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How does Loneliness effect you? Any meds that help? All articles suggest that being active in regular social activities, any type of socializing, CBT, therapy, all help - but what if it doesn't for you? What if you have no friends you can depend on or trust? What if socializing with strangers, frequent group meetups, events, hobbies makes you feel worse? What if you are unable to work and have no regular in-person interaction with people?

http://theconversation.com/loneliness-on-its-way-to-becoming-britains-most-lethal-condition-94775

 "Cacioppo’s key insight was that loneliness is fundamentally a biological problem....And so is its most profound effect – death. Analysis of 300,000 people in 148 studies found that loneliness is associated with a 50% increase in mortality from any cause. This makes it comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and more dangerous than obesity.

....said Cacioppo, we evolved to experience social rejection in the same way as physical pain. Brain scans have shown that “social pain”, such as being shunned by a community, activates the same region – the dorsal anterior cingulate as bodily trauma."

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Oh that’s awful @Blahblah. I have no friends and have no group therapy anymore. I never socialize. I barely get out of the house at alll! That’s sad. I don’t smoke but I guess loneliness has that impact on me. I’m incredibly lonely. All my friends ditched me when I went batshit crazy. I haven’t been able to maintain or make any new friends since then.

I can kinda feel my heart hurting. I know that makes no sense but I can feel that deep pain of loneliness in my heart. No one texts me in my family either. I have to text them and even then I get like a one or two word response. :(

Well, you aren’t alone. I’m sorry you are so lonely too. It’s hard to make friends and once you’ve been burned you really feel like you can’t trust people at all. At least that’s how I feel. I don’t want to get burned again. I loved my old friends. I truly thought they loved me back. But nope. I’m disposable I guess. Just like trash. Like I said my maid of honor and my bridesmaids in my own wedding don’t speak to me anymore at all. The maid of honor will be in town and won’t let me know, she will call everyone else but me. Then I’ll see the picture of all of them minus me on Facebook and let me tell you that stings like hell. What am I supposed to do? Like that picture? Awful. I just don’t get why they stopped talking to me. What did I do that was so awful? 

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5 hours ago, Wonderful.Cheese said:

Well, you aren’t alone. I’m sorry you are so lonely too. It’s hard to make friends and once you’ve been burned you really feel like you can’t trust people at all. At least that’s how I feel. I don’t want to get burned again. I loved my old friends. I truly thought they loved me back.

But nope. I’m disposable I guess. Just like trash. Like I said my maid of honor and my bridesmaids in my own wedding don’t speak to me anymore at all. The maid of honor will be in town and won’t let me know, she will call everyone else but me. Then I’ll see the picture of all of them minus me on Facebook and let me tell you that stings like hell. What am I supposed to do? Like that picture? Awful. I just don’t get why they stopped talking to me. What did I do that was so awful? 

Thanks @Wonderful.Cheese ... I feel exactly the same - disposable. A burden. Who cares. It's so much worse when you get older...I don't even want to think about the future, when I'm in an old senior home with dementia, slowly counting the minutes until I die, and nobody visits or talks to me.  I make a huge effort now and no one else does. Everyone is too busy with family or obsessed with work, and their FB or social media feed. They send a text message once a year if anything.

I feel like it's killing me. Or maybe I'm really screwed up, because it matters so much to me. I'm independent, sure, but I can only spend so much time in isolation without going completely bonkers. I can only distract by myself, for so long. I often wish I did not care about others or desire more in friendship & companionship - but I DO. I crave connection like air or water. I want to matter to someone. I see no other point living otherwise.

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2 hours ago, Blahblah said:

I see no other point living otherwise.

That's quite a bit more extreme than most people. I think you need to bring this up with your therapist. Of course, most people are social, but I think few would say that it is their point in living.

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38 minutes ago, jt07 said:

That's quite a bit more extreme than most people. I think you need to bring this up with your therapist. Of course, most people are social, but I think few would say that it is their point in living.

It's actually not just the act of "socializing". I socialize every other day, even if it's chatting up a taxi driver. Its about the deeper more meaningful, fulfilling, lasting friendships and reciprocal relationships (You can always find someone to talk to and I don't have social anxiety problems). I long for the kind of friendships I had at school when I was young. I have discussed this at great length with therapists and they don't seem to get it - they just suggest the same generic crap (things I already do) to go out, meet new people, show interest in them, try group hobbies, activities, volunteering, I've tried to lower my expectations of others.

