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Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

I felt that pressure to "get your life together" or to follow a particular path when I was younger. I nearly got married and bought a house! I'd have been miserable.

Thankfully, it didn't happen and I forged my own path based on what I wanted out of life — after all, it's *my life* so I should live it the way *I want*, not according to someone else's rulebook.

I couldn't be happier with who I am and how things are going for me now. I'm not married, I don't have kids, I don't own any property (I don't even own any furniture). I make new friends all the time; I don't see/know any of my school friends anymore. I have a job but I don't have a job in an office.
Now that I'm reading what I wrote, I think I've managed to avoid *every* "growing up" cliche there is!

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

For Lex, your story gives me so much hope. I myself don't want to spend a life of expectations of others.

 

Speaking about my personal experience of isolation/loneliness..

For the past years, I've felt much more comfortable being alone. Watching a movie. Exercising. You name it. I would get by life with judgements from others minimised. I would go to school, go to all my classes, sit with friends during lunch breaks but never really engage deeply with anyone. There was no friend I could talk to with honesty because I never let anyone in. Admittedly, I still do. It's hard to get out of this self-immersing lifestyle once you've sunken into it. However, watching Into the Wild was a turning point for me. The book is great too but for now I'll allude to the film because it gave it to me visually and it was real and sad. Chris McCandless writes shortly before his death, "Happiness is only real when shared" and it comes to him (and it did to me) as a startling revelation. I hope I didn't translate it to you as some dramatic Hollywood scene. It was none of that. It was raw. It wasn't an "epiphany" but a realisation realised too late. And it made me realise I had to stop deliberately avoiding people. Though loneliness seems like bliss sometimes, true happiness cannot come through lone experiences. In recounting this, this is a sign to anyone reading who seeks full pleasure from being alone. I know the feeling. But it will certainly lead to regret later in life. Smiley Sad It is healthy to be alone every once in a while but to seek it as a lifestyle isn't any good.

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...


I wish there was such a forum when I was growing up. I had the exact same issues growing up - most of my friends got to the "more lucrative" degrees, got funky jobs, travelled abroad while my life felt it was going on the slow lane to nowhere.
How did I come out of it?

- Change your thinking - believe you are special, we each have a unique path to travel, forge your own - be a rebel you dont have to do what others do - you do better.

- Enjoy the here and now - Maybe they are envying YOU your freedom and carefree happy life with no attachments! Grass is greener on the other side.

- While you enjoy today [which is very important because you will always live in the "today"] - Identify and set genuine goals for the future for yourself - not based on what others have achieved others but what YOU want to do over the next few months, years.

- Start working on those goals - cut yourself some slack, know that things and circumstances will change and you might need to change / extend the goals, its ok. Keep going ahead and forward - it will surely lead you to your destiny
- Keep your options open - stay positive, say yes, know that every step is a stepping stone to something better.

[story of my life - I took up the first job I got and they found I was better at what I did and put me in a position I wanted to be in the first place, one thing led to another and I found I liked the way things were turning out - not what I expected but definitely different and perhaps better for me] you will shine like a star and end up where you should be

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

Thanks everyone for reminding me that I'm not the only one who struggles with these feelings!

 

I've always felt lonely, even when surrounded by others.  I've never had many friends, but that's not by choice.  To some people I'm too different (I've learned to take pride in that), others are repulsed by emotional scars from the past and the resulting depression (people have told me this - its not just my negative thinking, although that doesn't help). It's a vicious cycle - Im depressed coz I have so much trouble making and keeping friends, and I cant make new friends coz I'm depressed.  All the people I've had in my life were either cold and distant, or controlling and abusive. My cold and distant friends say from time to time that they hope I consider them my close friends, but they refuse to actually be close.  It's like I'm the only one who makes any effort to stay in touch.  I would say they're probably just busy, but its always been like this even when none of us are busy.  I tried to explain how I feel (when they insisted that I can talk to them about anything), but they just don't get it.  Instead they withdraw further. The natural process of friends drifting apart can be hard to accept sometimes.

 

Another part of it is what Bluebird and others were talking about - the pressure to grow up in a certain way.  The few friends I have are now busy getting married and having children. Although I'm glad I'm still free to live my life however I want, it's easy to feel inadequate at having been "left on the shelf".  Its also easy to feel like a "third  wheel" when hanging with friends who are couples.  I've noticed that I'm proud of being free and independent when I'm on my own, but ashamed of it when I'm at a party trying to relate to "close" friends I just can't find much in common with anymore.  When I think about it like this I can usually start to question the unpleasant feelings I mentioned above,  though I still find myself needing a safe place to talk about those feelings.

 

An interesting thing I've noticed about people growing up through marriage is that they often aren't actually grown up.  To me "growing up" means learning to stand on your own two feet and look after yourself.  My friends haven't done this, they sort of took partners as surrogate parents. They don't know what its like to have no one to depend on.  They are lucky to have always been surrounded by loving people....

 

......We are lucky to have the inner strength to endure things that our married peers have never faced Smiley Happy

 

I think we should all congratulate ourselves for that.

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

Welcome to the ReachOut forums, Lone Wolf!

 

Thanks so much for sharing this. I think I can relate closely to what you said. Although I have been described as a "social creature", I find I'm more comfortable when I'm completely independent. I'm master of my own life, my own destiny, as well as my own mistakes and failures. Smiley Wink I just try to make sure that, no matter what stage I am in my life, and who my friends might be at the time (I move cities a lot, so I'm regularly forced to make new friends), I have someone I can talk to.

