Loneliness

Aack. Loneliness. One of my few friends has now found other friends she prefers, so I feel cast aside. We aren’t that close, but she is someone to do a few things with, but she no longer has much time for me.

I also fear I alienated another friend, who lives in another province. We just visited by phone. I know I touched a sore spot with her, and so she has withdrawn. My friends are withdrawers – if something goes wrong, they say nothing, but distance. I find that difficult. I know I picked them because their style felt familiar and safe to me, but now I no longer like that.

The friend who I alienated, I said something about her ‘diagnosis’. She lives on disability on the basis of this. It’s a tough diagnosis – schizophrenia. This came about because of a breakdown she had many years ago, where she landed in hospital. We have similar issues of abuse in our backgrounds. I do feel that her issues are similar to mine – that’s why we’ve been pretty close friends – we understand how it is. My opinion is that she was misdiagnosed – I think dissociation and PTSD can explain what she’s going through well enough. Though of course I wasn’t there.

This friend is not at all critical or independent minded. She barely knows the internet exists, for instance, and so does no research on her own. She believes what those in authority, doctors, tell her. This would be OK, except she is taking a heavy duty anti-psychotic. I think it’s bad for her health. She has a bunch of health problems that some research has linked to side effects of these medications. Anyhow – none of my business, right? It’s been my opinion for a long time, but I kept it to myself.

However, one day she called and found me in a bad space. I had been struggling mightily with my work situation and was really down. She launched into maybe twenty minutes of talking about her own issues, which admittedly, were severe. But I knew, after about ten minutes, that I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t listen to her any more without talking. My friend was too overwhelmed maybe to ask me how I was doing, she just wanted to talk.

And so at some point there, we were going back and forth, and my reservations about her meds/diagnosis popped out. I didn’t insist I was right or anything. I didn’t dwell. But she hasn’t called me since, maybe, two months, which is completely unusual. I know her, and so I know that what I said offended her, and so she withdrew. Hopefully she’ll get over it if I give her space.

So I feel lonely. Ron is away. I had sent him two distraught emails earlier in the week, as my work situation again deteriorated and I felt completely frantic. It does my head in, there, and I can’t work out how much is my part and how much is the dysfunctional workplace’s and boss’ part. I got so depressed I had trouble washing my dishes, and they were piling up. This is one of the basics I need to be able to do in order to keep working, and when I can’t do it, that really scares me. I mean, not that I was doing other things and couldn’t get to the dishes. I just had stopped doing anything much at all.

Writing to him helped. I knew he was out of internet range, but it helped anyway. Like the kid part of me is so relieved that we’re telling a ‘grown-up’. Kind of crazy.  I decided while writing that I needed to get mad, and that mad energy helped me carry on.

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16 comments
  1. That kind of disconnection when you really speak the truth, I know SO WELL. I am so wary of what I say to anyone now. My nephew has recently been diagnosed bi polar and I know his history so well and know he has Complex PTSD, its not really bi polar which is a blanket diagnosis these days. I am scared he is on meds as his brother told me he is now numb. So Its so hard. You spoke you truth because you care for your friend and wanted to help her. Maybe she is thinking about what you said but it is probably too much as so many people take what the authorities tell them. Sometimes people just want to know that we care for them. I wont say anything to my nephew which is hard, it means I have to keep the relationship more superficial and now I am finding it hard to call him.
    I spend most of my time alone and get really lonely. I am just so grateful to be at least able to blog, but its not like going for a walk in the park with a good friend. Thinking of you. Sorry its so hard. (-)

    • I don’t think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive… I have both bipolar disorder and C-PTSD. I hope you can reach past your concerns over labeling and reconnect with him. With the right meds there is no reason for him to be feeling numb, so my hope would be that he can get that sorted out. For me, affirming and supportive family and friends have made all the difference to my long-term recovery… so maybe there’s a middle path that will allow you to keep a healthy skepticism (sp??) and yet continue reaching out to him.

      • Thank you. I do appreciate your perspective. I feel sad that my fear of the meds is stopping me connecting to him and reaching out. Maybe its down to my own black/white thinking and its great you point out, it isn’t either/or. Thank you so much for your comment.

    • Ellen said:

      Wow, I am sorry about your nephew. I like how you’re framing this as I spoke my truth. This is simply my opinion, and it’s been hard these years not to ever voice it. And I did not tell her what she should do, just voiced a concern about the effects of the meds she is on, and one sentence, really, of wondering if that diagnosis is right for her. Because I’m totally aware that I don’t know – she is the expert on her own life.

      It must be hard to know how to respond to your nephew when you have strong feelings on his health. You feel a particular path is most healing, and he is on another, and so it sucks. You may be wise not to say your opinion, especially these early days. Maybe later on, you can tactfully say something about how you see things, but people do get very very upset on these issues. That’s why I never said anything for years to my friend, and then of course it popped out.

      I am sorry you too are lonely. I actually became less lonely after my post, when this very friend I felt no longer valued me much called and wanted to meet up. But in general, I too am too much alone.

      Thank you EFTDK.

  2. Rachel said:

    Loneliness also makes it so hard to get the basics done. But I was struck by your awareness of “the dishes aren’t getting done, this is a problem” so you did something about it. Well done, Ellen.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks. 🙂 I know the dishes not getting done does not sound huge, but I have this huge fear that I will not be able to work because of my issues….no dishes / no meals / even less energy / total disaster. That is the dismal equation. I think my emails to Ron are driven by a young part, who then feels reassured enough, even without a reply, to let me get some stuff done.

      • Ellen, I used to have this same fear…that I wouldn’t be able to work and thus everything would fall apart. But really, nothing has fallen apart. My stress tolerance is just lower than it used to be which of course is fine. I have more awareness and time and energy to get the basics done. It used to be that I exerted ALL my energy to function well at work and then everything at home fell apart. Now things won’t be falling apart at home because I am more present.
        And it is totally okay to have your opinion. I cannot imagine relying solely on doctors and never googling anything LoL, but as I see it, you were taking care of yourself. It isn’t as much about your opinions as it was that you knew that you were in a bad place and needed to set boundaries and care for yourself. Friendship is a give and take and there comes a time that you just can’t continually listen to someone complaining.

        • Ellen said:

          Good to hear your break from working is productive AG.

          About the friend – I think it was both. I was in a place where I couldn’t listen anymore. Maybe I should have just said that. Plus, I have had the continuing concern about the meds she takes, that they are contributing to her health problems. Anyway. I don’t think it’s the end of the world that i said what I did, but some people are super sensitive, and you can’t say stuff like this.

          Thanks AG. Hope you’re doing well.

  3. I am sorry about the loneliness. I hope you can find reconciliation with your friend. It sounds like you are making great progress though. Your awareness of the things around you, that are happening or not, is really great!

  4. Ashana M said:

    I never thought of that before: the mad energy moving you into action. It’s interesting, because that’s indirectly recommended sometimes. It’s still another trauma response (fight instead of freeze), but the dishes get done at least. Take care. 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      Angry energy is my friend actually – I find it a good way to move through depression. I think a lot of my anger got so squashed, it’s a relief to feel some, even if I have to search for it. I think some of my anger responses, especially when they are reactions to people in the moment, are trauma responses – they are exaggerated. I’m less sure about this anger that helps me move through depression….it seems helpful. Thanks Ash

      • Ashana M said:

        That’s great to have that. Something about what you are saying makes sense, but I can’t articulate it.

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