Modern turkeys are too fat to have sex naturally and this post has nothing to do with turkeys or sex. Also, all art belongs to Zoe Si. Check out her Instagram @zoesees because her drawings are delightful.
I have a question for you. Have you ever been surrounded by people but found yourself feeling so painfully lonely even though you weren’t technically alone?
I have and I’ve been feeling this way for awhile now.
A few weeks ago, while texting one of my friends who was actually my first boyfriend (we still keep in touch which is interesting), I was asked how I’m doing. Instead of lying and saying fine I said that I was stressed, sad, and feeling depressed. Naturally he asked why and I said, “I’m feeling very isolated and lonely.”
“Sarah,” he texted back, “you’re not alone. You have so many friends around you.” I think he thought that I meant I felt alone which I don’t. I feel lonely and the two are very different.
Naturally, I’ve been trying to analyze why I feel the way I do and in the process I came to understand a few things about loneliness that I want to break down.
- Loneliness can happen when you’re not alone, but surrounded by friends or family.
- Loneliness usually hits hardest when you’re not expecting it like when you’re brushing your teeth, making your morning coffee, or while you’re driving to work.
- Loneliness hurts both emotionally and physically. I’ll touch on this later.
- People deal with loneliness in their own way and there are different degrees of loneliness.
I want to break down each point from above so go grab a nice cocktail or a hot white mocha from Starbucks and get comfy.
Number 1. You can be surrounded by people and feel lonely and you can be by yourself (you know, alone) and feel content and normal. Just because you’re shoved into a crowd of people and not technically alone doesn’t mean that you can’t feel lonely. Maybe you’re surrounded by people who don’t know or understand you well like people in your past which makes you feel isolated and leaves you wanting something which leads to loneliness.
Number 2. Maybe you felt normal all day but suddenly while brushing your teeth you feel like you’ve been punched in the heart and you feel overwhelmingly…sad. It’s a feeling that you weren’t expecting and that you don’t know how to handle because you don’t know why you’re feeling alone. I’ve learned that loneliness creeps up when my brain is least prepared. It’s like it can sense that my emotional guard went on a coffee run and that it can hop over the fence and get into my head. Maybe this is the worst thing about loneliness; the fact that it can happen at any moment when you’re least expecting it even when you’ve had a normal day.
Number 3. Loneliness is a bitch and it can leave a gaping, throbbing (in a non-sexual way you creep), hole of isolation in its place. I’m talking a crippling pain that makes you cry or makes you want to scream. I’ve had many “episodes” of this type of loneliness (in private because I’m a stone-cold bitch in person). Some were brief little crocodile tears in my car at lunch. Others were full meltdowns that left me bent over in the shower just trying to keep myself from hyperventilating because I felt so alone in a world with 7 billion people.
Loneliness hurts because it’s an emotion and we’re human; I’m human. The emotional pain leaves me exhausted and makes my body hurt without really any reason. Our bodies are all one connected system and it would be stupid to say that emotions can’t cause physical pain.
Number 4. Everyone handles loneliness in their own way because everyone experiences loneliness differently. If you believe in the Myer-Briggs personality test, I’m an INFJ-T. That’s introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging, and the real pain in the ass trait which is turbulent. In summary, I feel emotions in a different way than others and I always have. I’ve always felt emotions in a more magnified field than the people around me and it can create a very big problem for me because sometimes I don’t know how to process what I’m feeling.
Some people might feel loneliness as a small little nudge at the back of their mind. Others, like me might process it as an elephant sitting on our hearts. Everyone is different. For some, a day of isolation and self care might do the trick and for others they might need to surround themselves with close friends. Some might be able to just ignore it and live their lives (lucky bastards; wish I could do that).
And others might be able to cure their loneliness by using other people. I think that’s what I’ve been trying to do these last few months and the only thing I’ve received is more loneliness because sometimes the best way to get over someone is not with someone else—at least for this girl.
My point is that loneliness is probably one of the hardest emotions to deal with because it can last for a long time and it can be hard to cure. Sometimes we’re so stuck in our own heads that we can’t break free and feel happy. I’ve gone to bed feeling completely and utterly isolated and defeated, woken up the next morning feeling connected and like I could breathe again, and then felt overwhelmingly lonely again by noon.
I think loneliness takes time and for some it can’t be cured by using someone else. If you thrive on having deep connections with a close number of people, how can you expect to cure your loneliness by creating multiple shallow connections with people who will never know you?
At the end of the day, I truly believe that we only have ourselves. If you’re feeling lonely I want you to really study your reflection in a mirror and realize that you are not alone because you have yourself as a friend. Take solace in that. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that this isn’t a permanent feeling.
I’m interested to know how others deal with loneliness. Leave a comment below with your cure-all 🙂