellent therapy for people who have faced such abuse and dysfunction. The more regularly someone attends DBT sessions the better it works, so it's great that you go whenever you can, and be active as a peer facilitator. You are actively helping yourself (and, as a peer facilitator, helping others). Also, by being active in the world, you are putting yourself in situations where you are meeting other people. You don't have to give your full and complete trust immediately. It's okay to form tentative friendships and slowly let someone in as you feel comfortable. While there are no guarantees that we won't be hurt, we as humans tend to know that being lonely is hurtful, too. Finding a balance between the two extremes is tricky, but it sounds like you know yourself well and know what you want. Identify what is working best of all the things you're doing, and see if you can do a little more of those things. It's a process, but you can create the life you want and deserve.
Recently I decided to take a break from all my social communities (except for talking to some friends on skype) so that I can learn not to be emotionally dependent on them because they take up a lot of energy and time to the point of affecting my schoolwork. The problem is I don't have anyone to talk to in real life and it's making me feel pretty lonely and sad.
I live in a dorm (this is my second semester in this dorm) and there are some folks here and I'd like to make friends with them, but I'm a weird person and tend to not make friends easily with people unless they share a similar whimsy to myself. I'm also inclined to think people don't like me because I'm weird.
Kudos to you for recognizing the drain that is social media. That's a great first step, because it gives you greater opportunities and even a push to get out into the world around you. Meeting people is difficult for most people (even if it doesn't look like it), and it takes time. Allow yourself time to stretch out of your comfort zone and begin to meet people. Your last statement stood out to me. It's so easy for all of us to get caught in assuming we know what others are thinking and to think that they don't like us. Have you considered starting this adventure (and think of it as an adventure rather than a torturous chore!) by listing your strengths and believing in them. For awhile (the amount of time is up to you, but it takes more than a day or two), notice all of the good things about yourself. Write them down. Think about them. Realize what you have to offer the world. Once you have begun to believe in yourself, pick one person, someone in your dorm or in a class, perhaps) that you'd like to get to know. Thinking of your strengths and avoiding assuming that he/she doesn't like you, you can reach out. These are just a couple of ideas. Perhaps you'll gain other insights and ideas in reading the comments left by others. Things might feel uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking right now, but you're not doomed to this for life!
I make bad decisions, I just shouldn’t make anymore./I make bad decisions: I just shouldn’t make any more.
Having got that out of the way, I can only say that sometimes a week of isolation (holiday, frriends & family away, illness) can be a sort of meditation. I've been taking stock since Xmas. I have a few resolutions, one of which is to stop insisting on correct punctuation online! Quality TV and radio and cats help. I'm hoping to resume my activities next week. The phone is a lifesaver too. And let someone have a copy of your house keys, in case you need shopping etc.
I deeply relate to every one of the thoughts listed under "Loneliness makes us think...." The problem is that being told they aren't true isn't enough; I've tried for years. I'm both socially motivated and have crippling social anxiety and can't seem to talk myself out of either one: I hate being alone but it's less painful than being with people. I've tried all the conventional advice, too: volunteering, school, creative stuff, etc. It's just too hard to reach out anymore.
Social anxiety can definitely be debilitating. I understand your comments about things not working, because I was in the same boat for a long time. What finally helped for me was exploring the things causing/underlying my social anxiety and gradually working on those. Everyone is unique, and everyone's anxiety is unique, so what works for one person might not help another at all. I just thought I'd share something that did work for me in case you are interested in trying it. Good luck to you, and don't give up. It's frustrating that so many things don't work, but there really are things that do help.
Place my hands on opposite shoulders, close my eyes, rock myself to the song SONGBIRD & cry if I need to let it go - Self Compassion strengthens me to face the world. It also helps to know God has got my, our individual, best interests at heart, to make the good possible.
Thank you for sharing your ideas. You mention great coping strategies that could be very helpful to many. I'm glad you mentioned self compassion. That is something vital to well-being that we all deserve (even when it's difficult).
I started experiencing anxiety this past summer. I'm 21 and just moved to a new city with a roommate to transfer at a new college. My roommate works a lot and is already graduated from college. This is my first time living away from my parents whom I've been dependent upon my whole life. This has caused me to feel pretty depressed/lonely when my roommate goes to work. School doesn't start until Wednesday so maybe I will feel better when classes start. My doctor said I have anxiety due to the life changes I'm going through and it will pass once I get settled in. This is my hope because I really don't want to get any worse.
