All about the mind

On loneliness

April 17, 2017
lonely

A couple of days ago, I wrote this poem above and shared it on Instagram. It’s been something I’ve been struggling with the last twelve to eighteen months. Some days are better than others but there are times when the loneliness hits hard.

I have to distinguish between being alone and lonely though.

I enjoy being alone. 

I truly do! As an introvert, I value the time spent by myself reading, writing, exercising, at the beach or even just watching Netflix. It’s relaxing. It’s rejuvenating.

But the loneliness. That’s a different feeling.

According to an article I read in The Conversationloneliness was defined as:

Loneliness is commonly used to describe a negative emotional state experienced when there is a difference between the relationships one wishes to have and those one perceives one has.

The unpleasant feelings of loneliness are subjective; researchers have found loneliness is not about the amount of time one spends with other people or alone. It is related more to quality of relationships, rather than quantity. A lonely person feels that he or she is not understood by others, and may not think they hold meaningful relationships.

I get it is a subjective feeling. For me, it’s feeling disconnected from others. Feeling like I don’t belong. Feeling like I’m unwanted. It’s not about the number of friends and it has nothing to do with moving away from Sydney either.

Rather for me, it has to do with the realisation that some relationships I thought were significant in my life, were in fact, not. It was realising that I didn’t mean as much to some people as they did to me. It was being excluded and being let down. It got to the point where I felt lonely even when around people. The times I would be around these people, I would still feel incredible lonely and disconnected.

I will admit I probably contribute to the current feeling of loneliness. You see, after trusting people and being vulnerable, to be excluded hurt really, really badly. Hell, I was even depressed following the first time it happened and that lasted from around May 2015 until October last year. But basically, in a bid to protect myself, I pulled away.

I withdrew emotionally from the people that hurt me. While I didn’t completely cut ties, I promised myself I wouldn’t let my heart shatter into a million pieces again and I withdrew. {Ironically, it still hurt when I was excluded from something else earlier this year; this after including all those who had hurt me} So now, when I meet people, I still hold back. I am afraid of being hurt all over again. I am afraid of having to mend my heart again.

Over the long weekend, I explored the coast and got out on my own. Only to notice how many people had others with them. I was all alone. And while usually it’s a nice feeling, the loneliness hit hard.

Not having family here doesn’t help. Not being able to pick up a phone and ring someone ‘just because’ doesn’t help. Not having someone I can reach out to when things are just plain shitty just highlights these feelings of loneliness.

Sometimes I wonder what went wrong.

Did I do something to make people exclude me? People I thought were good friends? Or am I just someone unloveable? Someone people prefer to catch up with once in a while or talk to when they have problems but not really want to be with on a regular basis. I like to think I am a decent person. Sure I have my flaws. But I don’t think I have ever done anything so bad for people to deliberately exclude me.

I have tried to rationalise. Tried to move on to meeting others, doing things for others, or even connecting with strangers. But I believe somehow, a wall does come up. The wall to protect myself.

In the end though, the loneliness hurts. As much as I love my online blogging community, I still don’t see any of you all in real life. And so, there is a void. A huge void.

I know loneliness can kill.

And that scares me a bit. Yet, at other times, I find myself wondering if the loneliness is pervasive anyway, death might actually be a good option.

I am still figuring it all out. How to learn to trust again. How to balance the risks of being vulnerable again to potentially having to repair my already shattered heart.

Will I be able to do it?

Only time will tell.

***Linking with Mackenzie for MG, Denyse for Life this week, Corinne for Monday Musings and Alicia for Open Slather***

Until next time,

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28 Comments

  • Reply Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life April 17, 2017 at 7:22 AM

    You don’t need to be alone to feel lonely. I have my family around me but still sometimes feel a similar loneliness to that you described above.
    Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life recently posted…Monday Makeup Madness 101 Link UpMy Profile

    • Reply Sanch Writes April 17, 2017 at 10:20 AM

      I agree that you don’t need to be alone. I do wonder though whether the disconnection would be less if I had at least my sister around. Not sure but it is something I ponder about…

