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How to avoid feeling lonely while I work on myself?


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Hello, there! Thanks for your time.

 

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (bi-polar type). The incident that led to this caused a serious physical injury as well, for which I needed multiple surgeries. So, the past few years have been about healing both physically and mentally.

 

For a while now, I haven't been content with my life. Don't get me wrong - I have many things for which to be grateful. However, I'm not happy with the person that I am. I feel, at 29 years old, that I haven't achieved anything or done anything significant. I dropped out of college, I'm not married, I don't have kids (to be honest, I'm not sure if I want them), and I don't have a career to speak of (just dead-end jobs that only pay the bills and don't leave me feeling fulfilled). In social situations, I feel out of place, like I don't have anything to contribute. To top it all off, because I had to stay off my feet for a long time due to my injury, I've developed a sedentary lifestyle and gained a lot of weight, resulting in negative esteem with my health and appearance.

 

I know that I'm not in a good place, and I've decided to hold off on getting into any more romantic relationships until I've addressed the core of my issues. I am in therapy, I bought myself an exercise bike for a low-impact workout, and I plan on going back to school starting next year. Because of reduced contact with people due to the pandemic and having to quit my job and seek disability due to chronic pain, I decided to fill some of my time with learning how to play guitar (something I've wanted to do for a long time).

 

Even though I know it'll be better for me and anyone I get involved with in the long run, I still can't help but feel lonely in the romance department. I spend a lot of time either reminiscing about past relationships or imagining a new one. It's been years since I've been with someone, even just physically (and I don't have the self-esteem/desire because of COVID to try and find something casual).

 

Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you deal with loneliness?

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I know it's challenging in covid times but is there any kind of volunteer work you can do where you interact with others even if only on zoom? I'd hold off for now given covid and your situation on romance -but connecting with people through volunteer work might help you feel more.... connected!

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I know it's challenging in covid times but is there any kind of volunteer work you can do where you interact with others even if only on zoom? I'd hold off for now given covid and your situation on romance -but connecting with people through volunteer work might help you feel more.... connected!

 

This is a good idea! Thank you. I'm sure people are still needed for volunteer jobs even through the pandemic.

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This is a good idea! Thank you. I'm sure people are still needed for volunteer jobs even through the pandemic.

 

I spent some time in the spring calling senior citizens who lived alone to check in on them because of covid and chat. Certainly that's not going to exactly address your issue because those are much older people but I also communicated with my fellow-volunteers and certainly could have done so more.

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You could mentor or help/volunteer with groups for people with disabilities or see whether there are local musical groups to join even if for socials and things on Zoom. I use these two because you having experience with both might inspire others also.

 

Romance will happen when it's supposed to happen. Never fear... you can't keep a good woman(or man) down. Enjoy the peace and solitude while you can.

 

It's good to hear that you're thinking of school again next year. There are also free courses online and plenty of info and resources you can search or look up in your area of study way before the school year starts. Why not get a head start? By the time your program starts you'd have had a good idea of what the first parts are about.

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Hi I have schizoid affective the bipolar kind as well! I’m currently like you taking time for myself before I get into a romantic relationship.

 

I think volunteering is a wonderful choice. I volunteered at an animal shelter but couldn’t anymore due to COVID.

 

If you can find some type of volunteer work during this time I think you’ll not worry so much about loneliness.

 

It’s really about keeping busy and having other support systems around you. If you have friends or family keep in contact.

 

Learning the guitar will also come in handy for occupying your time.

 

I write, so right now I’m working on a novel. That’s how I keep distracted from the loneliness.

 

Binge watch your favorite shows, that also helps me.

 

I wish you good luck and I know you’ll get through this period of time.

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@Rose Mosse - Thank you. I hadn't thought about preparing for school in that way, but I already do a bit of reading about my prospective minor. (I want to get into Computers and Tech with a secondary focus on Psychology/Ethics. Specifically, I'm interested in studying how our current technologies affect people and how to improve interpersonal communication and mental health issues stemming from things such as social media use. I also want to learn a bit about programming.)

 

@limichelle - Ah! I haven't actually met anyone with the same diagnosis, so hi, mental health twinsie! Thanks for your perspective. What are you writing about?

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@Rose Mosse - Thank you. I hadn't thought about preparing for school in that way, but I already do a bit of reading about my prospective minor. (I want to get into Computers and Tech with a secondary focus on Psychology/Ethics. Specifically, I'm interested in studying how our current technologies affect people and how to improve interpersonal communication and mental health issues stemming from things such as social media use. I also want to learn a bit about programming.)

 

@limichelle - Ah! I haven't actually met anyone with the same diagnosis, so hi, mental health twinsie! Thanks for your perspective. What are you writing about?

 

Those are interesting fields of study! Have you researched what kinds of jobs are out there that combine those interests?

