Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To Come Right to the Point...

... I have really been struggling lately. Spirit Week was great, and I went from there straight into a fun weekend at Disneyland to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday. I came back Monday exhausted and looking forward to a week off school. But by Wednesday I was already wishing the break just didn't exist. It's not that I didn't enjoy being able to sleep in everyday and catch up on the outbreak of a deadly toxin in General Hospital - that was great, actually. It's just that once work moved aside for a moment - once it wasn't at the forefront of my mind blocking anything else I might possibly think about - I got to take a good look at the rest of my life. And I realized that it is empty and miserable.

I've talked about it before, I know, the overwhelming loneliness, the fact that my work takes over my life and leaves me feeling isolated and bereft, but it's back more strongly now. I feel like I have nothing in my life except work, and that makes time away from work pretty devastating. Sure, I force myself out of the house (most) Monday evenings for dance rehearsal, but that's a brief distraction at best. And outside of that, my life consists of school and home, with an occasional stop for Starbucks in between.

Part of this, yes, is wanting a boyfriend. A boyfriend to someday become a husband. A husband to someday become the father of my children. I am not a fan of the single life: I'm a homebody by nature, but I like staying in and watching TV or reading books with other people. Being alone every. single. night. gets very old after a while. Plus, the longer I go without a boyfriend, the more worried I get - what if I really never meet the right guy? What if I'm alone forever? "You won't be," you say. But what if I am? Or what if when I finally meet the right guy I'm too old for us to start a family? I would be devastated. These fears can really only be alleviated with time, by eventually getting a boyfriend, getting married, and proving them wrong. But my current situation doesn't really make that possible.

The more general issue here, though, is that I want to share my life with someone. You may think this is just another way of saying, "I want to get married," but it's not. It's bigger than that, and doesn't require a romantic relationship. I want someone who's always around at the end of the day, when I need to vent about work. I want someone at hand for when I get a craving for Denny's for dinner, so that I don't have to get a table for one. I want someone to come with me when I go for walks on the weekend. I want someone who'll sit beside me at church every Sunday. I just want to know someone's there.

It's not like no one is there - I do have friends. Tpiglette, for example, is wonderful (and celebrating a birthday today), but she's married. She can certainly spend time with me and eat meals with me and hang out with me and go shopping with me... as long as it's once in a while. But it's not like we can live together and spend all our free time together - I imagine her husband would feel quite put out. I don't have all that many other close friends besides Tpiglette, and those I do have don't really have the time or inclination to be my full-time partner-in-crime anyway. I used to live with a best friend who shared my life with me, but the friendship ended and I moved in with strangers, and I haven't been able to fill the gap that relationship left behind.

I've been feeling so down about this lately - really despairing and wretched, crying relatively often. And I admit that I'm beginning to wonder if I need to go back to my meds. Yes, I went off my meds, but no, not cold turkey this time, and not even all that recently. I started tapering off quite some time ago, and have been completely off my antidepressents for a couple months now. I don't want to feel like anytime I'm sad it's because I'm not taking pills, but I also don't want to feel like being off pills puts me at risk for hopelessness every time I have a spare moment to consider the imperfections of my life. I just can't seem to shake this unhappiness, and there's always the risk that finding someone to share my life won't even help me break out of it. If it *does* help me out of it, then should I always fear what will happen to me if that person is gone again?

I'm wondering if I should make an appointment with a psychiatrist (can't go to my old one because she closed her practice to pursue other professional opportunities) to talk about this stuff and get some advice. I don't want to wait too long and fall apart completely - too many people count on me for me to let that happen. I'm totally unmotivated to do anything right now, though, including make appointments, no matter how much I might think I need them.

I just want the bad feelings to go away. Can't they just go away?


Anonymous said...

*sniff sniff* Sorry you're feeling bad.

Anonymous said...


Mandy Sue said...