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit April 17, 2017 at 8:28 AM

    xoxxo
    I too am an introvert. I can spend time with people and really enjoy it, but after a few hours I need to escape to breathe. I often admire people who get to live on their own (I joke with my family that I’d prefer to have a granny flat out the back). Being surrounded by people 24/7 even when they are my own kids and hubby can often make me feel suffocated. It seems to get more pronounced as I age. But I do wonder how I’d feel if the opposite were to occur.
    Being alone versus loneliness.
    Thanks for writing about this and letting us peek inside your heart. You’ve given me food for thought.
    But above all else … please let us know … Are you OK?
    xoxoxox
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit recently posted…Day 2741 – Annual celebrations creating precious memoriesMy Profile

    • Reply Sanch Writes April 17, 2017 at 7:38 PM

      Thanks for your lovely comment Leanne…I am ok. Well, as ok as I can be 🙂
      I don’t know how I’d go with people 24/7 now that I’m not used to it; I do enjoy the alone time but not the loneliness at other times.

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond April 17, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    My husband and I were discussing loneliness and being alone only yesterday. I think you can be alone but not lonely and I enjoy my own company sometimes. Other times I yearn for social interaction it just depends on my mood. Have a beautiful week.

  • Reply Denyse April 17, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Thank you for opening up your heart. I see similarities in my own journey. I may have my loving husband by my side but I have battled loneliness too..even before we made the move up here. It was from within. I sensed others were doing this ‘life’ thing better than me. Moving away from family (we used to care for the grandchildren and saw them most days of the week) made me incredibly sad for the first year or so each time I saw families interacting out and about. I have had to really let go of much I valued (thought I valued) to come into the place and space that it is the relationship with ME that I needed to nurture. I now am seeing things differently as I make friends with me. You know I am less than 20 minutes from The Entrance so we can always catch up if you would like to….and I get it. Denyse xx Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 16/52. Next week: A.N.Z.A.C. Day.
    Denyse recently posted…Special Times To Remember. #LifeThisWeek 16/52. 2017.55.My Profile

  • Reply Claire April 17, 2017 at 11:16 AM

    I’ve been experiencing that kind of loneliness too, I think. I talked about it to my husband, I said to him that I think I need professional help or therapist. He told me that we probably needed to go on a vacation and spend time away from our routines. But I have been feeling this for like around five months already. There were time I’m okay, most of the times it was awful, yes I felt like I didn’t care about death anymore but I think I was not suicidal. Those were the worst time, I have never felt this kind of loneliness before. I’m fine being alone too, most of the time since I’m also an introvert. But those times were killing me. I always pray for things to get better, and I’m trying my best to fight that feeling by reading positive quotes, since I felt like there was no one to talk too.

    I don’t know you in real life but I will mention you in my prayers too. Lets hope things will get better soon.

  • Reply Alicia O'Brien April 17, 2017 at 11:44 AM

    I absolutely enjoy my time alone, I get a bit miffed though when that time alone is spent on housework and doesn’t really feel like I have had the time for my soul to truly breathe. Ive just come home from a drive with my son, out in nature and even though I was with him, it really filled my soul with joy and felt like it had taken the best breaths it has in a long time.
    My loneliness I think comes from not having someone that I can truly pour my heart out or share my problems with that just listens and understands. Life really does suck big ones sometimes. xx
    Alicia O’Brien recently posted…Easter SundayMy Profile

  • Reply Parul Kashyap Thakur April 17, 2017 at 12:03 PM

    There are times I feel lonely too. When I’m in a group that I know by I can’t relate to. I don’t have words to comfort you but I know you will be able to fight this. I’ve known you as one strong woman and this phase will sail through. What do you think about a whatsapp call one day? 🙂
    Parul Kashyap Thakur recently posted…N for Name #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  • Reply Nabanita April 17, 2017 at 12:06 PM

    You know, I have been quiet good at being alone but would have probably felt lonely if my family wasn’t near me as in in the same country. But I do get affected by people when they behave the way they do, when they blame me for things I didn’t even had a clue that I did in the first place. I won’t say I feel lonely but it affects me, sometimes I feel bitter, sometimes resentful while at other times angry.
    Nabanita recently posted…A Letter To My Gapped TeethMy Profile

