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Tonight Is Another One of “Those Nights”

by drowninginloneliness

Tonight is another one of those nights that I just really want to end my pain. It doesn’t help that it is gross outside… like gray and cold and shit. I am always affected by the weather… probably have that SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder thing.

I tried pulling myself out, by attempting to pretend that i am taking care of myself. I even bought groceries today, and I am chronic meal skipper. I got a haircut too, and I still feel the same. It is like I am trying to force myself to feel better, convince myself I am not a screw-up. Even though I know logically I am not a complete and total screw-up it is how I feel. I want to kill myself. I dream about who would care if I killed myself, who would find my body… I pick different people, sometimes the same person for awhile and think about their reaction to my unconscious-not-waking-up-ever-again-self and it almost makes me feel better, in a sick twisted way.

I have a death obsession. It is a serious issue. One day I am not going to be able to to take it anymore. I don’t know how many more of these nights I can take.

 

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NothingAmI 10/8/2012 - 9:15 pm

Hi, Drowninginloneliness. Your chosen name, I think, describes the way many of us feel. It’s as if companionship were air we breathed, and without the type of intimacy we’re seeking/wanting, we suffocate. I don’t know if anyone has ever suggested to you to get out and meet others and use their company as a substitute for an intimate relationship. I’ve tried it, and continue to do so, and after more than a decade have to say honestly that while I do find meaning in volunteering and working, they are not at all substitutes for what I am missing, and the loneliness has only gotten far, far worse over the years–despite the small fortune I’ve spent on doctors and therapists, each promising to have the answer.

I hear you–about trying to make yourself happy doing the myriad things we hear from the “experts”–taking care of ourselves physically, treating ourselves to haircuts or a potted plant, going to the movies alone, changing our thinking (that’s my favorite one)… And I agree with you that these things feel mechanical, as if we’re doing them just because someone else has told us to, but we’re just not getting the promised benefit from doing them. Unlike you, though, I self medicate with sugar (supposedly “healthy” sugar, but still too much). Is there anything you use to self-medicate? I even considered self medicating with cannabis (legal where I live), but have decided against it. I’m concerned it would make things worse, as I’ve read in many online posts from the depressed using cannabis to try to improve mood.

Worst of all, either someone else gets it–someone who is experiencing just what we are, or they don’t–regardless of whether or not they’ve been depressed. I don’t know about you, but being lectured down to only makes whatever I’m experiencing far, far worse.

Anyhow, I just wanted to chime in to let you know some others get where you’re coming from. I hope there’s at least a fragment of healing in knowing some of us are walking–if not in your footsteps, then along your path. And we’re sincerely cheering you on. I wish I had a guaranteed answer for both of us–for all of us in our boat. But in the meantime, I offer your sincere commiseration.

Awesome screenname, by the way!

drowninginloneliness 10/9/2012 - 6:58 pm

Hey NothingAmI,

Your username is cool too. It gets at where we are in our lives. We feel like nothing. You are so on target with needing companionship like we need oxygen.

As you may have already guessed… I am trying to do some of those kinds of things, get involved in young adult groups at church, events on meetup.com (if you don’t know about check it out), volunteering… all that stuff. It only helps a little though, you know what I mean? When you’re depressed, you’re depressed. Or what is more likely the case I will be happier for just a little while and then when I leave and am alone again I go straight back down to ground zero.

I just love all the things that other people have us do-like potting plants and “trying to find our confidence by doing things by ourselves…” blah blah. I hear you totally. Thanks for the response. I am not currently self-medicating… I just got new health insurance and am trying to get new meds. The thing is I don’t even know if I want the meds. I just want to not feel like this, and I guess I am going to give the anti-depressant thing another go. I don’t want to become dependent upon meds though for my well-being. I feel like if I am coping ok than it is better to hold off on the meds. But then again if I was coping would I be writing posts like the one I wrote above on SP?

Today was not a good day. I was depressed for no reason again, but then I snapped out of it. I need like a trigger to get out of it, or to be around other people… I can never seem to bring myself out on my own.

The fact that there are people like you out there gives me a shred of hope. SO thanks.