I don't have any long term ideas...but I have a few things that *may* pick up your mood.
1. Have you considered doing the Grace in Small Things challenge? I find it to be a good, quick way to remind myself that not all of my life sucks. Even if I forget some days, it's really good for the days when it feels like the walls are going to come crumbling down, because I can look at old posts.
2. Listen to "Right Round" by Flo-Rida and get up and dance! (Seriously, awesome remix)
3. I don't know if you have faith in God or not, so if you don't you can take this with a grain of salt. When I am feeling lonely, I remind myself that God sacrificed His Son so that we could have a permanent companion. We are never alone.

Lisa said...

I can't pretend to know where you are and what you are going write so beautifully here and share your feelings so openly but I am sure there is more that you aren't sharing and aren't saying...
Maybe this won't help but what I can tell you is that I am married with a child and yes, it is an amazing blessing and one I am grateful for every day of my life....but it isn't any easier than it was when I was where you are. (And I was alone, with nothing but work to keep me busy, no boyfriend, no romantic interests....) In fact, it might even be harder because now there is never time to be alone, to have down time, to take a break and get out a good cry, or read a good book, or watch a T.V. show uninterrupted. I'm not telling you this to make you feel bad (sorry if I did!) but I'm telling you this so you know that the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side. Getting those things you want so badly might not make a difference....and then what? I always believed that the reason I could get married was because I reached a point in my life and I looked ahead to my future alone. Living alone, working, not having someone to share that with....and I looked at that future which seemed really bleak for so long and realized that if I had to do it, I could. It made me sad, but I realized I could do it. Finding that answer, finding that strength I didn't know I had somehow made me ready to be with someone for the rest of my life.....
I'm probably not helping you....I know I don't know you either so you are probably not appreciating all of this advice!
I so admire you for your strength and your courage and your honesty. Hang in there....

Still Jill B said...

Hey Babe,

Just listening, mostly, but I want to put it out there in clear language - yes, you should find someone to go talk to sooner than later.
There, Now you've heard it. Remember it.
(and remember you ARE loved, even when we don't see you much).

Maggie said...

I'm sorry that you're having a rough time. Try to hang in there -- and like others said, you should find someone to talk can only help!

Good luck - we'll be thinking of you!

Ashley // Our Little Apartment said...

I have so much to say, and am having trouble figuring out how to say it.

I know you won't believe, since I'm married - but I'm so much like you.

Such a homebody, needing a partner in crime, wanting that person at the end of the day whom I share EVERYTHING with.

I found that. But if I hadn't...I'd be writing exactly this. My heart goes out to you. :( This is hard stuff.

Rowyn said...

I'm so sorry to hear you've been feeling isolated and empty. I've been through periods like that, and there's no quick and easy solution. Having never been on medications, I have no experience with their role, but it does seem like it'd be worth making an appointment to talk to someone, especially if feel like you don't have close friends to talk to, which are often my first choice in situations like that.

That thought of always being alone, of never having someone to share your life with *is* scary, but hopefully you can see that you have been loved, and are lovable, and are likely to find a loving companion again. Still, I know how hard it is to have that perspective, and the past is often poor consolation because it shows as much what didn't happen as what did.

It's hard to try to cultivate friendships when you're down on yourself and not motivated to do anything, but a little effort could go a long way. If you have friends you haven't seen in a while or don't know as well, you might be surprised who'd be delighted by an invitation to get coffee some time. I know we don't know each other well, but I know you're funny and thoughtful and caring and are someone I'd be happy to get to know better. Who knows who else is out there thinking the same thing.

Anonymous said...

wow, i thought i was going to have something helpful to say, but believe it or not everyone has already said exactly the same things but much more gracefully. it was nice to see you smile at me at vball! :)

1) You're not alone. Really, the only benefit of having a boyfriend is regular sex. They're obliged to listen to you and do everything with you. Blah. To be surrounded by friends who choose to spend their meager spare time with you is an awesome blessing. Don't feel like you have to be alone, that you are forced to be alone because there is no one there - you need to find the strength within yourself to stand on your own, and call your friends when you need someone to be there with you. they are willing and able to support you in your hour of weakness - that's what makes them friends.

