What It's Like When Loneliness Is Your Best Friend

What It's Like When Loneliness Is Your Best Friend

Depression, anxiety, and the isolation of being forgotten.
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Since I was around 12 or 13, I have been horribly, desperately, painstakingly alone.

I've been alone for so long that oftentimes I forget how unnatural my loneliness actually is. Humans are social creatures, we thrive on connections with each other. And yet, every single night I find myself alone in my room wondering how I ended up so utterly disconnected from the world.

The idea of hanging out with friends every day is foreign to me; I hang out with friends once every few weeks, if that. Relationships? Never been in one. Parties? Never been to one. What's familiar to me is going to school, going home or to work, and then shutting myself in my room until I wake up the next morning.

And trust me, I know that's pathetic and I hate that this is ritual to me. But when you come to realize, as I have, that you could disappear entirely and no one would notice, it really cuts at your willpower to go out and exist in the world.

I don't actually know much but being alone. In middle school I had a pretty tight-knit friend group, but after one of them texted me "we're getting pretty annoyed with you" — a message I can still vividly picture popping up on my extremely hip Verizon LG Chocolate phone — I began to isolate myself from people. Every time I try to trace back to where everything in my social life started to go wrong, I arrive back at that moment.

My social anxiety, my self-consciousness, my inability to believe that anyone would ever actually want to get to know me... it all stems from the moment I was told that my own best friends thought I was annoying (no wonder I've always had the fear that everyone secretly hates me).

In an effort to prevent myself from being a nuisance in anyone else's life, I disconnected myself from the people around me. And I guess to an extent it's worked: I don't have that many people in my life that I'm close to, and in turn I don't have many people to risk letting down.

I don't mean to discredit those that I have been lucky enough to have support me. The people I do have are the reasons I stay alive. But keeping strong connections has only gotten harder as I've gotten older and as my struggles with depression and social anxiety have started to manifest in my relationships.

Friends move away to college, get in more serious relationships, get jobs, make new friends...they start new lives, lives that don't include me. I just fall behind, folding in on myself until I disappear completely. I fade away into the background, and it's like I never existed in the first place. It's like I never mattered.

That's the hardest part about loneliness—being forgotten. It's not intentional, I know people don't set out to erase me from their memory (at least I hope not). But somehow that makes it worse. I'm not given any thought at all, good or bad. My presence isn't enough for people to realize when it's missing. I'm not enough. I don't matter.

My depressive episodes normally spiral around the idea of mattering. When I start to slip into an episode, nothing matters to me and I don't matter to anything or anyone. I can't see past the immediate moment to a time where the things I do or say will matter, and in turn, I become cold, closed-off, and apathetic. I drive myself away from people so that no one has to be victim to my pain. People don't mind being around me when I'm happy, but no one wants to be there for pathetic depressed mess I become during my episodes.

I think it's important for people to know how to be on their own. I see how dependent some people are on those around them, people who need to be in the company of others 24/7, and I almost feel sorry for the day that they're going to be forced to learn that they can't rely on somebody else for their happiness. But the problem in my case is I've had way too much practice in the art of being alone. I'm an expert, but by circumstance, not by choice.

I used to take pride in knowing how to be alone. It made me feel headstrong and independent, and I didn't worry about disappointing anyone as I had back in middle school. But now it's just left me cold and cynical. I go out of my way to avoid making connections so I can save myself the misery of people losing interest in me. I've resided to the inevitability of my loneliness, and as much as I want to blame everyone else for that, I know it's all my fault. I just wish I wasn't so forgettable.

I don't want to place blame on others.

I don't want people to pity me.

I don't want people to drop everything in their lives just to try and make me happy.

All I encourage people to do is just check in. Ask someone how their day was, send a "good morning" text to someone you haven't talk to in a while, stop putting off those plans to get coffee with an old friend, tell the people you love that you love them. Just check in. It's not much, it lets people know that there's someone out there who hasn't forgotten about them. One small action can make all the difference.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Bailey Posted A Racist Tweet, But That Does NOT Mean She Deserves To Be Fat Shamed

As a certified racist, does she deserve to be fat shamed?
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This morning, I was scrolling though my phone, rotating between Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Snapchat again, ignoring everyone's snaps but going through all the Snapchat subscription stories before stumbling on a Daily Mail article that piqued my interest. The article was one about a teen, Bailey, who was bullied for her figure, as seen on the snap below and the text exchange between Bailey and her mother, in which she begged for a change of clothes because people were making fun of her and taking pictures.

