Sudden feelings of sadness and loneliness after returning home
Im someone who only a year ago loved time alone and enjoyed my own company sometimes more than the company of others. I recently returned home from a lengthy solo trip overseas and have had sudden overwhelming feelings of loneliness even after I have spent all day socialising. I would normally be up bright and early every morning and now since returning home I choose to sleep in and feel fatigued all the time. I find myself sobbing when I think of being alone or knowing I have a few days ahead of me without any plans to socialise. Im suddenly terrified of not having people around me 24/7 and dont like feeling as though i suddenly need others around me to keep me feeling content. I have tried to talk to my family who have all had their own moments with their mental health seeking support but no one knows what to say or how to address the issue. I live with my roommate who is a shift worker and her not being home many nights of the week gives me anxiety about coming home to an empty house. I have no clue where these sudden lonely feelings have stemmed from and would like to hear from others if they have ever experienced this before.
Hello Flerne and welcome.
I'm sorry you had a little more of a wait than usual. What an unusual story! I wish I had answers for you but I don't know why this anxiety has suddenly begun for you (or know of a thread with a similar story to help you).
That said I do appreciate this change must be very distressing for you! Have you been able to pinpoint anything that could have triggered this change in yourself? I know it is a rude question but on your trip did you try any traditional medicines or substances that could have triggered this change in your body? Feel free to refuse to answer ok I just find the idea of coming home to such a dramatic change such a terrifying idea and am trying to encourage you to discount any potential triggers.
Have you seen your GP? Once you have thought hard about the time line of the changes and maybe even written some notes so you can clearly explain what is happening and how it has changed it would be good to book a long appointment with your doctor. They can run tests to rule out any other possible causes and make a plan with you to manage this anxiety.
You don't have to suffer alone. There is a whole section here on anxiety and many who will relate to your symptoms. If a thread is helpful to you please join in to the discussions. You are very welcome here and I truly hope you can find some answers and some relief.
I too have had such feelings of emptiness/loneliness. The weirdest thing is I too have a close friend, a son and by no means lonely . But its just like I feel void. It went on for a few weeks or so and I believe it could just be that negative voice in my head that always seems to self sabotage me. I have had a divorce about two years ago ...but I never ever saw myself to be single again. So I think it is just that fear of being alone and just all these thoughts bouncing around in my head as I embark on my new life . But I have found that the more I pay attention to these thoughts...they actually get louder in my head...so I find easy ways to distract myself usually . I have a skipping rope that I keep nearby...do some jumping jacks , sing a song . I feel like paying attention to little things also makes a huge difference . For example walking on the streets and just noticing the flowers...the petals etc in actual detail. Hope these things help you as they have assisted me. Stay well and best wishes
I hope this isn't too late but I saw your post and thought I would share my experiences.
I too have recently returned from a long holiday overseas (a little under a month ago) and am struggling with some feelings similar to yours. I spent 6 weeks living life to the max and doing heaps of things out of my comfort zone and then returned to my ordinary life. I was careful to protect my mental health while overseas, and also my immediate return, but I have found that I am feeling tired and unmotivated, and basically struggling to get on with life as usual.
I am trying to give myself the self-compassion to allow myself time to recover and readjust after such a big adventure, while also utilising my professional supports. I have made an appointment with my psychologist just to check-in and see if there is anything deeper in what's happening for me. I suspect it's just a matter of running at 100%, with anxiety and adrenaline mixed in, but I always think it's best to check-in with a professional if I'm concerned. In the meantime, I'm focusing on self-care, to give my body a break, and also looking for new things to be excited about in my home life.
What you are experiencing sounds distressing, so I would definitely recommend checking in with a mental health professional. I'm not sure where you are in your journey, whether you already have people, or if not, you can start with your GP.
I hope things settle for you and you are able to find some relief.
Sorry to hear you are feeling alone. Much like you, I returned from a solo backpacking trip last year and came back to Australia feeling very alone, although I was surrounded by friends and family. Its been a process to reinvent those relationships since we all changed in our own ways during that time apart.
Although you are travelling solo I understand that you are never really alone because it is mostly very lively and you seem to always pick up friends along the way. Not only that, it is very socially acceptable to have your alone time when solo travelling as others are doing the same. Back in Australia I do not feel 'alone time' is something that is sought after often. Maybe people don't really want it because they are trying to keep their social calendars full or it naturally becomes full because of work/life commitments.
I think its important to get back that feeling of peace while being alone but to find that you have to be doing something you really enjoy. Think about the times when you were most happy travelling (i.e. reading, sports, yoga, surfing, beach, hikes) and try to find those enjoyments in everyday life. Have people come along with you so that they can share those same experiences with you. If I am at home by myself I try to avoid the social media - it can become a bottomless pit. I read about things I enjoy. I watch shows or documentaries. Or I sing and dance while I blast the music really loud. I got into cooking by myself which can be very therapeutic. Or if you are crafty setting up a painting, drawing, colouring station. It helps reduce stress as your focus moves from your thoughts into something else. When you have time to think about your thoughts then it can be a little overwhelming as they begin to spiral, particularly if they are not positive thoughts.
Find what it is that makes YOU happy and set some time aside for that. Also connect with the people you value most in your life for support. I turned to my brother and have reinvented that relationship but it can be anyone that you feel you can lean on at this time. Yoga and meditation are also great tools for boosting self-confidence and highly promote that time for you to be happy within yourself. Find a low key one if you can, as opposed to gyms, I feel they give the best reinforcement.
I hope this helps and I am happy to give more suggestions or information if you are after a little more info.
As a fairly experienced traveler and having suffered from and seen the effects in others, I know that Post-Travel Depression (PTD) is a real thing and can be quite debilitating. There is a happiness curve that we all travel on in our lives, and the adjustment after travel can actually be a much steeper curve than we anticipated; particularly after such a long and extended trip. You feel nostalgic about your experiences, somewhat sad at the loss of your freedoms, uncertainty about what to do next, and disconnection from others who haven't shared your experiences.
This is relatively normal. Allow yourself time. Easily said, I know, but very important. What you will probably find, is that you will return to similar levels of enthusiasm and happiness that you had before the trip. And you will be able to enjoy and connect with other people again more easily.
If you are still concerned, go speak to a counselor or someone to let all the doubt and confusion out, and hopefully that will re-set you.
Look up PTD around the web and see what you can find to help you.
Here are two links (if allowed) to read and help you out