-drowninginloneliness

NothingAmI 10/10/2012 - 1:32 am

@drowninginloneliness: What an awesome analogy, “…I will be happier for just a little while and then when I leave and am alone again I go straight back down to ground zero.” Yes, exactly, my friend! The best case scenario seems to be that for a very little while–that time reliable friends who don’t demand we behave a certain way, or during an engrossing activity like a mesmerizing movie–we can just nearly step outside of ourselves. But it seems like microseconds later we’re alone again, and the intimacy-hunger sets in. Most people who offer critical commentary on this opine that we’re damaged since we cannot merely abide solitude. But a colleague of mine is the author of a cognitive-behavioral model about how people naturally form relationships of differing degrees, and how those relationships impact both physical and emotional health. The healthiest tend to have a strong primary network of support and value–and intimacy as you’d guess is a critical part of that. But in every community she’s studied–here in the States and abroad, she’s found there are inevitably those who have very little/no primary support, and they do very poorly relatively. That argues to me that the super-lonely aren’t just “mad.” They’re experiencing something profoundly unsettling. It seems reasonable to me that chronically depressed mood could result from long-standing loneliness.

I really liked your quantum mechanics allusion, Drowning! Whether you choose to give meds another try or not, here’s hoping you find some peace. I don’t know about you, but depression is exhausting to me. I’ve had a personal trainer for two years, and see him 4 times a week. I’d never admit it to him, but most days he’s my main interpersonal interaction. I worry that I won’t be able to afford the $1200/month indefinitely… After many years of (to me) useless therapy, I prefer seeing him ’cause at least I get the physical benefits–and I’m even in better mood (for a short while) after. Have you ever wondered at how it seems our culture has evolved so that in order to get people to pay attention to you you have to lavish gobs of cash on them? “Friends” just seem to have a billion other priorities so you resort to paying professionals.

If you’re game, I’d like to hear what your last experiences with pharmaceuticals were. And yes, I totally agree with you about not wanting to become dependent on pharmaceuticals.

If you want, you can always ping me if you’re having a bad day. It sustains me feeling like I’m part of a group of people who “get it,” and who don’t lecture. Everyone’s life experiences are so different, I never get how someone else feels speaking down to another adult is justifiable. But know there are a lot of us fighting a similar fight out there–even if many are too afraid to come forward because, among other reasons, they fear the insensitivity, judgement, and derision of others who perceive what they say and do are good and necessary.

Excuse me for being long-winded–but it’s really rare (to me) to meet another who “gets it.” Write anytime–and I couldn’t be more sincere in saying I hope you have a lot more up moments than down…

drowninginloneliness 10/10/2012 - 9:14 pm

NothingAmI

I love reading your replies. You get me.

I am one of those people with a high social need (much like you, as I suspect). We are on the extreme end of a scale of people who have varying degrees of social and emotional needs. I loved that you shared your colleague’s research with me. Perhaps we are not “mad,” indeed, perhaps we really are truly just looking for affirmation, support, and some companionship. When we find that fulfillment (often times in moments spent with a true friend) we reach a high, and then it leaves us as quickly as that “high” arrives the moment we leave their company.

Spending $1,2000/month to have the equivalent of someone to talk to would seem crazy to a lot of people, but if it actually helps you, then that makes sense to me. If you count on that social interaction, then you need it to get by. I have a full-time job, and it is really stressful, but I think it keeps me from going off the deep-end most days, because I get some interaction with people. Ironically enough I work with people who have mental health disorders (like attract like I suppose?) So I’m around people with issues all day (much like myself). One of the only things that keeps me going is hoping that I will get to talk to my boss, because that is one positive interaction I can count on. She is always smiling and (usually) pleasant to talk to and says HEY. She has no idea how much I count on that small interaction even if it is only 5min in a whole day. I am all bummed if I leave without talking to her at all (which to other people would sound like an obsession, perhaps unhealthy boundaries). What they don’t know is that I need those social interactions, that I am not getting in other areas of my life… that other people get from their significant others, kids, best friends, etc. She is my equivalent of your $1,2000/month therapist. We drink in positive interactions.