2) I miss being alone. There's pressure that comes with always being with someone, even if they're wonderful. You feel like you have to always be fascinating, that you have to entertain, be interesting, put on a show - even the days you're feeling boring and uncool, because if you're not cool enough he won't stay with you. When I'm alone, I can do whatever I want, without judgment from anyone else. If I want to eat six gooey cookies, I can. If I want to spend three hours photographing the same flower, I can. If I want to deliberately listen to the exact same song over and over so that I can memorize the exact pitch, intonation, and tone, I can. I loved being single, and as much as I love my boyfriend, I would be thrilled to embrace that lifestyle again. Try to keep in mind that there are always two sides to each story, and that each side is valuable, necessary, and meaningful in its own way.

3) Now, the one perhaps constructive suggestion I have is: find a simple hobby that you can do on your own that brings you pleasure. Something like cooking, photographing, decorating, working out, etc. Cultivate those skills, and you'll soon find that you always have something to occupy your time :) (PS It's better if it doesn't allow introspection - reading = bad! shopping = bad! sweaty, complicated athletic activity = awesome! for example, my newest favorite thing is circus school!)

i often feel out of place, because all my very close friends are older than I am, with long term relationships if not a marriage. so at least once a month, I try to hang out with my younger friends - the ones who are still single, getting wasted every weekend, or making irresponsible choices. It helps keep me from taking myself too seriously, and balances my perspective.

Marcus Aurelius said...

Hi, haven't really showed my face around here since Conversations bit the dust.

Quite a while back, I met up with you downtown SJ for a cup of coffee and a sandwich. You'd been having a tough stretch similar to the one you're having now. I thought I'd try to reach out to you and make a new friend if possible.

When I met you, you'd been off of your meds for a week.

You had this aura of dread about you. You didn't really even try to smile. It made me feel like you expected me to murder you or something. It was a little bit unnerving.

You took the train not because you like taking the train, but because you hate driving. For the most part, you dislike travel because you get nervous in unfamiliar places. You hate sushi because the smell of cucumber makes you want to stab someone. You seem to like dancing, but it fucking hurts and the shoes are torture devices. As far as I could tell, you hate everything and you never, ever smile.

Now the sample size here is one, so take this with a grain of salt, but if that's what you get like when you're down, then I'm not too surprised that you feel so isolated.

You seem like a bit of a perfectionist-- you'd rather not do something than half-ass it.

But when dealing with interpersonal relationships, having the courage to put forth the effort when the result will not be even close to perfect is what matters. How successful you end up being in the end is completely and utterly irrelevant.

You know what? A week or so ago I went to IHOP for dinner. I had some eggs, hash browns, pancakes, a pot of decaf, and read the paper. Even though I was a little bit lonely and stressed out from work, I went and tried to smile. Why? Because one day there may be my someone else sitting in there trying with all their might to smile back at me.

And if not, if I never meet another soul, if I die alone and unloved, then I'll at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I did what I could with what I have, and that it never could have been any different.

"Why are you so fearful? Have you still no faith?" Mark 4:40

Anonymous said...

I love being a homebody. Call some time and let's homebody! =)

But beyond that, I think that the questions you're asking about your medications are good questions and deserve answers from a professional. This doesn't mean that the answer is necessarily to go back on them, but that you are asking important questions and you should get some informed opinions as to the answers. If you contact your previous doctor she can most likely recommend a new doc. If you had/have a therapist that you like and trust then that would also be a good person to ask.

Hang in there. You rock and we love you.

BetteJo said...

I've said it before, I will never go off my meds by choice. I have tapered, I have done it cold turkey, I have tried different meds and it is always with the same result. The gradual sadness underlying everything creeps back in. I have given up thinking I can do without them and am at total peace with that. But you are much younger than me and obviously we all have different body chemistries.

Still, now, I always wonder why people choose to go off their meds. Is it because they just don't want to take medications, foreign stuff in the body kind of thing?
Is it because they think they are living artificially on meds?
Do they want to check every now and then to see if they don't need them anymore? Would it be so bad if you needed them the rest of your life like a diabetic needs insulin? What's the difference?

