Why Keeping Myself Company Does Not Mean I'm Lonely

Why Keeping Myself Company Does Not Mean I'm Lonely

The importance of spending time alone and why it's often overlooked

Spending time alone is something that is often perceived as sad and pity-worthy. It is viewed as a result of loneliness, and not something anyone would do by choice. However, alone time can be more valuable than everyone thinks. I like to consider myself and extrovert with introvert qualities and moments. I love to meet people, and to keep busy enjoying life with loved ones. But I also like to unwind and have "me time" to recharge. I need time to think about my life, ask myself how I see the world and what I need. Like many college students, I am busy all day at work; I'm "on" all the time. Whether I am learning how to use certain programs or completing projects for my boss, I am focused on my relationships with others. These relationships give me life and my world meaning, but they also remind me that I need to look after myself.

Today, I went for a hike. I lathered myself in bug spray, and drove out to a beautiful state park in my area. I hopped out of the car and disappeared into the woods. I hiked for almost 2 hours, completely alone, and it was exactly the therapy I needed to cap off a busy week of dinners, meetings, and assignments. I passed some people on the trails, but mostly, I only had the company of my Nalgene, car keys, and my phone, (turned to silent, and only on me in case of emergency, or great photo opportunities). After my adventures, I felt fulfilled and ready to return home... after I stopped for ice cream from one of my childhood favorites'. There was once a storefront 5 minutes from my house, but it closed many years ago, and I hadn't had their ice cream since; today I was near an alternate location, and couldn't pass up the opportunity. I walked in, ordered, and enjoyed my ice cream in a small old fashioned glass bowl, at my own little table.

Even though I spent most of my day alone, I did not for one moment feel lonely; I had a wonderful day of thoughts, observations, and quiet. The wildlife around me reminded me of how unique and special Earth is. My mind and body were able to release and empty themselves of the stresses they've been encountering all week, because the only thing that mattered was putting one foot in front of the other. I didn't worry about getting lost, because I had nowhere to be, no one to meet, and no one to let down when I didn't show up on time. Today I felt extra curious, so explored a little bit more than usual, and took some paths "less traveled by." Again, I didn't worry about where they led because I trusted that as long as I stayed on one, it would lead me somewhere safe.

Whether it's a hike in the woods, journaling under a tree, or dining out by yourself, spending time alone is something everyone should do every once in a while. Instead of defaulting to the assumption that someone is alone because he has no one to be with, we should see it as a reminder to do the same - to actively choose to be alone. I love spending time with people who are important to me, and my life would be drastically different without them. However, nothing quite compares to spending time with only my own company. It allows me to reset, and appreciate life a little better, at my own pace, and with more clarity than anything else.

So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, or want to do something without the expectation of entertaining someone else or their needs, by all means just do it, and do it alone. In reality, no one you encounter when you're alone is really watching or cares anyway, and you'll come out feeling refreshed and fulfilled in a way that you can only reach by yourself. Alone time doesn't mean you don't have an otherwise full life. In fact, if you feel a need to get away and be by yourself, it probably means your life is that much fuller to begin with. Then, after "you" time, you can return to your routine with an even clearer, more heightened level of energy and appreciation for it than before.

Cover Image Credit: Ellie Pinto

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

@abidickson01 on twitter.com

Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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