I find it unbelievable that other people in the world don't experience extreme loneliness and isolation that makes them suffer this greatly.

Edited by Blahblah
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It really is the shittiest feeling. As one who never married or had kids,  I now live in an  emotional poverty where I feel I’m just waiting around to die, I can’t even hide it anymore. with no one to call and hang out with in my current area, I make do with high school friends from 20 years ago phone calls and what not, all happily living their lives, well at least living them with jobs and kids and what not. Also I think people figure out that I’m nuts so that doesn’t help but frankly I don’t like the people. But you need to rely on people for some things in life, the mailman the grocery store the bus driver, or in my case someone to drive me to the nuthouse. I relate to “ who do you do these activities with” because as I am a lesbian in a tiny town where everyone knows your business I don’t really want to be here.  You seem to crave connection so I s’ppose you may need to find a group that doesn’t make you feel worse ? or stick it out until you get over that terrible feeling. Definitely keep posting on here. I myself am in deep anhedonia so I may not be the best cheerleader. I’m also dumber than a box of rocks thanks in due part to being a closeted dyke with 40 years of undiagnosed depression and ADHD with no friends along with being an alcoholic. I feel ya ❤️

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I understand you are hurting and that is really crappy, but I guess that I can't really understand the main problem. Not only do I not need friends, but also I never really in my life had the type of friendships you describe. That doesn't mean that I'm right and you're wrong. It just means different people have different social needs.

If you feel like you do, there must be others who feel similarly. Maybe there are some websites where it is possible to make the type of friendships you want? It is worth a try. (I'm not talking about dating sites or meetup.com)

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@Stephielove77 Emotional poverty - the perfect word to describe it. It is exactly a kind of poverty, yet worse, it's an invisible/hidden one. Especially around the holidays when everyone is taking big-happy-family selfies. Sure I have shelter (not homeless), food I need (not hungry), clean clothes (at least I look like a civilized human being), money to buy necessities, physical health to exercise....but inside I have chronic emptiness and despair. Must I just radically accept the isolation and constant feelings of alienation - because we are alone anyway at the end of life when we die?

I know what you mean about the (desperation) point where sometimes you cling to every email or phone contact you can get (even if it's ppl you really despise, like Aunt Martha the Trump supporter or Mary (the old high school friend, now stay-at-home mom with 4 obnoxious brats whom i have absolutely nothing in common with), Jane the superficial narcissist. I'm on the road to becoming an alcoholic in order to go out there and numb the pain.

You're right that I need to somehow find a group that doesn't make me feel worse...when/where that will happen, I don't know. and no, you are not dumber than a box of rocks. I'd feel the same in your position. Like you said - if no one is "with me", who's gonna drive me to the nuthouse??

Edited by Blahblah
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No, it really is the deepest pit of despair may as well have a laugh, right? I was just thinking today it’s great that I’m not homeless I have clothes, although I definitely FEEL homeless, and have much of my life. Is there a difference between loneliness and solitude? Perhaps the answer is to strike a balance between the two. I definitely like my solitude. Are you perhaps in need of an intimate relationship? It’s an integral part of the whole thing, they say. 

Edited by Stephielove77
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I had lots of friends and was social from preschool to high school. A year or so after high school, I had my first episode and also developed very strong social anxiety. For me the hardest part is when people ask me what I do for a living? I finally found the courage to say I'm disabled but then they said with what? or you don't look disabled....work is so holy in American society that you are severely judged if you don't work. But I've found a space in which to practice being more social. I attend meditation groups and go on retreats and that way I'm interacting with other people without having to socialize the whole time. The studies on the health effects of loneliness have scared me and I'm trying to gently push myself. 

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13 minutes ago, CeremonyNewOrder said:

I had lots of friends and was social from preschool to high school. A year or so after high school, I had my first episode and also developed very strong social anxiety. For me the hardest part is when people ask me what I do for a living? I finally found the courage to say I'm disabled but then they said with what? or you don't look disabled....work is so holy in American society that you are severely judged if you don't work. But I've found a space in which to practice being more social. I attend meditation groups and go on retreats and that way I'm interacting with other people without having to socialize the whole time. The studies on the health effects of loneliness have scared me and I'm trying to gently push myself. 

I like this idea... and I’m also nervous about studies correlating with early death, etc. 

thanks for the idea. 