 

The Internet is making that so much easier, too. People I connected well with last year (two countries ago) are still available to me now (and I am available to them) through Facebook, email or text message. With some friends just a few keystrokes away, I don't feel so lonely or isolated. Smiley Happy

 

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

You guys speak about reaching out to friends during times of isolation. But what about if you genuinely don't have any? I've reached out a lot in my life and been cut off or ignored. I'm glad you guys have a lot of friends in life, good partners, good jobs etc. Some of us are just lacking here.

I've also been bullied/harrassed and ostracized in my life. So that left me with a great deal of loneliness and isolation, and lack of trust towards people. And made me depressed. I'm 27, but I feel like I can't relate to most people my age because of my experiences and lack of experiences are completely different to theirs.

The only thing I've found that helps with my isolation is drinking... and crying. I know this isn't much of a helpful tip, but it's the only thing that's helped me over the years. I've tried joining clubs, but when you don't have much to talk about and you're the "new guy" and you're no good at whatever sport or hobby you've signed up to, people don't want to know you anyway. They only want to deal with the loud, popular, successful and interesting people. I find myself getting ignored for those types of people.

I've found that to make friends in life, you have to have friends to begin with. Otherwise, people just think you're a weirdo and you get rejected. Trust me, I know this from experience. Don't let it discourage you, maybe some of us were just meant to be alone. It's like a cycle - when you're alone, people treat you like a loner, and then that makes you even more lonely. It has been this way for me for years now. And I have some suicidal thoughts.

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Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

Hi @ClaytZ86 

 

Welcome to ReachOut.com. From reading your age in your post, I would like to let you know that Reachout.com is intended for young people aged between 14 to 25. However, if the information you find here is helpful, then feel free to access it. I'm sorry to hear that you are feeling isolated and lonely during these times. It's not easy when you feel that there is no one there for you who can support and welcome you. I can relate to feeling uncomfortable or just ignored in general because I don't seem to relate to other people or a majority of people in a particular environment. It's great to know that you have actively tried to join clubs or try new hobbies to socialise with others. 

 

Everyone's experiences are different as well as how they become friends with others. Some may feel less inclined to open to people they've just met whereas others may be more welcoming.  People do come and go in all kinds of relationships, so I do not believe that you have to have friends to begin with to have more friends. Confidence does play a key role in everything you do - whether it's making new friends, trying new things or presenting an idea. There are some strategies that you can try in building your self-esteem and self-confidence that you can find in these fact sheets: 

Have you spoken to a counsellor or a psychologist about your current circumstances? There are also other services that you can contact that can provide you with advice and support like Lifeline (13 11 14) and the Suicide Callback Service (1300 659 467). Both services are free and operate 24/7.

 

Hope this helps and take care

___________________________________________________
Stay excellent

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

Thank you, Myvo. That's what I thought when I signed up here - I'm too old for this forum. Hell, I feel like I'm too old to turn my life around now. I appreciate your kind words and advice. It does suck, and feels like a horrible experience. I'm sorry you feel that way too. Well, that was joining sports clubs when I was younger, but now if I join anything, I feel like an old rookie with no experience. I've also tried going back to TAFE to study, but when I failed the course after a whole year and a half, I was devastated. I couldn't make friends there, because I didn't really have anything in common with anyone (they were all younger than me), or anything to say most of the time. Loneliness/isolation makes me feel like I've become socially disadvantaged.

Yeah, I used to see a psychiatrist, and she told me to go out and talk to people, and join clubs. It's just not that easy! The problem is that not everyone accepts you in life. Some people just think you're a loser. I've lost good friends over the years, and don't even know why! They moved on with their lives, and I failed everything, got rejected socially and romantically, went through bullying in the workplace. And I felt like no one was there for me, except my family (even today!). I'm the only one I know who still lives at home at 27... I feel pathetic.

I spoke to Lifeline about a month ago, and they gave me some good tips for meeting people. I was thinking about joining a gym. But I'm too scared to sign up because I suffer from social anxiety and kind of new to it. I've been bike riding everyday, but it doesn't make you less lonely and the neighbours look at me like I'm a freak.

Thanks again, Myvo, you've been the only person here who has tried to help me. I spoke to Lifeline last night about my loneliness, but they didn't really seem interested. Seems the only time they'll listen is if you're about to take your own life.

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

I suppose for me, I pretty much started university alone. Many of my friends were at different universities or in different degrees. The degree that I was doing at the time was interesting but not interesting enough for me to continue. I felt quite disconnected from my peers in this particular field because the personality differences were too great. I began joining clubs and campus societies to meet new people, which was pretty fun. As time went on, I did become accustomed to being alone but it gave me a change to reflect on myself as well as develop new skills. Of course, I did form more friendships but I believed that I did value having some 'me' time to work on myself. 

___________________________________________________
Stay excellent

Re: Speaking about loneliness and isolation...

I made this post in the hang out but I think it applies here also

"Hi guys,

I would just like to talk a little about Christmas time and what we have all seen or been in at some stage or another people being alone.

I feel much compassion we I know of and her of people being by them self at Christmas not because I actually think that's a bad thing. But I feel it because I know the person that's alone does.

From my point of view one is never truly lonely they have them selves as company (I know it sounds a little odd) but I am talking about that internal Dialog and the person you see in the mirror.

As we all know that "person" can be our biggest enemy or best buddy. So I would just like to remind every one to show love and compassion to yourself don't blame and be hard on yourself mistakes happen and sometimes life just sucks. But that time will pass.

So if you learn to love yourself when you are by yourself and its just you and the little you inside you can find joy and peace there.

If you want someone to just hang up with this Christmas let me know and we can maybe play some games on steam or hang about on facebook.

I wish you all the best."

 

There is nothing wrong with being by oneself modern society has depicted its wrong in movies the media etc...

 

As long as you have love and compassion for yourself you will never feel the coldness of loneliness.