The last time I attempted medication I couldn’t seem to find anything that really had any effect on me. Granted last time, I also kept “forgetting” to take my medication… probably because I was dragging my feet on the whole process. I found that meds usually make me groggy, or they simply don’t make me “feel” any better. Perhaps now that I have my own health insurance I can pay for someone a little bit more legit. Last time I was in college and was using the school’s counseling and psychiatrist (for which there was no charge), but because I didn’t want my parents to know about the meds… I went out of the way to get the medicine without insurance. I do not have this amazing relationship with them and have never felt close enough to divulge what I am actually going through on a day to day basis. So we will see if this meds things works this time. Maybe I am now ready to commit to trying to remember to take a medication and seeing if it has any effect. Perhaps I will find that meds and I still have nothing in common. AT BEST it will be a month before I even get anything because I have to wait for my doctor’s appointment to get a referral for a psych doctor…

NothingAmI 10/11/2012 - 3:57 am

Drowninginloneliness, man do I empathize! I do know what you’re talking about–how just the brief “hey” from your boss and her smile can be a bright point in your day. And I totally agree with you, about how others might perceive that as unhealthy, but you absolutely need the companionship. You’re right–we don’t get this elsewhere, so we drink it in wherever we can get it. Isn’t it amazing how some who don’t know you, who don’t know what resources are available (or unavailable more like it) to you can judge your actions, your behavior? One of my favorite authors, Nobelist Bertrand Russell, wrote about happiness that companionship–solid friendship–is integral to a robust sense of contentedness. But he shocked me with his, OK–characteristic of him, insight when he next wrote that those who most need friendship are those least likely to get it. Profound, at least to me. I shared that because I want you to know that I absolutely agree with you both that the companionship you lack can take a severe toll on your psychological state, and that our need for companionship likely exists on a spectrum naturally—just as you said, so that some may have a very high need for it. If they are also among Russell’s unfortunate who’re unlikely to find satisfying companionship, then… Well, you know, my friend.

By the way, you’ve read the popular reports about the effects on traveling workers in many poor, urban centers in China where the largely male work force is separated from their families for years at a time–how these workers’ mood, productivity, and ultimately their health suffer significantly, yes? There are many populational studies that demonstrate similar deleterious effects from chronic lack of intimacy. So please don’t ever let anyone else tell you to “get over it.” You have a legitimate need, one that may differ significantly from the average need in your population; while it’s tragic that your need is not met, you aren’t, because of your angst, therefore flawed.

As I read your last post here I was almost convinced you were a guy I’d attended school with in the far Northeast back in the mid 2000’s. He even got a gig working with a large hospital research group studying cognitive dysfunctions… I liked your comment about like-attracting-like. But seriously, who has better insight into depression than very bright researchers who themselves have succumbed to states like depression, like you? Anyhow, if on the odd chance you’re a “Vox clamantis in deserto” alum, no pressure, but it’s great to “see” you again. If you’re not, then it’s still awesome to meet a like-minded!

By the way, that kid I went to school with told me something I’ve never since forgotten. Three of us at the start of our program had become friends, all three of us odd-thinkers. But one of us excelled at popularity, while the other kid and I just seemed to rub others the wrong way. He said to me the difference between us and the other guy was that the other guy could “put a lid back on it,” my friend’s metaphor for temporarily sealing off the dark/disturbing thoughts. I may be wrong here, but I sense you’re like me–the double curse of loneliness is that, besides our need for companionship not getting met, when we’re alone there’s no (satisfying) distraction from those thoughts, questions to which there are no real answers, only opinions. So we end up feeling lonely and empty–empty not just because we’re lonely, but because unlike the countless kids who eventually grew up and learned how to live, we can’t stop asking the futile “why,” even though we know there’s no answer forthcoming. Sorry if I was too presumptuous there…

When I was in college I tried psychotropics, too. I tried them faithfully through grad school and had a breakdown the day after I finished my biggest project. I remember meeting with the head of our university psych services who, deadpan face, told me that some people just don’t respond to ANY drugs. I felt then, after more than 6 years struggling through abysmally torturous side effects without any abatement of my symptoms (and quite a few unabashedly disgusted psychiatrists who were convinced I was the problem because drugs simply HAD to work), that the ground had opened up beneath me & swallowed me. A few years later after a really bad episode, an ex college friend of mine who was a psychiatry resident had me involuntarily committed. I was still stupidly honest with the (condescending and belittling) medical staff, so when their therapies failed to educe the expected remission, they forced me to undergo bilateral high-voltage ECT. That I’m here today, you know the result of that. So, my friend, I can’t myself speak to the benefits of modern psychiatry, despite the near universal accolades it earns from professionals and lay alike.