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I can relate to how people are feeling on here.  I tend to isolate myself and not want to socialize with people.   I have a few friends and I live alone with my 2 cats.  I sometime feel like my cats are sick of me!  I occasionally crave human interactions but give up on it because who wants to be with a overweight,  depressed loser that can hardly take care of herself.  I wonder what this world has in store for me?  I'm 47 and very tired of fighting,  trying new meds, feeling side effects,  meds not working,  staring at the walls, repeat.  That little spark of hope is fizzling out and I just want to sleep.

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I listen to a lot of depression related podcasts, Mental Illness Happy Hour, Hilarious World of Depression, Mentally Chill, I find them helpful to cope and not so isolated. I too am 41 year old loser who can’t take care of herself....but if that were entirely true perhaps I wouldn’t be here. I’m able to type. I can read the message board. I remember watching that Ted Talk with that guy with no arms and no legs and beating myself up for it. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t beat myself up anymore. I can’t afford to. I don’t want to spend the next forty years of my life like this. If I have to go inpatient mental facility then that’s what I’ll do. 

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Thank you Stephielove77 for the reply.  I will check out those podcasts that you mentioned.  I am at my wits end and slowly spiraling down the dark rabbit hole heading towards somewhere not good.  I want off this shitty medication because it's not doing anything for me but make me feel numb and eat crap.  Everything around me seems to be affecting me in a negative way and I am either crying or pissed off!  My father (who i was not close with) died in August and left his house to me, my sister and brother.  He left his wife a lot of money and basically anything in the house that she wanted.  When she moved out on Friday she took practically all the furniture and left the house a mess with trash everywhere.  She didn't even give us copies of my father's paperwork to the house, bills or anything.  She even took the $75K that was left to us to fix up the house so we can sell it in the spring.  She just was out for the money.  On top of that my father split his assets 33% to my sister and brother and 17% to me!  He gave my pedophile brother more than me.  I know it's not about the money but it still sucks especially when you never had much to begin with.  I get tired of beating myself up but I feel like it's so familiar that I don't know and other way of treating myself.

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I'm so sorry. What a jerk. I hope you are your siblings can go after her for the money.

I COMPLETELY relate to this... 

18 hours ago, Beth45 said:

I am at my wits end and slowly spiraling down the dark rabbit hole heading towards somewhere not good. 

 My rabbit hole has been appearing much more often lately, I think because of the light, or lack of it rather.

 

On 11/10/2018 at 7:19 PM, Beth45 said:

I sometime feel like my cats are sick of me!

Me too! lol. It is ridiculous. But when I am down that rabbit hole, everything fucking thing in my life looks dark, and bleak, and hopeless.

This IS your depression talking Beth. You are a wonderful vibrant person who has a disease that takes over. 
My life looks blessed from the outside, and it is. I have a job, a house, loving friends and family and two cats that keep me sane. Yeah, maybe my husband did leave me after 27 fucking years, but he was NOT attracted to ME at the end of the relationship, so I am better off now. But tell that to my critical voice. 

My hippocampus and my amygdala start hanging out and having a field day and my mood plunges down the rabbit hole. My depressions tend to be triggered, and those memories hit my emotions head on and a collision ensues, all parties dead on arrival.

I feel the depression knocking on my door, wanting to come in, and often lately, due to stress, anxiety and too many sick friends, the door opens, and my crazy barrels in taking over my life.

But I know that it is a DISEASE. It is not ME. It is so easy for me to negate everything I have ever done or believed or wanted when depressed. Nothing is safe from the rabbit hole. It is a black rabbit hole, no light or air, sucking everything in to disappear into the darkness.

But here I am, at 61 years old, having achieved more than I ever thought I would. I have an incredible daughter who I have to stay alive and well for. 

So know that depression takes no prisoners, it makes no DIFFERENCE WHATSOVER what you are doing in your life. You can be the CEO of Apple and be depressed and hopeless.   When I watched the Stanford lecture on depression for the first time, the line that stayed with me is one about having cancer is better, because at least you can enjoy the sunset.

I am trying to reduce the triggers, protect my free time, and stamp out that critical voice. I wake in the morning and the voice starts on me - you are ALONE, that must mean I am worthless. But I call BULLSHIT. So what? There are PLENTY of wonderful women who live alone and choose to live alone. Yeah, maybe it is not for me, and yeah maybe finding guys on the internet isnt the answer, but there is someone out there for me and we will meetup, even if it is in five years from now.

