Loneliness is something that often plagues me, it seems to be one of the biggest issues I regularly attempt to confront.
I have often attempted to alter my work life balance to include more time with loved ones, as an initial reaction to feelings of loneliness. Makes sense, right? Doing so has definitely helped, but I still find once this is over I still feel lonely, even if I want to be by myself. It feels as though it comes from within.
It is often suggested that identifying triggers can help combat the causes of any emotional upsets, loneliness included, which got me thinking. Eventually I discovered that often this feeling of loneliness comes from feeling a lack of connectedness, understanding and acceptance. Allow me to explain.
It usually occurs when I feel an emotion that in eel is stigmatised, that for some reason I should be ashamed of feeling this way. Despite trying to be open about feelings of depression, anxiety and more I feel a pressure to be almost invincible, partly due to my position at work as a manager, and partly due to my partners lack of susceptibility to these experiences. Sometimes I truly believe that I am above feeling all these negative emotions. Say for example, I feel lonely, I am aware that there are numerous people I can contact and make practically immediate plans with and I often do, and I have a nice time, but at no point do I disclose to them these feelings which means I receive little emotional support, and continue to struggle on my own.
This lack of disclosure on my part makes me feel I am not quite connecting with people the way I need to, which leads to the loneliness. I see this in two ways.
- I need to open up more to loved ones in order to tackle the loneliness, only I can help myself here
- If I open up, they likely just won’t understand. It’s a sad reality but often the case, especially with mental health related topics, they they just won’t have the experience required to understand. It’s not their fault, in fact it’s probably great for them, I wouldn’t wish these experiences on anybody. Even with most people having the best of intentions, and trying to understand, the lack of understanding is immediately obvious and can be frustrating. I simply don’t have the energy to constantly educate and fight stigma whilst simultaneously fighting the symptoms I was seeking support for in the first place.
This second point has been made extremely difficult for me recently as for the last two months I have been and still am undergoing an assessment for bipolar disorder. I initially started writing these posts as an outlet for my experiences but as soon as this began I felt completely stifled. All of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t mention any symptoms which associate with mania, and recently there have been a lot. Some of which I have mentioned in a way, irritability, lack of sleep, feeling internally pressured to get a million things done and so on. I feel like by talking about these symptoms I am self diagnosing, which is so often negatively received. Whilst I am aware this is not the case, and I am simply outlining my experiences which seem to match closely the DSM criteria, it makes me uncomfortable and the more I find the more part of me started to doubt myself. It seems too close, too much, like this is all set up like some tv show, and I genuinely don’t know who to trust.
This leads me on to the worst, the absolutely terrifyingly sickening fear I have about mentioning the worst symptoms, I don’t really trust myself, weird things are happening. My eyes have been playing tricks on me somewhat, I see things come flying towards me and flinch to find it didn’t really happen, or similarly duck under falling objects that weren’t falling at all. I occasionally hear my name being called, but there’s nobody around. For a while I was convinced that people at work were plotting against me and trying to get me fired and I even said this to my boss at one point but I have realised that that is not true, but sometimes I still think it, and I now question my beliefs a lot.
I also noticed I feel quite a disconnect from the world around me, I have lost my desire to interact with the outside world so much as I don’t feel as though I am there quite in the same way, like I am in the background, or perhaps they are. I also feel disconnected from myself and the experiences indescribable here and all the ones I have outlined previously, I feel more like I am watching myself play a game where I am the main character.
It is unsettling, I didn’t even notice at first. The phrase my eyes are playing tricks on me is so casually used, so common to experience a misinterpretation out of the corner of the eye, but it dawned on me that I am experiencing this multiple times a day. The sounds I again put down to a misinterpretation of the neighbors voice through the walls, because this was the only logical explanation I could reach as to why I heard this sound, not in my head, but somewhere close by.
I am not insane, really, and I’m terrified of how this sounds and how close this appears to be mild psychosis. I am aware that these aren’t real at least to a degree, and I worry that I will be hospitalised or people will not understand if I explain these symptoms to them. I do think that I have been manic, I have felt so great, so energetic and inspired. I have felt connected to a spiritual kind of energy and even at times considered myself as some kind of supreme controller. Today I don’t feel so much this way so I can talk about this, but I am worried, because if I am like that when I go to my next appointment there’s no way i would admit to any of it, even likely to myself.
With all this going on I have rarely felt the ability to open up and seek support for these concerns, which is making me feel an increased loneliness, opening up on here has helped but I think until I see a psychiatrist and get a yes or a no response, in won’t feel comfortable really bringing this up to anyone.