Like all viral things, quickly after her text pictures and harassing snaps surfaced, people internet stalked her social media. But, after some digging, it was found that Bailey had tweeted some racist remark.

Now, some are saying that because Bailey was clearly racist, she is undeserving of empathy and deserves to be fat-shamed. But does she? All humans, no matter how we try, are prejudiced in one way or another. If you can honestly tell me that you treat everyone with an equal amount of respect after a brief first impression, regardless of the state of their physical hygiene or the words that come out of their mouth, either you're a liar, or you're actually God. Yes, she tweeted some racist stuff. But does that mean that all hate she receives in all aspects of her life are justified?

On the other hand, Bailey was racist. And what comes around goes around. There was one user on Twitter who pointed out that as a racist, Bailey was a bully herself. And, quite honestly, everyone loves the downfall of the bully. The moment the bullies' victims stop cowering from fear and discover that they, too, have claws is the moment when the onlookers turn the tables and start jeering the bully instead. This is the moment the bully completely and utterly breaks, feeling the pain of their victims for the first time, and for the victims, the bully's demise is satisfying to watch.

While we'd all like to believe that the ideal is somewhere in between, in a happy medium where her racism is penalized but she also gets sympathy for being fat shamed, the reality is that the ideal is to be entirely empathetic. Help her through her tough time, with no backlash.

Bullies bully to dominate and to feel powerful. If we tell her that she's undeserving of any good in life because she tweeted some racist stuff, she will feel stifled and insignificant and awful. Maybe she'll also want to make someone else to feel as awful as she did for some random physical characteristic she has. Maybe, we might dehumanize her to the point where we feel that she's undeserving of anything, and she might forget the preciousness of life. Either one of the outcomes is unpleasant and disturbing and will not promote healthy tendencies within a person.

Instead, we should make her feel supported. We all have bad traits about ourselves, but they shouldn't define us. Maybe, through this experience, she'll realize how it feels to be prejudiced against based off physical characteristics. After all, it is our lowest points, our most desperate points in life, that provide us with another perspective to use while evaluating the world and everyone in it.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter / Bailey

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What It’s Like To Have Anxiety Third-Wheel Your Relationship

A young couple, madly in love. The two of them against the world. Almost.

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When romantically involved with another, one may have to tear down your walls and reveal a vulnerable side to yourself. You may divulge inner thoughts that you never expected to unveil. To show a side of yourself, you have kept buried for so long. A darkness revealed into a relationship that should be of light and love.

Anxiety and/or depression at times could be your closest friend, and now another has entered your close circle. Your boyfriend/girlfriend has become your best friend, and at times your mental illness will not appreciate that. It will try to squeeze its way in back into your life just when you thought everything was going so well. You feel as if they lurk around every corner on every date. Watching closely, waiting for you to drop.

When it's time to tell your partner of your third wheeling fiend, do not fear. They will be more understanding than you could imagine. They can help you tolerate and/or eliminate your dark friend that lurks around. They can help lift you out of the shadows. The raw honesty could even bring the two of you closer and stronger.

For myself, my boyfriend embraces this darkness I carried. He accepted it as a part of who I am and what he signed up for when you fell in love with me. He did not allow my haunting friend to destroy our relationship. It became only a shadow. A shadow of darkness. Forgetful enough that at times, I did not even notice that I carried this burden. Other times, it places it's hand on our conjoined hands while we walk down the street. Your partner's warmth will dissolve that coldness that wishes to enter into your love.

There will be times when life feels like it's crushing down on you. Darkness engulfing every part of your day. Maybe even your relationship. Do not be afraid to ask your partner for help in these times. They will help you see the light of life.

With my boyfriend, he helped me see a whole new side to my life. I found color and brightness. With him by side, I can see a future full of happiness and love. The trap of anxiety and depression cannot overpower us.

I discovered that my mental illness is apart of me. He embraced my flaws and showed me how to battle these scars. To tear down my walls to become healthy. That I should not be ashamed of anxiety/ depression, but I can battle it. And with my boyfriend by my side, we are undefeatable.

Allow yourself to be open to love. Do not let your dark friend control your life.

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