I hope you do find someone to talk to. I think everyone can benefit with some therapy now and then. It can only help you figure out what you need and maybe even what you want. Hope it's soon.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lara,
I remember when I was 27 (I'm 38 now), I went to a college friend's wedding and shared my longing for a boyfriend/life partner with a guy friend. He'd been unlucky in love like me in college, but at the time had started dating the woman he's now married to. His advice to me was, "don't worry, it will happen" and mentioned people he know who had found each other when they were 40. My reaction (of course) was "I don't want to wait until I'm 40 to meet my soulmate!!" I was lonely and already had such a longing for someone to share my life with.

I think of that exchange now and can find the humor in it, because I am still waiting to meet that life partner, and probably could have saved myself a lot of angst if I hadn't worried so much about it over the years. I say this NOT to discourage you, but to share what I've learned about myself (and what I might have done differently) in hopes that it might help.

To begin with, a little context: I am a homebody, introspective, and a perfectionist. I know that I have SO MUCH inside of me to share and very few people to share it with, and this still brings me to tears when I stop and dwell on it. I dislike superficial situations. I have high standards. I'd still rather spend time on my own than spend it with people who don't "get" me.

Anyway, in my teens and 20's I reacted to the loneliness by asking "what's wrong with me," "what am I doing wrong" and "why am I so unlovable"? I can say with authority that if you're tempted to go down this path, DON'T! It's a dead end...and it's not until recently that I've been able to actually start deconstructing this self-criticism and addressing all of the extra pain it's created in my life. I wish that instead of turning on myself, that I had learned earlier to TRUST myself and to recognize that that there was nothing "wrong". I've always needed and wanted to forge my own path, but then too often I've hobbled myself through self-doubt and envy of other people who seem to have it "easy". Which is just an illusion of course- we can't expect life to be easy.

The best advice I can give is to sincerely focus on nurturing yourself. You know the drill: Talk to a therapist. Eat healthy. Exercise. Get sleep. Reach out to friends. Like someone else mentioned, get involved in hobbies or activities, but do it for yourself, not just to "meet new people". Keep taking risks, at least small ones- I know when I feel fragile I tend to let my "comfort zone" shrink.

Your teaching job has required a huge amount of time and energy so far, but it won't always be this way. In time your life will be more balanced again, and will be more the richer for the sacrifices you are making (and rewards you are gaining) right now. From everything you've shared in this site, it's obvious that you're an incredible person-- wise, caring, funny, deep, smart, sincere. You are already well-traveled along "life's journey"; keep true to yourself, and the things you seek will come into your life.

(currently attempting to "walk my talk"!)

Clair said...

Sending hugs and good thoughts your way. Could you contact your former doc and find out if she'd recommend anybody you could talk to?

Marcy said...

I recommend counseling, from what you present in your blog. Although you don't know me from Eve, I've experienced the things you are experiencing. Counseling would help.

Be well. :)

Saffa Chick said...

Wow, that's some good advice there in the comments! Even the one who seems to be ripping you apart probably had a good point...

All I can say is that what you feel is perfectly normal. I don't get depression, but I've had the lonely "I need someone" blues at times in my life. Especially in my 20s.

It's going to sound trite, but you have to like yourself before people will like you. Once you are happy being alone boyfriends (and girly friends) all come clamouring out of the woodwork, trying to bask in your glow.

I'd say get a some solitary hobbies if you don't have the time and energy for group hobbies. Jigsaws and sketching are my favourite solo hobbies - while listening to audio books so that your head doesn't dwell on the bad while your hads are busy. Maybe join a walking club to get you out on the weekend.

By all means chat to a therapist, but just hang on to the fact that EVERYONE goes through the lonelies. You are quite normal ;-)

Teacha said...

((((Hugs))) I know your pain. Can't offer any solutions. You're in my thoughts (((Hugs)))

Britt said...

Hi there-

I just found your blog today and you're thoughts are scarily like mine right now, especially in this specific post. I am a first year teacher and the job is completely consuming my life. I love it at times and completely hate it at times. I just wanted you to know you're not alone. Thanks for posting your true feelings and thoughts.