Mental Health

Dealing with Loneliness

I am no stranger to loneliness. When I was a child, I tended to keep myself entertained rather well. My mother wouldn’t worry about making sure I was occupied while she went and dealt with my little brother and sister, who seemed to be handfuls compared to me. I learned early that while I didn’t mind having other around, I seemed to have more fun when I was alone.

This has carried over into my adulthood. Even today, I feel more comfortable in my room alone. I like being in my own little world. I feel like if I’m there, I am in control of it. I make the decisions as to what happens and who is allowed to enter my world. Because of this, there are very few that I’ve cleared to enter my little world. Thus, it seems I’ve manufactured my own loneliness.

Over the past year, I’ve become more and more aware that I am in need of someone whom I can invite into my world, trust implicitly, and have a more intimate relationship with. This need flares occasionally and feeds into my low mood, causing my inner critic to chastise me for being a lonely loser who isn’t worthy of such a relationship.

Of course, my social anxiety also is a major factor. I have a small circle of friends, but in order to find someone for a deeper relationship I have to reach beyond that small group. This causes me great distress, as I tend to clam up in social settings where I know few to no people. On top of this, my deep-seeded fear of failure prevents me from taking a chance chatting someone up and saying the wrong thing and turning them away.

So it seems hopeless for me, right? Not entirely. Thankfully, I have friends that are far more extroverted than I who seem to help me come out of my shell. I know that if I can’t find anything to say they can pick up the slack for me. I’ve been toying with the idea of dating sites or apps, but I feel that if I didn’t get any responses, it would simply cement my inner critic’s abuse as truth. However, it is a pretty low risk way to get myself out there.

Being and feeling lonely is a bummer, but it all comes down to how much one feels comfortable putting themselves out there and being vulnerable. I have an issue with being vulnerable as I’ve been burned in the past before. But that can’t stop me from finding someone I can make a deep connection with. We all need that one person whom we can rely on and be our true selves with. I just have to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself so I can grow and change.

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