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A bit lonely and confused... what to do from here?
Hi everyone, I am new to BB and I am just looking for advice and support. I have a great life, but just the last month I am starting to feel really lonely and blue. I was born in a small family and all my life have intermittently struggled with bouts of loneliness. My dad has bipolar and that has given me some childhood trauma, although overall he is a good guy but it was hard sometimes.
Because my hubby and I moved around quite a bit and I have changed jobs fairly regularly I don't have a large network of local friends. I do try my best, and have met some people through my kids kinder/school/playgroup and also I walk with a lady in our street. I try to keep contact with my friends from earlier years too but they are fairly far away and busy with their own life. I have a brother who is lovely but he is very busy and not awesome with emotional stuff so he is not able to really give me the companionship I crave either....
I am so fortunate to have a wonderful husband and children and hobbies etc that I am passionate about, and financially things are good. But I still feel so alone sometimes and I often feel like I am the one reaching out to others, I just wish more times it was other people taking the initiative so I didn't feel like I am always pushing myself on other people. It's like I always want more than people can give. I am starting to have some dark/negative thoughts and feel worthless and it's not great.
I really appreciate any advice- especially in regards to friendship, making a support network etc. Thank you so much to those who read this.
Hello Cherryorchard, welcome to Beyond Blue forums
Pleased to see you've found your way to our community of caring, supportive, friendly and non judgemental people.
Loneliness is so difficult. Especially if you have people around, like your husband and kiddies. Don't know about you, I need mental stimulation and to talk about emotional things. Not that I'm saying hubby doesn't give that, it's just conversations are and can be different. So having someone you can talk to is important and healthy.
That feeling of always being the one that reaches out to others resonates with me. I'm the same. What I've learnt is - people think I'm 'self sufficient', 'in control', 'aloof'. They don't think I need help. And to be honest, I have to agree this is the impression I give out. It's the mask I put on to help me survive. That of course has been to my own detriment. Whether I can change it i don't know.
I find emotional support is always through my psych. It's a safe place for me to let my 'guard' down, that 'wall' i've built around me to slide a little.
Hobbies can be very stimulating, though I find myself getting bored after awhile. I need something new in my life to keep me interested. Are you working at the moment? Either paid or volunteer work?
You talk about the dark/negative thoughts and feelings of worthlessness. Who are you seeing at the moment about this? For example, your doctor or a health professional? For me, those feelings are a slippery slide into severe depression. They are my indicator to take myself off to the doctor and get a referral to a psychologist.
Something else you might like to think about is - all the change you've recently had. Moving to a new town, trying to make new friends, getting to know the area and the people there. Change does have an impact on ourselves that we often overlook.
Do you use social media of any sort? I use FB as a way to keep in contact with dear friends in other parts of Australia. There are all sorts of ways these days to maintain the friendships one builds - skype, instagram, twitter.
And of course, Beyond Blue is a great way to get a network of people for support. The only down side is we can't really get to know each other outside of the forums. In some ways this is good for those who like to maintain their sense of safety, anonymity and distance.
Keep reaching out to us here, if and when you want to Cherryorchard. No pressure on you at all. Just know you are not alone in how you feel.
PamelaR: Thanks so much for your absolutely lovely response. I will read it again later when I have time to absorb it more thoroughly. Well, although I mentioned we have moved around quite a bit, we have actually settled now, and have been in this suburb for 3.5 years! Which is great and it's providing more opportunities to make connections.
What has changed however is that I was working and studying part time, but I finished my study about two weeks ago. I left my part time job prior to that so I could actually have the time to complete my final capstone assignment. So I am home full time right now, probably for about another 6 weeks until I get my uni results and then look for some temp work.
I relate very much to what you say- my husband is great but I seem to desperately need to talk to other people too. It sounds a bit greedy I know! He doesn't so much need others to talk to. A little bit, but not in an overwhelming way like I do.
Like you, in the past I think I probably did seem aloof/in control/self contained, which as you know can exacerbate the problem. People think I am so calm and gentle but inside I am in turmoil sometimes but I feel like there's no real way I can express that.
Thank you again for your kind response, it really means a lot to me.
If I don't pick up soon I will probably seek help from a professional.
welcome to the site.
finding and making new friends is never an issue for children. For adults it is a different story. For discerning adults extra difficult.
having some level of control over the first contact maybe helpful and this may also allow for a gradual familiarity to take place. Some suggestions:
1. Neighbours. Informal breakfast, morning or afternoon tea can be nice. It is rather one to one meeting. This is usually very fast and effective way of making friends.
2. Volunteering. This usually provides an opportunity for meeting many people. Friendships develop naturally but slowly. There are volunteering organisations in every state. Local councils and libraries should have info. Following areas of your interests or whatever makes you smile is a good guide. Be aware people with different agendas (career step, professional achievements, etc) would be attracted to these organisations also.
3. Societies, such as historical and genealogical societies. Similarly people may have very subject focused agendas for joining in but friendships could develop there too.
4. Rec centres. Swimming pools, gyms, etc have activities for different age groups and fitness levels. This would be less goal focused environment. After seeing the same faces regularly, people make small talks and connect.
5. Focused groups, eg Tai Chi, toast masters, etc. those groups are oscillate around a common goal or interest. They are usually very supportive and welcoming of new members. Making friends there would be relatively easy and fast.
6. Enrolling to short courses, lectures or events such as writers festival, u3age, etc.
7. Use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, tweeter, instagram, etc - be careful with this one though, there could be privacy issues, unwanted attention issues, etc. however in both Facebook and LinkedIn you would be able to find “groups” around different interests.