One day at a time. One hour at a time. It is a struggle my life. And I have succeeded. I am a functional depressive who is functioning so well most of the people in my life have NO clue. But ALL of my friends know. I am done pretending. If someone asks, how are you?, I don't lie anymore. I'll say 'ok'.  I cry all the time. Many times it is from grief, I have lost too many people in my life lately, and crying at least for me, is good.  But the depression, the voice, the feeling, the dead feeling, the non feeling, the looking around my life and seeing waste is NOT OKAY. And it is NOT ME. 

I am sure if I had a different family, parents who knew how to show their love, parents who didn't neglect and abuse us, siblings who didn't abuse each other, yeah maybe, my life would be different. But, I was also born into the world with NO pachyderm, no outer skin to protect me. A vulnerable little girl who only wanted to be loved. The depression developed from nature and nurture but at this point, it is all one big melting pot of messiness. Pretending I am not depressed does not help, and beating myself up for being depressed DEFINITELY does not help. This disease is not me and yet, it is OF me. 

 

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On 11/12/2018 at 12:32 AM, Stephielove77 said:

I listen to a lot of depression related podcasts, Mental Illness Happy Hour, Hilarious World of Depression, Mentally Chill, I find them helpful to cope and not so isolated. I too am 41 year old loser who can’t take care of herself....but if that were entirely true perhaps I wouldn’t be here. I’m able to type. I can read the message board. I remember watching that Ted Talk with that guy with no arms and no legs and beating myself up for it. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t beat myself up anymore. I can’t afford to. I don’t want to spend the next forty years of my life like this. If I have to go inpatient mental facility then that’s what I’ll do. 

@Stephielove77  Thank you for posting these. I will check them out myself. I have many of the same sentiments. I need to figure out more ways to stamp out the voice....CBT doesn't work (CBT feels like just reading someone else's "script", it's not authentic I don't feel it nor can i believe the positive reinforcement).

That TedTalk from the parapalegic guy also triggered me to blame myself for my mental illness & beat myself up. It was such an amazing, inspiring story - why did it make me feel so sh**ty? I have been trying everything to help myself for half my life now. Why can't I just give myself a break? I can't live like this anymore, I'll end up inpatient also.

 

On 11/6/2018 at 12:29 AM, CeremonyNewOrder said:

I had lots of friends and was social from preschool to high school. A year or so after high school, I had my first episode and also developed very strong social anxiety. For me the hardest part is when people ask me what I do for a living? I finally found the courage to say I'm disabled but then they said with what? or you don't look disabled....work is so holy in American society that you are severely judged if you don't work. But I've found a space in which to practice being more social. I attend meditation groups and go on retreats and that way I'm interacting with other people without having to socialize the whole time. The studies on the health effects of loneliness have scared me and I'm trying to gently push myself. 

 

@CeremonyNewOrderI can relate so much to the job trigger. I am a high-functioning depressive with anxiety (although bad recurring episodes render me completely disabled, unable to work). I don't want people's pity, sympathy or "special accommodations." Having a mental illness related disability is often worse than physical. It's completely stigmatized and invisible to others. No visible signs, cast, no wheelchair, no bald head like when you have a broken bone or cancer.There's no bus driver that's going to lower the door & clear the way for you, no clerk to lift a heavy grocery bag,  No concerned attentive colleague asking "how are you feeling/ how's is your energy after that treatment?" like a chemo patient.

 No recruiter, supervisor or boss is gonna give you a break either. Don't even think about mentioning you need help or are struggling with suicidal thoughts. They'll take mental note of that and find sneaky ways to push you out......Huge liability and now we have Trump-land thinking "the increase in shootings is only due to the mentally ill" You are completely on your own in your illness, except a therapist/psychiatrist (if you can afford either).

I never disclose my disability in school or work . Must hide it....but there are times were I needed to go inpatient, i stopped working because of severe episodes, I'm getting older, and over time it's getting harder and harder to get back into the job market. I have large gaps on my CV now and must lie about them, because what employer or supervisor is willing to hire or support someone with a mental illness? Errrrr No one!!!!! Red flag!!

True, in the US the first thing everyone asks about is "What do you do/where do you work?" Work is pretty much the be all end all of one's identity... You are looked at as either lazy or incompetent if you don't work. Sad.

 

Edited by Blahblah
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