Even though drugs didn’t work for me, I really, really hope they work for you. We share a significant pain, a pain I wouldn’t wish on any sensitive being. How do you make it through the days? How do you make it through the nights? How are you making it through? I stay at the university very late every night–even weekends–because I dread going back home, where I have to face full-on my loneliness. My department chair thinks I’m super-dedicated; the truth is I just have nothing else. If you have any pointers, care to share anything that’s worked for you, I’m listening avidly. Truth is, I look forward to what you post. So, hope your boss gives you a bright smile and a sincerely warm “hello” today. Thanks for writing.

drowninginloneliness 10/11/2012 - 7:21 pm

Hey NothingAmI,

I am sorry but I am not your fellow Vox alum. One of the first things I had to do was look up “Vox Camantis in Deserto.” I read online that in Latin it means “a voice crying in the wilderness,” which is almost too perfect for the things we are discussing on this online forum. You, me, we are voices crying in the wilderness, so to speak? Really, we are both writing to complete strangers, and looking forward to the other’s response. There is something satisfying however, about having someone on the other end of the keyboard to talk to.

I also read online that “Vox Camantis in Deserto” is a book. “A nice collection of lively, outrageous musings, observations, etc. about life…” Is something that you have read? If so, do you recommend it?

Based on the way you write, and your mention of college and that you are currently in grad school, I know you are educated. I was thinking about what you wrote in regards to the workers in China. Although I have not read those articles it certainly makes sense to me. The more time people spend away from the people they love the most the more they are likely to succumb to loneliness, depression, etc. In the US, we have created commuter marriages, where individuals are married and or cohabitate; one of the individuals lives near work Mon to Fri and comes “home” on the weekend. Why would we do that to ourselves? Really that is when I would say to take a step back at and look at what is really important to you, your relationships or your job? And if it your job then why bother staying in the relationships? If it is your relationships, then what the heck are you doing living apart? This is coming from someone who is missing that connection mind you, so of course I don’t get the commuter marriages… Culturally we have done some interesting things don’t you think?

I also really liked your thoughts from your author Russel, who said that often those who have that high social need are sometimes the one who have that need met the least. Interesting how those coincide? I’m sorry to hear about your encounters with meds and ECT. Everything I have read and learned about ECT I didn’t like. I am surprised that a hospital or any medical facility could force someone to use ECT. I have a client who wanted to get ECT and I kept trying to talk her out of it, because of the risk factors. (Her insurance denied the ECT so it became a non-issue…) It seems quite primitive to me.

I have also noted that you are not very fond of meds, and that they have not worked for you. I think perhaps that pharmaceuticals have really turned you off because of all poor experiences with the involuntary admission, ECT, condescending medical professionals, and meds that didn’t work. Do you think that these experiences have really turned you sour against the medical field? If so, my friend, then why do have hope that psychotropics will be of use to me?

How do I make it through the day? A very good question. I think because I am busy at work, and have to get my work done it makes me focus on something other than my own self all day. That is key to how I get by. Also, not unlike you, I have a tendency for staying late at work (in your case the university). My boss will look at me some days like “You’re still here?” I too think she must assume I am just very dedicated, and ironically enough what she doesn’t know is that (most) days I really don’t mind because I am not looking forward to anything when I leave work, so I just stay, because I at least have a sense of purpose there. I let my work be my life, for better or for worse.

I am also a believer in God. I think this keeps me sane. I pray a lot for my own sanity, and that I am strong enough to get through the day. Do you find any comfort in faith? Also, I started writing a lot in the evening. It gives me something to think about other than being lonely. I write on SP, I respond to you, I write on a blog, I journal quite a bit. Anything to keep myself from thinking about death, wanting to die, etc… I actually like to write in my journal as if I am speaking to my boss, and I tell her everything that I want to tell her that I probably never will get to, because we don’t have a relationship outside of work. (As much as I’d love this I don’t think it is likely, especially because she is supposed to be an authority figure- it would easier to ask her if she wanted to do something outside of work if she were a co-worker… another tragedy). Regardless, it is quite cathartic.

Basically it is super important that I try to stay busy, whether this means staying late at work, or finding a volunteer group or a church group or a meetup group, I stay involved, just to be around other people. I call friends on the phone that live far away. I also hope that maybe from one of these groups maybe I’ll make a new friend, someone who gets what I’m going through and doesn’t mind that being friends with me is not exactly easy… When I let myself lie around all weekend without anyone to see or anywhere to go I am most at risk for bottoming out so to speak. How do you make it through?

