Alone or Lonely? Exploring My State of Mind

I go hiking every year on Veteran’s Day. It’s a good way to be alone, think about sacrifices made by vets and experience nature. This year I had a lot on my mind. I’ve been in a dark place and have had a hard time getting out of it.

I have been struggling with loneliness. When I mentioned this to someone they said, “Oh, you don’t like being alone?” No. It isn’t that. I hiked alone on Monday and enjoyed it. I reveled in the quietness. I had the trail mostly to myself (I saw a ranger and 2 other women). I had moments where it was completely silent. And it was marvelous.

As I was walking on the trail, I was reflecting on this dark period. Why am I lonely? And why is it so overwhelming right now? Why can’t I get myself to the gym? Why I can’t I workout? Why can’t I find any happiness in my photos? It’s a lot. I know. I didn’t come away with any answers.

I used to have a large group of friends. I used to be invited to parties. Dinners. Events. They were all friends from when I taught and performed a style of dance and I wasn’t ever lonely. I ended up having to leave the group and of course all my friends slowly disappeared. I won’t go into details but it was painful. I stopped dancing altogether and realized my whole social life dropped away.

Since then… I have made a few friends. However, I’m closest to people who live states away from me. I reach out to others, closer, with no response. I realize that perhaps I’m not an enjoyable person. I try to be but maybe I am not seeing something. I have put out requests for hiking and get no takers. And so I go alone.

I know there’s tons of advice on curing loneliness. I’ve read it. I have a degree in social work. I know all the stuff. I know how to pull myself out of this depressions – usually. Hiking helps. Photography helps. But I really miss having a connection with someone special. The shared experiences. The jokes. That person who will meet you for coffee. I don’t even mean a romantic relationship. Someone I know who will be there for me.

I am not sure how long this darkness will last. I’m supposed to tell people and reach out but I don’t want to. I’m tired of reaching. I’m tired of initiating. I will force myself back to the gym. When I’m depressed I eat. And, well, that’s no good and adds to my depression and self-flagellation.

So no, I don’t mind being alone. I rather enjoy it most of the time. However, I do wish I had a choice. I wish the only option wasn’t always being alone.

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About Jennifer G

Nature lover. Being outside keeps me sane and balanced.

Posted on November 15, 2018, in Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Do you think in general people dont meet up in person as much as they used to? Its so much easier to sit at home & socialise online. I think people have gotten a bit lazier & dont feel the need to tend to their friendships. It can look like they’re living a big social life because thats what they post on social media but in reality they are probably a bit lonely too. Im quite introverted & tend to overthink things, being around people all the time drains me. But I do envy women with some close besties to share things with (sometimes). I totally understand where you’re coming from.

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  2. This is going to sound like the dumbest advice ever, but the only thing I can tell you is to hang in there. Keep trying to move forward, do as many of the things you know you should do as you possibly can. Your life will change (again and again). And if it gets to be too much, please seek medical help. Your writing is beautiful and authentic, keep telling your story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. Last night… I was sitting in a bath and thought, “Enough!” I had eaten so poorly yesterday. I eat when depressed and then feel depressed that I eat when depressed. And I had enough. I am sick of feeling like this and will move forward. I have to because this isn’t fun. It isn’t dumb advice and I so appreciate your comment.

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  3. Hi. I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling lonely. Living in NYC, my friendships have a high turnover rate because people are always moving away. Long distance friendships aren’t the same. I’m hardly the social butterfly, but for what it’s worth here’s how I’ve met new people lately.
    Volunteering on trail maintenance. If you like getting your hands dirty, it’s kind of fun and you work with people who share your interests. We also joined a few outdoorsy Meetup groups. To be honest, this was motivated by my bear fear, but you can’t help but get to know people when you’re on an adventure together. Some groups are very active with a handful of hikes every week. Maybe there’s a group in your area?

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    • Hi! There are some. I haven’t ever taken the plunge but should. I often worry they will have a different hiking style which is dumb. But it’s a great idea. I would love to do maintenance but have so little free time but will do it one day when my kids are older. Thanks so much.

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    • I think these days we have to work a bit harder at friendships than before. I found that while my kids were young I naturally formed friendships but once my kids got older the regular contact just wasnt there & friends slipped by the wayside. Part of the cycle of life. Joining groups like you mentioned is a great way to getf out there & form connections with people. I think that connection in one form or another is what we all need. If it results in finding a new friend then that is an added bonus 😊.

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  4. I think I’m going to enjoy reading your thoughts, it’s a lot like mine. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear about your loneliness. I’ve been feeling a little apathetic lately and a lot of what you’ve described resonates. Making friends, especially good friends, can be hard. It feels a lot like dating.

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