Being alone is the worst feeling. I have struggled through an ongoing battle with my mind since the age of 13 and now, aged 21 I can safely say that the majority of my ‘bad times’ have been due to my feeling alone.
We have all been there, mental health issues or not, when you have been sat in your room and it feels like you have no one to talk to. You have a phone you could contact friends on, there may be people in the house with you, but still you can’t find it in yourself to talk to them. Why? Personally, I feel like I am a burden. That although everyone says ‘I’m always here if you need me’ it’s gotten to the point now where I don’t believe them. I worry that if I went to someone every time I felt alone I would just end up annoying them. It would be like ‘the Boy Who Cried Wolf’, and in that one day I desperately need them and they won’t be there or care. This I have to admit is ridiculous because my friends aren’t arseholes, but that is the nature of my mind.
It was during one such time that my mum walked into my bedroom, to find me sat on my bed, crying my eyes out, dramatically as I tend to do, at the thought of my being so alone. It was during the summer holidays, I was away from my uni friends and too scared to contact them, dismissed by home friends and didn’t want to contact them, and home alone everyday until 6pm when my parents would return home from work. I would sit alone for hours everyday, wallowing in my own sadness. Even typing that I feel so embarrassed at how self-pitying I am.
And that is what, on this specific occasion, my mum sat me down and told me. She gave me a book she had read aged 14 for an English class, and showed me a passage that she had basically memorised. She told me it is okay to be lonely, everyone is, and it is just something that we all individually need to accept. There are times to wallow, believe me I will all but drown in my sea of self pity, but after allowing yourself this moment of discomfort, it is time to swim your way back to the surface. You have to realise that feeling down, depressed and lonely, may always be a part of your life BUT: you can take away its power. You accept it for what it is, and then make the active decision that you aren’t going to let yourself feel that way.
I recently completed a course of cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT (‘completed’ seems the wrong choice of word, as though at the end I received a gold star, a red lollipop and a happy mind.) One of the exercises I was given was called Controlled Worrying. Rather than doing my typical daily routine of: Wake Up, Worry, Go to Sleep, I would set aside a time that I would spend 20 minutes worrying, and only at that time would I worry. It sounds bizarre but for me it worked. I would wake up and say to myself ‘Okay, dinner will be at probably around 6.30pm, so I am going to go to my room at 6pm, have 20 minutes ‘Worry-time’, calm myself down with a relaxing activity like meditation for 10 minutes, then go down for dinner.’ I would try to spend my day as usual, and when my mood would sink throughout the day, and I would feel lonely, I would refuse to let it affect me and tell myself to think about it later. I even made notes on my phone throughout the day of things I had to remember to worry about. But oh my god it helped, and it is a practice I am trying to continue.
I guess what I am trying to say is that we will never be 100% okay, 100% of the time, and you know what? That is fine. We can’t let our minds have all the power and be down all the time, but sometimes you do have to accept it. So scream about your feelings, tell everyone who will listen, sit in your room on your own and cry. But then sit up, help yourself to a row of Dairy Milk, and try to go about your day as best you can.
So shoutout to my mum for showing me the following passage, it really helped me, and I hope if you need it, it can help you too.
“It’s no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You’ve got to stick to it all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times. Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they’ve got to come. You can’t force them.” –
- Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.