I think this line that you wrote… “You have a legitimate need, one that may differ significantly from the average need in your population; while it’s tragic that your need is not met, you aren’t, because of your angst, therefore flawed…” is a great point. I consider myself flawed frequently because I seem to be off in some way, I am different from other people, who have their social needs met. Part of my problem is that I suffer from chronic low-self esteem. I often view myself in that negative light. It is encouraging however to hear that someone doesn’t believe I am “flawed.” When I start thinking about how everyone around me “has it together,” and I don’t, that really bugs me. So many people appear to “have it together though,” and don’t actually know what they are doing either. I suppose there is some comfort in that.

I could keep writing, however I am starting to lose track of which things I have responded to. Write again soon.

-Drowning

NothingAmI 10/12/2012 - 8:41 pm

Hi, Drowning! How the heck are ya today? I was at work very late last night and went straight to bed on getting in around 3AM. I did read your post, though, and have been looking forward to replying-sharing since then. Before I get to the rest of your post, though, I want to share my perspective of you from our limited interaction here.

I’m always impressed by your courtesy, and this challenges me to be more courteous myself. I realize how much better I feel when you ask me questions that appear to me to underscore sincere, but never pedantic, concern. You are that rare combination of humility, authenticity, and frank concern that makes others feel we matter. I recognize this is just my opinion, but those gifts–what the psychologist Daniel Goleman explained are crucial elements to “Emotional Intelligence” (popular book by same name)–can provide the most destitute value in life. Please don’t take this as criticism–I mean it as deserved recognition and praise. From what you’ve shared about your perception of yourself, you appear unaware of how your kindnesses provide people like me, barely holding on, a reason to stick around a bit longer. While I believe every adult should have a legal right to medically sound and compassionate self-delivery, I also believe that the quality of our social interactions affects our moment-by-moment decisions on what our lives mean to us. I’m trying (unsuccessfully, I fear) to share how much I think you’ve helped people who’re hurting tremendously–and “just” by being kind, non-judgmental, respectful of our different perspectives, and sincerely interested. Thank you.

But I owe you even more thanks. You see, over our brief exchanges, I’ve gotten wildly different impressions of who demographically you might be. Nevertheless, you always strike me as graceful, bright, humble, and honest. At least to me, these traits taken together transcend the idiosyncrasies of personhood. Sure, they’re traits of a person (or people), but when they manifest consistently in an individual, the person becomes, in my view anyway, a superperson, someone who can heal by dint of his/her treatment of those around them regardless of the person’s age, aesthetics, financial standing, formal education… I think if more of us could become such superpersons many more of us would have reason to enjoy life. That’s my typically long-winded way of sharing that even though I don’t have a concrete image of who you are, this doesn’t matter to me since the “you” I experience is so healing. Does that sound selfish? I mean it to be the biggest compliment I can pay.

I want now, in contrast to what I’ve just shared, to clarify a bit about me since I don’t want to misrepresent myself. I’m an old dog. I finished school nearly a billion years ago. Maybe I keep talking about my school years because it was the only time in my life I interacted with others regularly, and because universities encourage discussions so much, it was also the only time in my life when “normal” people would actively engage me. Now I’m just a researcher, which is a nice way of saying I’m an organic machine. While my work garnered praise when I was in my 20s, now it’s just expected, and the new 20-somethings, whose scholarship I supervise, perceive me as an encumbrance on their freedoms. I’m really OK with that. No, I’m not–but there’s nothing I can do about it. Anyhow, I just didn’t want you thinking of me as some young, fresh, idealistic kid. I’m more like old, hard chewing gum that’s lost its flavor–perhaps wadded up and stuck unceremoniously on the underside of a nearly forgotten piece of furniture in an obscure corner of an ancient, cob-webbed Victorian in the most remote corner of iced-over New England…

