Sunday, February 18, 2007

loneliness and depression...a continuing lesson

I can understand loneliness and depression. If they gave out a degree in the course I would most certainly be awarded top honors. As I sit here typing in the seclusion of my room, mug of coffee at my side, still in my pajamas, white bright light is trying to burst through my drawn blinds. Outside the house is surrounded by a wintery blizzard dumping of snow, making it difficult to even open my front door. Winter, isolation, seclusion, aloneness, depression. I see a most familiar pattern emerging. Oh I forgot could I forget restlessness?

Today seems especially futile to me. That feeling scares me to death. It reminds me of how I felt when I attempted suicide years ago. No, I do not want to kill myself or die now. But, the way you can feel, which can lead to action is what I have been fighting off recently. It is exhausting. The inner emotional turmoil and tricks the voices in your head try to play against each other are probably about as close to madness as one can get without actually being mad. No, I am not schizophrenic. I am talking about those inner voices we all have, that we replay over and over and over again in our minds each and every day. Thousands of repetitions of unfortunately, usually negative thoughts. I wonder why that is. Why does it seem to be so easy for your inner voice to repeat negative phrases to you to knock your own self worth than positive affirmations? It takes great effort to be able to repeat positive phrases to oneself over and over on any given day. It is a conscious effort, whereas the other negative thoughts just seem to ramble at whim very freely.

I have done nothing lately but deep, intense self-reflection. I guess that happens a lot during winter when there is little else one can do. I have looked at my life as it was, as it is now, and what it might be like one day in the future. I do not wonder how I got to the point where I am now because I already know. I have realized I currently live a very isolated life with does not help loneliness or depression. In fact, they all feed voraciously off each other, creating a huge snowball effect, which enhances their powers over you.

It is strange sometimes to see how I react when I am alone. I used to crave being alone....could not wait to move out on my own and live alone. Funny, when you are finally alone, you usually end up not wanting to be, because you suddenly realize just how alone you really are.

Some would say I am not alone because I have a son. Well my son for the most part prefers staying in his own world better than sometimes being in mine. I can't say I blame him. His world has a gloriously controlled environment. Nothing there is unpredictable. He is surrounded only by things that make him happy and keep him calm. So while he is here, unless I step into his world or drag him out of his into mine, we live together yet separate in many ways.

I had a pizza delivered last night for my son for supper, and while I am friendly, I also realized I must really be semi-desperately lonely, to want to strike up a fairly long conversation with the delivery man. As I watched him drive away I could have almost cried. How freaking sick is that? It reminded me of my mother and how "friendly" and "talkative" she always seemed to be, even to complete strangers when we were growing up. Looking back on it now I have to wonder if she did that because she herself was lonely? Was she depressed with her life? I know she did not and could not talk to my dad about things. They just did not ever seem to have that type of relationship. Was she starving for companionship surrounded by a husband and 5 children? If so, that is intense loneliness at its best. So it is very possible to be surrounded by people and still remain very much alone.

As I sat at the kitchen table eating my own supper while my son was in his room eating his, I was slapped again with the realization of just how "alone" I was. I find it interesting that the older I get the more frightening or disturbing that seems to become to me. I am puzzled by that. It is not that I do not like my own company. I do. But I am a sharer. Most things in my life just seem to hold little enjoyment or meaning unless I can actually share them with someone else. As with most humans, I too long for the actual presence of another. Sharing a meal, great conversation over a steaming mug of coffee, an article, movie, our thoughts, dreams, desires, hopes, fears, would be huge. I have also realized the friends I had before don't seem to be free anymore. I know everyone can get busy with their own lives. But I miss having someone I can call up to talk with or invite over for dinner and a chat or for a cookout and afterwards just sitting outside well into the dark listening to the crickets chirp as the moon and stars shine overhead. And let's not even get started on the lost intimate aspects associated with loneliness.

Sure I could do what most of us do during times like these. I could turn on the TV and let the muffled voices play endlessly in the background like white noise, but at some point I will have to turn the TV off, and the silence is then only more deafening and noticeable. I could escape into a good book, but eventually the book has an ending. I could do many things, but eventually I would still have to go home at night, and face myself being alone again. Why is that so scary for me now?

