On Loneliness, with a Smidge of Missing New York

Content Notice: depression, self-harm

I feel so lonely lately. It's partly because, well, I moved to a new city where I have few friends, and since I don't have a job I don't really get to interact with other people unless I really go out of my way to do so. So I am, truthfully, alone a lot, and my brain, my extroverted, depressed, twisted little brain, doesn't handle alone time well. 

But there's more to it than that. I am...existentially lonely. Even when I'm connecting with someone else, when I'm in the midst of entertaining others and hearing their laughter bubble up and knowing that I did that, I made them make that joyful sound, I feel like I am the only soul in the world. 

In high school, I wrote this description of it that I think is apt; I'm gonna paraphrase, because honestly I'm too lazy to hunt for the original file, but basically: I feel like I'm in a desert. It's hot, it's arid, it's full of sandy wind. And I can see people hanging out in a beautiful oasis mere steps away. I want to join them, oh so desperately.

I make my way toward them and I'm so close, I'm almost there, when — something stops me. An invisible glass wall, impenetrable but crystal clear, separates me. I start to yell, and bang on the glass, and kick it and bash my head into it and I'm doing everything I can to do their attention. But they can't hear me. I scream myself hoarse and punch the wall until my knuckles are raw, but in the end, I'm still alone in my desert. 

But wait, it gets worse. Because as I progress, I see there's a tiny hole in the glass. I walk to it and yell and, lo and behold, someone comes toward me! We can't reach each other, but we can communicate through the glass, and this is the happiest moment of my life. My soul is flying! I've never been so ecstatic, never felt so connected, so understood and seen

And then it ends. The oasis calls my new friend back, and with a wave and a promise to come back, they saunter off to rejoin the rest of humanity. Now I'm alone again, and it's so much more bitter than it was before, because I've had a taste of what life could be. And I'm still cut off from it.

Sometimes depression is hard to understand because, like grief, it isn't always constant. I have my moments of happiness, I can smile as brightly as the next girl, my joy radiates forth.

But it isn't real. When the people are gone, the lights are dimmed and I'm alone in the aftermath, I plummet back into darkness. 

It feels like no matter what I do, I'm not seen or understood. So I do what I can. I...I beg friends to let me hang out with them. I write blog posts like this one. I cut, sometimes. I cry in public. I ask people for prayer. All I really want is for someone to look me deep in the eyes and say, Wow. I'm so sorry for your pain. Let me hold you for a moment.

I think this is why I crave a romantic relationship so much. Because I feel like, if I could just have a boyfriend, I would always have someone to hold me. Someone to see me. There would be someone to walk me through the dark nights, yes, but...there are things about myself I love, and I want to share them with someone and have someone devote themselves to me.

I don't know, maybe part of the problem is me. Because I rely so heavily on people. I'm a people person in the extreme, an extrovert to a fault. When I love people, I want all of them. And that's unrealistic to ask of a friend, even a family member. 

[An aside: it's really hard when all of your friends are in relationships and/or have babies. Talk about not being able to ask much of people...]

I want to be known, intimately and deeply. And I know, I know what you're going to say: that God loves me that way and he knows me intimately and deeply. Hearing that honestly doesn't help. It just wracks me with guilt. 

I want to stop feeling so alone. So empty. 

And you know what else?

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I freaking miss New York. 

I miss the endless amounts of people, the beautiful architecture, the sounds of traffic. I miss my friends, I miss working, I miss my apartment. 

The missing weighs on me and pulls me down, deeper into the mire of loneliness that just suffocates me all the time.

And I don't know what to do about it. I don't have an answer for myself or anyone else. I'm just lonely, and homesick, and really, really sad.