OK, now to your post. 🙂 I am frankly respectful of your religious holdings, my friend. I was religious at one time, but just couldn’t make it work for me. But I regret that now, as maybe, like you, if I were religious I’d have some kind of a sustaining relationship going… Do you mind me asking if you belong to any denomination? I’m frightened, after long academic conditioning, to ask the simple-but-inexorable questions, as I don’t want to offend or appear argumentative. But maybe you’ll indulge me, granting me the benefit of the doubt (that I’m sincerely curious only). In your conception of God, is (s)he/it a benign being? And depending on your answer to that question, as you understand things, what is the purpose of suffering? I mean that latter in the broadest sense–not just my trivial suffering, but the suffering of all living things, especially the non-human things we “have dominion over.” Perhaps this is a question separate from the one about your conception of God, but why do you think we continue willfully to impose such staggering suffering in such bewildering ways on other living beings that can clearly suffer tremendously even when we do not need to do so to survive? How is our participation in such practices consistent with the concept of either individual “goodness,” or the existence of a universal “good?” Again, I mean to imply no pre-judgment, and thanks for even considering the questions.

An ex-friend of mine divorced his wife a few years ago in large part due to their stark religious differences. While he was functionally agnostic, she was a devout Catholic. He had always been denigratory of her, both in her presence and whenever he spoke of her during her absence. This woman, the mother of his three children, had survived a brain tumor and the subsequent years-long reconstructive surgeries and physical therapies. It seemed to me, regardless my own position on religion, that her beliefs sustained her through pain I cannot grasp. And that alone seemed sufficient justification for her worldview, which no one else had to adopt. Whatever I may not understand about religion, I support it wholeheartedly as a tool for getting through life with less damage. I’m envious of individuals like you who have that resource.

I didn’t even know there was a book, “Vox Clamantis In Deserto.” I cannot, therefore, recommend it–but I will check it out–thank YOU. It’s the motto of one of my schools–the one I thought we’d both met at until you set me straight. No matter, the young man I’d mentioned, well, we had a falling out. When I was working at a Midwest university I decided to rent a room at a luxury San Francisco hotel where I would throw a party to say goodbye to all the people who mattered to me (all four of them–funny, huh?), just before checking out myself. He replied that he couldn’t attend, though he knew the purpose of the party. Ouch. So, I’m glad you’re a different person. 🙂

I really like your reference to (and comments about) “commuter marriages.” Of course I can’t decide for anyone else how to have a relationship–and I’m woefully under-qualified to make any judgments about relationships, but I do very much agree with you that I’d decide whether my job or my relationship were more important, and act accordingly. I’m very jealous of people who have relationships, and can’t understand how they can stand being apart from the ones they so love… But then, life is so tough, maybe they don’t feel they have other viable options. I’m with you on that one, though.

If you’re ever inclined, you might pick up a copy of Russell’s “On Happiness,” in which he outlines his perspective on humanity’s search for happiness. I don’t agree with everything Russell wrote (on this topic), but there are some ideas I suspect you’ll enjoy–like his assessment of companionship, and, in particular, how those who most need it are those least likely to get it. In turn, please let me know if there are any books that have meant a lot to you.

One of the reasons I was at the school in the far Northeast was to study psychiatric interventions’ effectiveness. Since I’d already myself, unbeknownst to my team (I’d have been professionally shut out…), experienced ECT, I looked at every published paper at the time to assess its efficacy and its short and long term side effects. I only share that to say after nearly two years of federally funded research my team’s findings were not encouraging. Even since then very sobering research, corroborated by multiple research centers’ findings around the globe, has come to light to question the effectiveness of many modes of psychiatric intervention. And yet there persists a near fanaticism about these interventions–despite the increasing evidence disaffirming the professional and popular enthusiasm. I’ve learned that it is extremely unwise to begin such a discussion in almost any setting, as people generally have a (volatile) pre-judgment of modern psychiatry’s therapeutic effectiveness regardless their awareness of the professional literature. Where psychiatry is concerned, to me it seems one does not have the freedom to draw a conclusion about its therapeutic validity or the supposedly causal molecular arguments on which its models are founded; one has to at least appear to be on the “of-course-it-works” band-wagon. Maybe you can help me understand this better…

So you blog!? Do you have your own website? How long have you been blogging? Do you get a lot of feedback? Mostly from strangers, if so? Have they been respectful even when they hold different opinions? I’m really concerned about what I share on a site like this one as someone recently pointed out to me that nothing we share here is really “ours.” We give up claim to our intellectual “property” merely by posting here, it seems. I’ve therefore started to learn how to build my own website, since I’d like to begin something similar to this site, but would grant (how?) every posting individual ownership of her/his posts. I’d also like to build into the site I dream about a way for people to block aggressors from communicating with them or on their posts. You may be the expert in this regard! I think it’s great that you blog, and I’m very encouraged to learn it offers you a path to some peace. I’ve tried to “write” before, but I don’t know why I feel even more lonely when I start. Maybe it’s because I know there’s no one on the other end whom really to interact with–a sentiment you brightly referenced, yourself.