I am a woman and of course we need to have our famous "circles" where we can sit for hours and talk with other women (or men) about the same things over and over again, until suddenly we realize we "feel better." We do not talk to get anything actually fixed. This is why it is extremely difficult for a man to be part of this circle. They are fixers. They will listen to a point before they no longer hear any actual words coming out of your mouth. They fall into an almost trance-like state where they have turned your voice off and no longer hear you, because they just want to "fix" whatever is wrong. They are already busy working on a solution. Us women do not always want something to necessarily be fixed....we just have to talk about it endlessly, sometimes for hours at a time, going from point A all the way through the alphabet to point Z, before arriving back to point A again, and then we are done with it. We have released it. We can let it go.

I no longer have that. I have not had that for over 20 years. It is no wonder I have so many thoughts racing through my head. I am working hard on becoming more like a man in my thinking and not having to actually "work the circle" or at least being able to work it in a faster fashion, but I fail miserably. Why? Because I am very much a woman. The best I can do is hope for a man who will be more than willing to just listen to me ramble on until I can complete the circle. Or at least be good at faking it.

My writing is one way I have discovered I can obtain some sense of relief. Paper is my friend and the letters being spilled forth into words become my voice. When my thoughts and emotions are overflowing, about to burst from the dams in my brain, I sit down and write. It flows. It is easy. It is natural. It is soothing. It is my friend. It is always there...always present....always willing and ready to listen. It does not need to fix anything for me. It is just there. Present.

Presence. Presents. I think having the presence of someone beside you is indeed the best present one can give to oneself.

Copyright ©2007 Melinda A. Napoletano
Image Source: Yahoo Images


Keith said...

Wow! Melinda Believe it or not, I truely understand all that you are feeling. You may not think so, I but I do. The year, 2005, is a gray fog, leaving me to wonder what all went on in that year. Except for a very few exceptions. I can't rememeber too much.
Depression and anxiety overwhelm the soul, erasses the mind, and does nothing to to sooth the spirit.
I know all too well the feeling of "aloneness" even in a crowded room, and also how one yearns for someone, anyone to interact with, BUT feeling helpless, at times to persue it.
I shall offer to you some positive thoughts...may they envelope hopes that the chain of depression may be broken.


A Bishops wife said...

So much of what you stated here, resenates with me. I was "thinking out loud" at work the other night, explaining to my self how I talk, talk to people just want to talk till I feel better.

I have thought about how my hubby stays home to be "mom" and I go to work and how hard it is to become"more like a man." He says I have changed. Sure I have.

My husband suffers from depression and OCD. I have a seizure disorder that I never, never, never talk about. It is well hid and controled. I was married once before and my youngest child was severly autistic-this time around-my youngest is autistic but high functioning to Mod. My first hubby was very rich and left me with nothing. Not even my son. I die daily. No one understands.

But I find that life is not so bad when I write. My heart is lifted-even when writing about what others find unimportant.

I have learned, in life we must, must,must be selfish. Not at the expense of others but because of others

Sometimes we must experiance what we feel. Sometimes the light is not at the end of the tunnel but it is over the rainbow.

The Bible states"We are in this world but not of this world." This true for myself and my husband and our children.

You are not alone--no never--your words made me want to help somehow. So much of your pain was evedent, not only in the words... but in "spirit" of your words.

Please know I pray for you.

Melinda, mom of Noah said...

thanks keith..I know you understand it all too

bishops wife: thanks for stopping by and leaving encouraging words! and thanks for the prayers!

Nikon said...

I wish you luck - and your visitors. I have agoraphobia & depression just goes with it.
It's a real treat to go through life with it :)
I was a loner, too - it's amazing how I would give almost anything to have some company now.

Melinda, mom of Noah said...


I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from!

Nikon said...

Hi, thanks - sorry it took so long to get back to the page & read your reply.
I hope things are - if not better - not any worse :)

Melinda, mom of Noah said...

Nikon: it is odd. I seem to have a few friends online....but even those sometimes are not present when you really could use someone to talk to. PLUS...few really want to be around you if you are depressed or feeling down in the dumps. I don't blame them. It is better to surround oneself with positive, good things and people. I try to do the same. BUT everyone has crap come up in their lives....and sometimes it is good to be able to have someone around to let you cry on their shoulder so -to-speak. I do not have that really.....and I have to admit I would love to have it in my life. Sure I could call up my mom or is not quite the same as having someone right here beside me to "share" in everything...good or bad.

anyway....I appreciate you stopping by again!