8. Enroll to a community art or theatre group,
9. Start your own book club or a group and advertise locally.
10. Join or attend church of your preferred denomination.
11. Just smile to people, show interest in their lives and soon you could be friends with your local baker, butcher, etc.
12. Chat to your hairdresser, tell her you would like to meet more people and ask her if she has any ideas.
all the best
Ahhh, I understand I think - that waiting for the results is the pits!! 6 weeks is a long time. I know I use to say nahhh, I did okay. There was always that self doubt that bubbled away inside slowly making me cringe with the thoughts of failure.
Also, the contact whether it be online or face to face - is no longer there. This can be kind of a let down after a long time of study. Also, if you've ceased work at the same time. It sounds to me like all your stimuli have reduced significantly. No wonder you're feeling the way you are.
I see Vero above has given you some wonderful ideas for how to make friends. For your mental stimulation, you might need to think about further education (or not). Join a reading group or an association that's similar to what you were studying?
Keep well while you wait for your results. Try to do things that give you some satisfaction or feeling of success, simple things like making some muffins.
Vero: Thanks for your excellent suggestions. I really appreciate them all. Neighbours, a local short course, or local book club all sound like possibilities. I have used Meetup.com in the past which was pretty good, I could always get back into that.
Hi PamelaR, yeah waiting for results is a strange time, because I have gone from being occupied from 6am until 10pm at night when I was finishing of my capstone project (11,500 words), to having basically very little to do. This week I feel on a bit more of an even keel. I organised a few things to do over the weekend, which helped me feel better. Sometimes I just get frustrated because I feel like I am always the initiator when it comes to organise things- but maybe I should just accept that and not be worried about it? What do you think?
Partly it might be because I com from a small family and I am not working at the moment so I have more time/energy to organise things than a lot of other people? Also.... maybe I just have a greater need to make those connections and many people are happy just hanging out with their immediate family a lot of the time? I dunno.... just analysing things to death like usual lol.
Thanks again for your encouragement. I have been using a meditation App which I found really helpful in the past too for the last few days.
11,500 my goodness, that's a lot of words.
That thing about being the organiser - well, I've worked most of my life. In the past 20 years they have profiled teams. In teams, you'll get a number of different personalities, people who like to do things more than others. I have since translated this into my home and social life. It's the same, people like to do things, e.g.
Innovators/creators - think of all the things to do and have the organisers get it done
Thinkers - do the research, think about what the innovators/creators have come up with
Organisers - plan and organise everything the innovators/creators come up with
Finishers - make sure the works is finished
Quality controllers - make sure everything is just right, going according to rules and regulations
Doers - actual do the work to make everything happen
Linkers - do each of the above roles
Now I'm not sure how this will help you. Maybe think about your family and friends fitting into one of these roles. You definitely sound the organiser. From my experience, the organiser frequently gets frustrated with others because they think the others are not 'pulling their weight' or are 'disinterested'. Generally it's because they are much better suited to other parts of the team. Organisation is not their best quality.
I used to be the ideas/creator type person and a doer/finisher, my hubby is part a doer and quality controller. When I retired last year, that has left both of us with - no organiser. This makes it often difficult to get things done. No one to do the planning!! I have been an organiser in my work life, but that was ages ago. I just have to summons up the qualities. It's hard these days though.
Friends are often difficult to get out, especially if they've family that keeps them occupied. Often they don't have time, energy or enough sleep to do other things. I learnt this a long time ago. We never had children and while we loved being around them, families had their own things - sports training, ballet, sports games. Keeps parents on the move.
Making connections is good. You sound a very active person and have a need for social contact. All this is good. I don't think you're over analysing things, you're wanting someone to do things with. You've just finished uni, it's play time. You may find your adrenaline will drop shortly now your capstone project is complete. Then you might find you'll just want to sleep for awhile.
Pleased to hear you're using the med app.
Hi PamelaR: Thanks for your response. Those roles do sound fascinating, and I haven't heard of that particular type of team analysis before. I know I am NOT the quality controller or the finisher. I have no eye for detail at all. I am probably mainly an organiser, thinker and the doer.
Yeah, I agree after I finished my capstone I probably did have the adrenaline wear off suddenly. Including mouth ulcers, a cold, exhaustion, and a lot of hair falling out to top it off-oh dear. But I do think I am coming back onto an even keel now.
Yes what you say about people being kept busy with their families is true. I shouldn't hold it against them really... I mean that's just how people are isn't it?
Thanks again for the chat it really helps.
Yeah, there is all sorts of personality profiles. From Myers Briggs, Red Book (wheel with link in the centre), True Colours.
Have done a few in my time. What I outlined above was a combination of each of the different types. Not being the details person, I can't remember which one goes with which.
Aren't mouth ulcers horrible, cold and exhaustion don't help either. Sounding a little run down?? Study always did that for me too. Had weeks of recovery when I finished a year.
It sounds like your mind is still active though. It's finding something to keep it active. Guess you do things like sudoku, cryptic crosswords, planning what you're doing over the coming year?
Interestingly, having worked all my life and now retired, I find the peace and quiet, the reduction in social contact quite comforting and soul restoring. I do have to go out of my way to maintain contact with people, otherwise they are too busy with work and their families. But I'm okay with this because I'm learning new things or rekindling old passions. For example I wanted to do mosaicing again. The only person I could find would only do that if you did his lead lighting course to start with. So I've made my first lead light lamp.
Can you imagine what the finished product would look like made by a person who has little attention to detail?? LOL. Actually when you don't look to closely it's okay. But I've decided not to do his foiling class. I want to do mosaicing, so I might just do it at home now that I've got my hands and fingers working in materials again. Still have some of the old tools.
Do you mind if I ask what your capstone project was on? Something to do with architecture?
BTW I'm glad our chatting helps. Helps me too.