And you stay busy. You’re a lot better at all this than am I. I volunteer, work long hours, do the fitness thing… But it seems I get pretty tired easily. Yet when I do get home, despite my exhaustion, I can’t get to sleep. It’s as if my mind and my emotions are demanding some quality companionship as justification for all the hard work. Do you mind me asking a very personal question? Why do you work so very, very, very hard if at the end of each day you’re so lonely? I’ve worked 60+ hours a week since college (work in the sense of obligations) and now I’m in my 40s I just don’t know WHY I’ve done any of it. Back then I thought working so hard would ensure that I’d have the thing I most wanted–a trustful relationship with someone who wanted to build something enduring with me. But as the realities of life set in, I realized this was very unlikely. And it’s not just for me. The “long-term relationship” model seems to me extremely untenable in our evolving culture. I don’t mean I don’t think others should or can build satisfying long-term relationships. I hope they can/do, if it’s what they want. I just mean I know I’m not the only one who feels profoundly alone, and there are sound cultural reasons for our increased estrangement from each other. And if the “experts” had the answer, then the loneliness trends in our culture by now (over the decades) should have reversed/changed. But enough of my hot air.

I make it through, very embarrassingly, by self-medicating with sugar. It’s why I spend so much on and so much time at the health club—trying, unsuccessfully, to reverse the damage. As you can tell, I’m not really “making it through.” In fact, increasingly I’m just preparing to leave. I can’t take the solitude any more. When I was young there was “hope” simply because I was young; but now I’m invisible, and the probabilities look every day worse and worse. It’s no longer reasonable, to me, to endure the incessant difficulties with such low odds of pay-off.

Well, my friend, I’m going to cut out here. I could talk to you for hours! Before I go, though, I’m compelled to express my hope that you don’t think I’m trying to “help” you, and thereby justifying any deceptions. I really am grateful for your breadth of spirit. It’s beyond the trite “refreshing.” It’s life-giving. If I knew more superpersons like you–if I had known more like you, I might not be as suicidal as I am now. You know, I think there’s great value in the compassion of “keeping watch” with another sensitive being as it leaves this world. There’s something wonderful about bestowing compassion and companionship EVEN as the recipient is dying. You’re a hero. Thanks for being so kind.

Until soon!

drowninginloneliness 10/16/2012 - 6:30 pm

Hey NothingAmI,

Sorry it is taking me so long to reply… you wrote quite a bit. I will try and write more soon but for now… here are a few thoughts:

Thank you for all the kind words. I do not believe I have really done that much for you, but I am glad that you find some comfort in what I have written here.

I believe you are right on when you say that those social interactions affect us moment to moment. I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were discussing how every day when you wake up in the morning you are a different person than you were before. As humans we are constantly changing, adapting to new circumstances, re-evaluating and changing a relationship we had with someone.. . they may be small changes, but they are changes nonetheless. The fact that I decided to get on SP tonight and write again- that is a change in my lifestyle.

Thank you again for your compliments- I do my best to be sincere (regardless of social and demographic differences I may have with the person I am interacting with), simply because I think everyone deserves that sincerity and authenticity. That bring us back around to personhood. What exactly is personhood? I guess I would define it as the sum of all our experiences, values, and beliefs, that mold us into who we are. Perhaps I should grateful that my experiences have made me into who I am today (regardless of the severe challenges that I have depression and loneliness)

As for your own demographic I am not really concerned whether you are 14, 45, or 82. I think that while that is helpful to know who I am communicating with that really isn’t the point now is it? I must apologize, however I am not comfortable disclosing my own demographics. I will have to let you keep guessing.

As for the book that I looked up, if you do read the book let me know if you like it- maybe I will check it out myself! I will look up the book you recommended- perhaps my library has it.

