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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    How Can I Cope With Feeling So Lonely and Depressed?

    Dear eNotAlone: I had a really rough childhood, growing up with a single mother and an absent father, who was never really around. I never really had a stable family life. I had to go to school and do a lot of things by myself, while constantly worrying about money.

    I recently graduated college, but even after all the time that passed, I still feel like I'm standing in the same place. All the hard work and dedication paid off but I still feel unfulfilled and depressed.

    I know it might sound silly, especially considering how much I've been through, but I just feel lonely. Even when I hang out with friends, I still feel like something is missing. It's like there's an empty void in me. It's like no matter what I do, no matter who I talk to, I'm still a solitary figure, unable to connect with anyone.

    It's taking a toll on my mental health and I'm starting to feel really down. I don't know what to do anymore. How can I cope with feeling so lonely and depressed?

    * * *

    It's understandable that you may be feeling sad and lonely after such an emotionally taxing experience growing up. It sounds like you may be yearning for meaningful connections in your life, and this is an incredibly valid need to have.

    Firstly, it's important to recognize that loneliness is a common emotion ― everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. That being said, it's also essential to take steps towards managing these feelings of loneliness so that you can continue living your life as optimally as possible.

    One thing you can try is to become actively involved in communities or activities that can nourish and sustain you. When we make meaningful connections, we're provided with a sense of belonging and self-worth that can help to mitigate feelings of loneliness. If you're unsure of what your interests are, start small and try something new every week. Whether it's joining a theatre group, reading club or fitness classes ― any activity which involves other people practicing similar interests as you can be a great way to branch out and build meaningful relationships.

    It's also important that you're practising self-care. This can involve anything from eating a healthy nutritious diet and getting into a regular exercise routine, to journaling your thoughts and talking to a therapist or loved one about how you're feeling. if it feels helpful for your mental wellbeing, consider reaching out to your father and exploring the possibility of rebuilding some sort of relationship with him. You don't have to suffer in silence. With the right support and actions, you can start to replace those solitary moments with strong connection, lasting relationships and eventually fulfilment and joy.

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