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 17, 2017 at 6:01 PM

    That was so heartfelt Sanch and I am so sorry that you were on your own at a time of the year when everyone is gathering together to enjoy Easter and the break in routine. I think you show real courage in getting out and doing things by yourself – I tend to bunker down and stay home rather than step our bravely on my own. I truly hope you find a group of like minded friends to share your spare time with – but I know it’s incredibly hard to find the right mix when you’ve been by yourself for a while. Our daughter (who’s 28) says the same thing – her husband is away at a minesite 50% of the time and she says it’s really hard to find other people to just hang out with – not couples or shallow people. Good luck and I hope you write a completely different post next year xx
    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au recently posted…The A-Z Challenge ~ Why Midlife’s Fabulous ~ New ExperiencesMy Profile

  • Reply Mackenzie Glanville April 17, 2017 at 8:30 PM

    You are right, I love being alone too, but it is different to feeling lonely. I am so sad that you feel this way and that people haven’t appreciated you as you deserve. Feeling left out is just one of the most horrible feelings. Please don’t build your walls to tall though, it is easy to hold back with new people but we can miss out on forming great new relationships if we put those walls up. Wish you were in Melbourne xx
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…What if I told you that you are already good enough? #mgMy Profile

  • Reply Shailaja V April 18, 2017 at 12:19 AM

    Big hugs Sanch and I know how this feels, although I wish I didn’t. Most of it is in the past for me though. I’ve sent you a detailed message on Facebook. check it when you get time.
    Shailaja V recently posted…Birthday moments, memories & lessons that endureMy Profile

  • Reply Sreesha April 18, 2017 at 12:28 AM

    Sanch, I wish I could say something to make you feel better. Nothing I say can do justice to what I want to say, so I’m sending you hugs and lots of love and support. I’m a ping away if you wanna talk. ❤️
    Sreesha recently posted…New Day | #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  • Reply Kat April 18, 2017 at 2:39 AM

    That’s so rough. I totally get the recharging feeling of just spending time on your own but also wishing you were part of something bigger than that. I’m sorry that you’re feeling that way and that people weren’t as kind to you as you were to them. xx
    Kat recently posted…Scenic World: The world’s steepest railwayMy Profile

  • Reply rakesh April 18, 2017 at 3:04 AM

    i have a notes about introvert which i wrote long back cuz am a introvert .

    1.a true introvert is a thinker too, they don’t like reading books, they spend time thinking and discovering theories on their own when they are alone.

    2.they don’t like living according to others ideology or they never quote others cuz they are self-realized. so whenever they write something, they stand out in million.

    3.a true introvert is a whole-hearted person and instinctive, they can never allow or like superficial people and superficial emotions into their life.

    4.a true introvert is rebel/revolutionary/extremist/always morally right cuz they don’t like anything immoral and won’t stay silent when something is going wrong. they never beat around the bush,they are always straight forward.

    5.a true introvert has very few or no friends cuz they never allow superficial people and superficial emotions are irritant to them.

    6.when a true introvert breaks his inhibitions ,he is most craziest and unbelievably charming.though they have natural charm.

    7.in the end,a true introvert is simple and naturally human or human in purest form.

    so a person becomes introvert by relating his personality with society from childhood.so none is born introvert.

    at the end of the day, what’s end result for being preoccupied with your own thoughts and feelings and to minimize your contact with other people. personality from end result defines true introvert.

    introverts and extroverts don’t exist if people are of flawless mind and if we are living in an ideal society. someone just discovered the personality as introvert cuz there was some section of people whose mind didn’t go corrupt in this survival of fittest world.so introvert has become a fancy word and its defined by some limited characteristics which is also flawed.

  • Reply Lata Sunil April 18, 2017 at 5:51 PM

    As we grow older, it becomes more and more difficult to trust people and form deep friendships. It is better to work on old friendships and rejuvenate. It is not just for you, but for all of us. In my 20s I had hordes of friends and could make new ones just like that. But in my 40s now, I don’t think I made a new physical friend (not the virtual ones) in the past few years. And I miss having them. Solution is to reconnect with the old ones as they know us so much more.
    Lata Sunil recently posted…Love Sees No Reason by Reshma Ranjan #BookReviewMy Profile

  • Reply Amrita April 18, 2017 at 9:02 PM

    The lack of family around does hit hard.But if you are thinking about it and identifyING it them you are healing too.Don’t let the past spoil the present.When people can’t get along its probably a good thing to move on.Maybe ypu could join a community garden/activity or learn a new skill.Boredom often feeds on loneliness and vice versa .