I grew up in a Catholic home- and still practice my faith, however I no longer place as much emphasis on the denominational differences as I do my belief in God, and the connection that bring me to Him. As a believer in God, it helps me to see things in a different light. I wish I could share that with you. What I am trying to say is that days when I feel like I have nothing left to give, I pray about it, and somehow it keeps my apples from all falling out of my cart. I will pray that you too may find aspect of faith again that you can cling to. I also find that I connect very well with other people of faith, because it gives me a connection to them that is very powerful.

I do blog- but not very often. MY depression has gotten in the way of wanting to blog about much of anything. I only just started it maybe a month or so ago. I write about anything that I feel like. I get some likes and have a few followers I think, but nobody ever writes comments in response, which is disappointing. At the same time I didn’t tell any of my social contacts that I would actually be writing because I felt more free to write basically anything when I wasn’t thinking about what other people would say. Isn’t it strange though that I am more willing to open up to the world wide web of people I don’t know and will never meet yet I cannot tell my own friends some of my what is going on in my life?

You ask a good question… why so I give so much of myself to others when I come home at the end of the day to “an empty house?” I give because it is all I have. I am at my best when I give to others, because I know I am making a difference for someone else. It in return makes me feel a little bit better about myself, and I hope to one increase my self-confidence to a level that I find a bit more reasonable. Additionally, I hope that the good that I am doing for others continues to spread. Like the “pay it forward theory,” that when you smile, and makes someone else’s day better they are more like to smile at someone else etc. 🙂

I also hope think that in my subconscious if I do good for others, that good will come back to me later in my life- whether this is in the life, or the life to come. I guess to some extent I am a karma believer. You reap what you sew, right?

Does the sugar help you I wonder? Or is it simply staving the feelings that you are experiencing and the emptiness that makes us hollow inside? When you say you are “preparing to leave,” I hope that does not mean you are making a plan to end your life. I think you have something valuable to offer others, and not just me. I hope that someone today touches your life and makes you at least pause and reconsider what you would like to do next with your life.

I am sorry I did not answer all of your post- but that is all for now. Write again soon.

-Drowning!

NothingAmI 10/25/2012 - 2:57 am

Hi, Drowning. Pardon my absence. It’s been a really bad couple of weeks. This is the only place I feel safe admitting that, as no one here can have me institutionalized, or can reply with sufficient vitriol to damage my ability to survive (my interest in surviving is another matter…). I won’t bore you with the vapid details. But I will confess that I’ve begun living quite profligately. I’ve been burning through my life savings with lascivious abandon, as I become more and more certain my time is very nearly done. I read your last reply in which you shared that your faith provides you some stability, a reason yet to live. I have nothing of the sort, nor can I honestly consider transcendentalism. Though there are other physicists who embrace something other than what can be modeled and studied, since my late 20s I’ve found I, utterly frankly, simply cannot. I say that without any disdain, actually with a simple fatalistic resignation. My coach shared with me last week about his pastor whom he admires, and about how church has become, even for doubtful him, his bedrock. My bedrock after a life of neglect is a few pleasures I can squirrel away–fleeting pleasures to be sure, but the only pleasures this abysmal life affords. Dead are the great ideals like justice, good, love, family, and lasting friendship.

Have you ever read Jude The Obscure? If you have, I’d like to “speak” with you about it some time. The young protagonist asks, to me, the ultimate questions of existence–questions no mind–living or dead–has ever answered satisfactorily (at least to my tiny mind).

You can probably tell I’m quite fragmented. I don’t think I’m going to last much longer at work. I’ve begun to neglect important tasks. And not being independently wealthy, I know once I’m fired I’ll soon HAVE to leave this world. Lately I’ve been preoccupied with the fate of the chronically sick, the elderly, and the poor–those no one really wants around. The best they seem, in this culture, to get is hollow and ephemeral sympathy, and maybe a few dregs on which to keep living physically. Why they’d want to, I’ll never understand. I certainly won’t want to keep living when I join them–I’m not there yet and I don’t want to live NOW.

Anyhow, my friend, I just wanted to let you know my being away has nothing to do with you. You’re one of the very, very few people here who stopped to take notice of me, to share with me. I’m immensely appreciative of that. I just don’t want to bring you down–especially now that I know that despite your own battles there is still something in your life that gives you hope, a reason to be. I really, really, really want you to be content. It’s quite selfish, to be honest. We all want “good” for those we like.

Anyhow, I’ll check back to see if you’re still checking this threat. If not, I’ll nevertheless send out into the ether thoughts for joy directed at you.

Peace.

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