An Appeal for Loneliness

It’s 10:53 on a Thursday night. 21/9/2017

I love writing down the date and time.

More than a formality installed from school, I think it feels like the human thing to do.

Keep time, mark it as special. Make it mean something more than repetitive sounds on a clock; one hand to the next.

I am in bed, thinking about plans for the following days. 

And I feel lonely.

Time is just time, yet over the last month I have pleaded for it to pass quicker.

Like I’m waiting for something, with no specific event in mind.

For honest conversations? Human connection? Perhaps.

Somehow all my conversations of late fall short. They feel like scratches, I don’t flinch. I don’t feel.

And it’s not other people’s faults. Something in me had broke.

So after days of trying to keep up with everything that made me happy, I finally gave up. It became my morning pledge- not to be the best me or “today will be a great day” but rather,

“I surrender.”

When I finally admitted this futile truth I remember feeling slightly lighter. Like an ironic plot twist of life.

Another plot twist that scrapes together some feeling was drawing in my art diary. I would draw anything on the internet that made me feel some sort of way. And I have done this every night for months.

Evidence of human goodness spoke through the screen via Ted Talks. I listen to them as I draw things like:

  • Cherry blossoms, Iris Apfel’s face.
  • A Narwal (unicorn whale) laying amongst groovy mould-like shapes.
  • A human heart that looked like frayed lettuce.
  • A lady floating on the surface of a cup of tea.

After a few months of swallowing this feeling, I (a true millennium baby) googled ‘why am I lonely?’

Google told me a story about a girl somewhere in the world who had felt this way too. Living out of home was quite lonely, she had said, even with university. 

To answer the question of ‘why’, she chose to express herself via writing letters and poems to others in society. She would write these letters and then tape them to park benches. A bit like breadcrumbs of honesty, as if to say:

“I feel this way. If you have ever felt this way too, I am here.”

Depression and loneliness are definitely alive and kicking.

Looking back at that time, I think society doesn’t wear either label too well because it isn’t a goal or a success story. Instead we look at it with pity, a backwards step.

The pursuit of loneliness, a path we all must walk as a byproduct of being human. A bit like dying. For me, I felt like someone had turned me inside out. I had no control.

My thoughts and creativity were no longer connected, instead held in contempt in a basement somewhere.

With no one to talk to at home, I lent on my bed and my best friend. The weight I placed on her, even she had said was a lot.

I remember at the end of the day often found myself adding up all the great things that happened to me. Hoping I could trade it in for my old self or some sense of improvement, hope.

I wanted to be the one I and everyone else liked more.

Soon, I became convinced she would never come back.

To get out of that headspace took me three months, moving back home and a few hours spent with a counsellor.

The time taught me that even to this day, I don’t think we can ever say we are entirely in control of our minds.

Depression and illness reminds us that humanity is fragile and unpredictable. 

We are at the mercy of everything that makes us human.

And if I’m really honest, I am still scared of my head and of falling back into that space.

I wonder about how much worst it would be for new mothers. How they would want to be happy with their new addition with the pressure to want to feel a certain way just out of reach.

I don’t consider myself a religious person but if I did pray it would be for these women and their families.

Life is pretty fucking rough.

I thought about how cool it would be for older people in particular to lose the stigma. We could make a mixer. For the honest and craving. The ones who’s partners or friends have died.

The people who sit at shopping centres by themselves just to hear voices that don’t come from a screen.

It could be any of us, so why not make a night to celebrate the stigma away?

How beautiful that could be- if all the lonely come together to admit just how lonely we all feel. And try and be a little less lonely together.

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