  • Reply Annie April 19, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    You’ve probably already received all the advice I could have come up with, so I’ll just leave you with this – if you ever need to talk to a stranger, my inbox is always open. Hugs!
    Annie recently posted…Unforgettable Moments at The Wizarding World of Harry PotterMy Profile

  • Reply Lisa Pomerantz April 19, 2017 at 6:59 PM

    Hi Sanch, I am so saddened by your post as I too have been lonely before. And you are correct, lonely and alone are two different things – polar in ways that only those of us who have experienced can know. I can be alone and not be lonely. I have been alone with someone right next to me. I have been alone in a crowded room. The first part is, hackneyed as it may be, is loving yourself. Warts and all. If you can’t love you, no one else really can. Start there, and remember, while you may not meet us all in person, we are here. I am so amazed by the community of people I have met blogging. I blog for therapy and its working. Let go, open up, be vulnerable, and love who you are. You are as unique as a snowflake. <3 #mg And we are all here for you, myself included, lovely!

  • Reply Anne@gritandgiggles April 20, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    I go through ups and downs of loneliness, usually connected to happenings in the family that seem so far away sometimes (well really they are). I like you love alone time though. It has taken me years to start to really build some valuable relationships with people here, where I live and I hope that I can find the gumption to develop more. Sometimes it is just really hard to find people you connect with among all the people you deal with and sometimes, I know this is me, you are so busy working that you don’t have time. I hope you open up and find some people who care a whole lot, ho want to meet for that coffee or chat for hrs over lunch.

  • Reply Sid April 20, 2017 at 6:49 PM

    You’ve just described some of the thoughts that go through my mind too, Sanch. All I can say is, I’m around and just a ping away if you just want to talk. Sometimes, it helps 🙂
    Sid recently posted…Too Hot to HandleMy Profile

  • Reply Vishal Bheeroo April 23, 2017 at 2:21 AM

    I think it gets tricky and complex to be all alone despite loving our me time and being an introvert seeking happiness in doing our own things. I am single and love it but sometimes do feel a void somewhere. It’s all about connecting with the right people and gradually I am switching off from people who have hurt me and with whom I have no connection. Keep the faith and soar:)

  • Reply Zita April 25, 2017 at 8:19 PM

    I can relate to this so much…. I have always believed that there is a big difference between being lonely and being alone. I am ok most times with being alone but the lonely times are creeping in more and more as I feel disconnected and the separation between friends is becoming bigger and wider…. I have no answers but to look after yourself!
    take care..
    Zita recently posted…for my plans for 2017My Profile

  • Reply Ashleigh - mymeow.com.au April 27, 2017 at 5:48 PM

    Someone said something to me the other day and it was about the best relationship you have is with yourself and once you nail that you’re never lonely. It’s true you can be surrounded by others and feel lonely, or alone and fell full. I think it is dependent on your own sense of self at the time.
    Ashleigh – mymeow.com.au recently posted…Day 1 – When Love Means Letting GoMy Profile

  • Reply Pratikshya Mishra April 28, 2017 at 12:28 PM

    Hi Sanch, Please have courage and hope. You should never question whether you’re ‘unlovable’ – it’s just rubbish and not at all true. I get the loving vibes from your blog miles away in India (Bhubaneswar, Odisha)… i draw inspiration from you and your writing.. you never know whom you inspire… so never look down so much..
    I know that feeling of being excluded.. hope you recover from it soon.. Love and Hugs
    Pratikshya Mishra recently posted…‘Kafka On The Shore’: A Spellbindingly Surreal Novel By Haruki MurakamiMy Profile

  • Reply Ishieta April 30, 2017 at 12:52 PM

    You have written my story. The only difference is while i am an extrovert, i haven’t learnt to be okay alone either. And considering just about everyone has hurt, stabbed or generally used me.. I m just t tired of d manipulation. I fear new ppl too, but d old more! I am glad u have a blog community to reach out to.. I wish i had that sense of belonging too 🙂 but death isn’t d answer.. I will never give ‘them’ d satisfaction that they had so much power over me.. Think about that!

  • Reply Elisa @ With Grace + Eve May 25, 2017 at 8:10 PM

    I hope you are okay Sanch. Hope today has been a great day. I know what you mean about the difference between being alone and loneliness – I crave alone time and find it nourishing, yet have felt lonely when surrounded by others! Xx

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