Both you and your doctor have good insight into what is going on. What you describe is very normal. Adjusting to any change, especially like the one you are experiencing, can provoke significant anxiety. You are correct -- once classes start, you just might find your anxiety decreasing as you settle into your classes and new routine. If you find that your anxiety does worsen over time, listen to yourself and return to your doctor because there are things that can help. Do give yourself a chance to adjust to your new life. Good luck to you, and enjoy college!
my saddness is too much to take in sometimes....i have some family but we just dont connect the way we used to. My life isnt happy...the only thing that makes me keep going is my son who is 5.
It can be hard to deal with changing family relationships/connections, especially when you're also living with things such as depression and anxiety. Having even one positive relationship in your life, such as that with your son, is very powerful. Focus on that, and perhaps you might even build on that to gradually build other relationships (with parents of other five-year-olds, for example.) It takes time, but you can create happiness. Perhaps others who read this post have tips about what they have done. If your sadness becomes overwhelming, it's important to reach out to someone in your community or online, such as helplines. It doesn't always feel like it, but it is possible to increase happiness. You already are taking charge by focusing on your son.
"I can’t call anyone because I will be bothering them." Or what makes it worse is when you're not taken seriously
To feel that you are bothering people or that you are not taken seriously are very frustrating feelings. Know that they are very common; you are not alone in these thoughts. Something you might want to consider is finding a support group in your area. People go to support groups to listen, be heard, and even to form positive connections. NAMI is a great organization that has groups in many communities. There are others, too. Finding a support group might be something you find helpful.
How does loneliness, anxiety and depression fit together. I think I have all three. When I'm with people I get more anxious. Living alone without much funds after paying bills does not leave much for taking classes. And then there is winter and most roads bad for my small car. Help!
You're not alone, Susan. Of course everyone is unique, but it is common for anxiety, depression, and loneliness be experienced at the same time. In fact, each can fuel the other. It is possible, though, to break out of this cycle. Of course it's possible to spend money on things like classes, and that can be helpful for some people, but that's not the only way to feel better. When it seems that there are obstacles (money, winter, etc.), you don't have to think of this as one giant thing that must be tackled at once. While depression, anxiety, and loneliness often go hand and hand, they truly are three separate things. Which one seems to be the most problematic for you? They are likely all troublesome, but think about which one feels worst. Concentrate on that one. If it's anxiety, for example, what makes it flare up? Then identify one thing that would improve it? If it's being around people, yet you want to be around people, approach it gradually. Do you have one person you know whom you'd like to know a little better? Could she or he come to your house (if your car isn't great in the snow) for a walk or a cup of coffee? Those are just examples. Start slow, pick something that works for you, and build on that. Just an idea. :)
I have done some really dumb stuff out of being lonely. The thoughts listed in the above box is accurate. That is what a lonely person thinks. I am getting up in years and my children are all grown I wonder what life is going to be like. I really have to work on feeling lonely. I am starting to volunteer program for Faith Communities and mental illness and getting them connected to resources in their neighborhoods. I will not let loneliness win. I have come to far now. I will have bouts, but I won't let it get me down. (How did that sound? I say it enough and I will come to believe it. lol).
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I was divorced a while ago and finally found the love of my life or so I thought. Both of us had suffered depression and it was so comforting to be with someone who understood. I helped this person break a cycle of abusive relationships and have her everything I had emotionally and financially. However she suffered from anti-social personality and was a binge drinker. I thought she was recovering from all only to find she was cheating on me physically and emotionally. When I confronted her and kept getting lied to I threw her out.
Like your article pointed she felt she needed to do all the things she did alone and should not have needed help. She said she needed to find herself and stay out of relationships but she had already started another. She completely crushed me. I've never felt so used and humiliated and worst of all, lonely.
It happens all the time but I will never understand how people that are essentially the good ones get hurt the most. She is all over social media saying how happy she is and it's the same pattern she was in before. Now her new love is a recovering alcoholic and I am left empty and lonely wondering if true love even exists or worse, what is the point of life? To keep getting hurt? To continue running into walls.
Thanks for the article it explained a lot and helps.
I am so sorry for you Chris! Even though it feels awful, you are better off without her. I hope someone who can appreciate you comes along soon! You deserve it! (We all do!)
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Thanks, Dr Ferati!