Leave Me Alone, I Am Lonely...
It is hard work living in my head. I have this innate sense of loneliness that aches in my very core. It churns at my stomach and runs like acid through my veins. Sometimes I feel like it is filling my lungs so I can hardly breathe in the oxygen that gives me life. It seeps from my eyes in the form of heartbroken tears each and every time I learn that yet again my family and I have been left out or forgotten about. When I see my friends posting on social media about the get togethers they have been at, the ones no one thought to ask us too, it feels as though this loneliness is squeezing my throat closed, trying to choke me.
The problem is, I am so lonely, yet I am deeply socially anxious too. I struggle to be around people, afraid of when I might fall apart, scared they are judging me or have invited me out of obligation or pity. This has only increased in the past few months. At first I kept it a secret that I had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, but slowly people started to find out. Most were kind, others less so. Some suggested I was there for attention, others implied I should be grateful for the “break,” as if I was on some kind of holiday at a luxury health spa. Then there were those who felt my new medication should cure me, and told me as much, and said I would be fine to come off it in a month or two as that was all they had needed.
These things left me with deep psychological scars. I felt I couldn’t be around my own friends anymore because they did not understand. On the surface I still look the same. I smile, I attend Christian worship, and I talk to these same people, but on the inside that loneliness is cloying. I feel invisible, forgotten, ignored even. I think they do not want to know the deeper me because their actions tell me so. I think they don’t feel comfortable around the person who was so sick she had to be admitted to hospital. It probably makes them uneasy.
I, my family, we have become forgotten about, the last to be invited to a gathering, if we are invited at all. It is as if we have ceased to exist.
To feel this sense of invisibility brings with it a sense of isolation that is totally ineffable. I can’t even put it into words that make sense. It feels smothering. When it affects my family, my husband and children, it breaks my heart thoroughly.
The loneliness and disappointment, the continued isolation and being excluded, the pain and fear of being a burden have made it so when we are thought of, when someone does invite us somewhere, I feel this overwhelming sense of anxiety. Often I cannot bring myself to leave the house when the time comes, instead feeling physically ill from the fear of being around those who have backed away. I feel like such an enigma. “Leave me alone, I am lonely… but I am also scared you didn’t really want me here and that you wish I’d not come.” I just want to be included.
They say as you change, so does your circle. I think my circle is changing indeed, but I don’t really understand how to cope with it yet. It has always been important to me to be kind, to care for others, and the thought of giving up on trying to rekindle these friendships is hard to accept. As time is going by I am finding myself drawn to those who instead are showing by their actions how beautiful they are inside their soul.
It is hard to find your circle of people. I thought by the time I was 30 I would know exactly who I was and who my friends were. I never expected to still be trying to find my place in this world, to feel so totally alone except for my husband and kids, and one or two close friends. Maybe one day I’ll be able to know exactly where my place is and who I am.
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Thinkstock photo by kevin h illillustration