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When You Feel Like You’re Exhausting People With Your Existence

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Throughout my journey with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, I have found that in the past, I had maintained one constant trait: I had become too accustomed to isolation.

I am human. I long and ache for relationships. Yet, I pushed them aside because my mind constantly drifted to the times where I was hurt. It would shift and focus to the negative. To the things I should have said. To the instances where I was imperfectly human, where I could have acted better, where I reacted like any other person would have. Where I cried instead of using my words. It went back to a time where I would blame myself for every wrong thing that had ever happened, where I would tell myself I deserved every bad thing that had happened. I am my hardest critic. I would immediately cut ties, justify why I didn’t need the relationship (although I desperately did) and attempt to move on. However, there was never any closure. Depression, anxiety and PTSD settled next to me like best friends. I let them replace any human, believing I would just be a burden to the people in my life.

Who really wants to listen to my problems, anyway? That’s why I pay for therapy. 

So I pushed. I pushed away with all the might I had in my body. I thought it was just easier to be alone.

Part of me said loneliness was reliable. Loneliness is always there for you. Loneliness doesn’t let you down. It doesn’t emotionally hurt you. It doesn’t make promises it can’t keep. It doesn’t strip you of your identity.

I knew exactly what to expect out of loneliness.

There are still times where I feel this way. When I am under an extreme amount of stress, I find it hard to open up. I may always be this way. Feeling like a burden may never go away; when you have so much to talk about, it’s hard to not feel like you’re just talking at people and not to them. It’s hard to not feel like you’re exhausting people with your existence.

But if I can tell you one thing I have learned – even if people hurt you, finding them and having them be a part of your life will always help you more than isolation. We need other people. We need them to help us grow and learn and find ourselves. We need them to dream with and to go on adventures with and to laugh about our day with. We need them to get cups of coffee with, to see movies with, and to sing along to Johnny Cash with. We need them, no matter how they come and go in our life.

Even now as I transition into a new phase, one where I am finding myself more alone these days, I know I have not done it on purpose to punish myself for being me, or for the circumstances that led to my mental illnesses. Every person who has stepped into my life since I have let them in has taught me something, has helped me better myself, and has helped me grow as a person. The one thing about the community we exist within is that none of us are ever alone – we constantly exist among each other. We can grow and repair ourselves together.

We just cannot deny ourselves that chance.

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Image by harsh vardhan

Originally published: October 19, 2016
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