On loneliness in the wake of depression
Is it taboo to admit you feel lonely?
Is a it a sign that there’s something wrong with you?
Is it a sign that nobody wants to be your friend?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the loneliness that comes in the aftermath of depression.
It’s different from the loneliness while you’re stuck deep down in a dark hole covered by depression. When you’re too caught up in the dark webs of your mind, there’s no room for the world that’s driving past your stuck mind and body.
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For some people it’s difficult to understand what depression is and how it feels.
‘Cheer up, dear’ they say, as if their advice is groundbreaking news. They may get angry at you for not getting better. Not ‘just smiling’.
They may break up with you because they see depression as an unforgivable sign of weakness (been there, got the t-shirt, -3/10 would recommend).
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But that’s a few, ignorant people’s reaction. I won’t waste anymore words on them.
Most feel sympathy, and maybe a bit lost as how to help you. They notice something’s up with you, and show concern. Their intentions are good, even if they don’t always know how to act around you (I like these people, they’re trying their best).
I lost a lot of friends when depression took root. It happened slowly. I started to withdraw myself, and at some point reached a place where hanging out with friends was as manageable as climbing a mountain in flip flops.
The dark cloud had convinced me that I was worthless, that nobody cared about me. That nobody wanted to be my friend. That when people asked me to hang out or talked to me, it was only as a courtesy. Because they’d feel like a bad person if they didn’t invite me – so I’d turn the invitations down, because it was what everybody hoped for. I was so convinced they had a better time without, I was just a burden.
Compared to some, I was lucky to even get the invitations. But when you turn people down and don’t reply to their messages, they eventually stop coming.
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As people graduate, meet new people and move away, while you don’t make new friends, slowly you end up alone. When you’re stuck in the deep dark hole of depression, you don’t feel the loneliness in the same way. At least in my experience, I was too consumed by my own dark thoughts to take in and cope with the world around me. But now that I’ve fought my way back, I’ve climbed up from the hole and am ready to bask in the sun’s warm rays.
Little by little, I came back to life. I started noticing the beauty in the world around me.
And I started to notice how lonely I’ve become. I have no one to blame but myself for it, as it was my (lack of) actions that led me here (though it’s not really my fault my brain was kinda broken).
Now we’re back to beginning. Talking about loneliness. And the shame that comes with it. I feel ashamed to just write about it here.
I feel as if I don’t appreciate the people I have in my life (which I really do, and often remind myself of).
As if I’m admitting I’m incapable of being liked, and this has inadvertently turned into a warning not to befriend this weirdo. But I’m still writing, because shame can only thrive in silence.
It took more than a few tears to write this, so I hope you’ll respond with kindness. And if you experience loneliness, I assure you you’re not the only one. We are not alone, and talking about it makes it easier to live with, and hopefully overcome.
I’d be honoured if you’d like to share a snippet of your story and at least make one person (that’s me) feel less lonely