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@Batya33 - I haven't. My goal is to work on the "technical" aspect first, getting familiar with systems and programming and all that. The Psychology/Ethics part will come in later, when I have a good understanding of what makes up a network.

 

I see - sounds interesting! When I started working there was no internet, no real cell phone use. So I've gone through a lot of technological changes since I graduated college and then grad school in the 80s/90s. Thing is it's still changing so I would think that that if the coursework focused on specific technologies it would soon become obsolete.

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I found it helpful to try to identify anything that someone else can give to me that I cannot give to my Self.

 

If you find yourself believing that you cannot be your own best friend and lover, challenge that idea until you can make a better and more favorable decision about it.

 

Head high, and keep up your great healing work!

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In your state at this time, I suggest you do not think on taking on even a 'casual' involvement.. that can make you no better.

 

Is good though that you are doing therapy, considering some schooling and music.. is good for the soul.

 

You NEED to keep focus on YOU- and only you for a while. Keep working on improvement and getting better.

 

Even if you have one or two friends to hang with, is helpful... you can also try a craft - to keep busy? - work in animal shelter?

I have made jams, I crochet ( learned from youtube) and want to make a quilt someday.

 

Try to give yourself credit for all you're doing right now.. you are trying :)

 

And also make sure you do get your sleep & eat well- both of those are factors - to go with your 'self care'.

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@Batya33 - Yeah, I was growing up when Internet usage and cell phones blew up. It's really interesting to me how communication has changed. I watched a documentary called The Social Dilemma which put me on the path of getting Ethics in the mix.

 

Yes I heard about it! Certainly learning for learning's sake is a wonderful thing - was just wondering if you contemplated using it to get a particular kind of job.

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All of these suggestions sound good. One thing though, filling voids with others does distract from the self healing. The whole reason you are not actively looking for a relationship is because you want to heal yourself.

 

I don't mean to discourage you from being around people or trying to in this pandemic.we do need to be with others for our own well being. I just mean, self love and healing is about listening to yourself and your needs. Learning to do for yourself in a responsible and respectful way.

 

My advice is to focus on nutrition, nurturing your body and mind, spending time outside (even if just by the window). It's what you eat, drink, read, watch, how you spend your time... making time to sit with yourself. Allowing space in your life to get to the deep thoughts, feelings, wants and desires will point you towards who you want to be as a person and once you have that, you can start to determine the actions to take.

 

You, alone, on your own is enough. ❤

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All of these suggestions sound good. One thing though, filling voids with others does distract from the self healing. The whole reason you are not actively looking for a relationship is because you want to heal yourself.

 

I don't mean to discourage you from being around people or trying to in this pandemic.we do need to be with others for our own well being. I just mean, self love and healing is about listening to yourself and your needs. Learning to do for yourself in a responsible and respectful way.

 

My advice is to focus on nutrition, nurturing your body and mind, spending time outside (even if just by the window). It's what you eat, drink, read, watch, how you spend your time... making time to sit with yourself. Allowing space in your life to get to the deep thoughts, feelings, wants and desires will point you towards who you want to be as a person and once you have that, you can start to determine the actions to take.

 

You, alone, on your own is enough. ❤

 

For me at least the deepest thoughts come when I am acting in giving ways and interacting with others especially in a natural, positive environment. Small and big ways. I say good morning to a guy on my jogging oval every morning I see him which is at least 3-4 of the 7 days a week I am there. When my son was a baby in the stroller on the same oval we saw him and would chat briefly with him. That was 10 years ago and because of covid I am now working out outside and see him.

 

Even though I'm with my family I feel more needy these days for human interaction because of covid and because of the increased stress/anxiety -and to me that kind of interaction, and the volunteer work I did calling senior citizens, and messaging with new and old friends -all of that brings me out of the self-absorbed negative thoughts triggered by covid-related stuff - that's what then lets me sit with myself in a meaningful way. Those interactions -whether small kindnesses, deeper discussions, helping someone in a physical or emotional way, actively listening to someone else's stuff - that is what, to me, is essential to getting to a better place as a person. Navel-contemplation has its place for sure but those interactions is what makes the meditation/quiet breathing times that much more meaningful. IMHO.

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For me at least the deepest thoughts come when I am acting in giving ways and interacting with others especially in a natural, positive environment. Small and big ways. I say good morning to a guy on my jogging oval every morning I see him which is at least 3-4 of the 7 days a week I am there. When my son was a baby in the stroller on the same oval we saw him and would chat briefly with him. That was 10 years ago and because of covid I am now working out outside and see him.

 

Even though I'm with my family I feel more needy these days for human interaction because of covid and because of the increased stress/anxiety -and to me that kind of interaction, and the volunteer work I did calling senior citizens, and messaging with new and old friends -all of that brings me out of the self-absorbed negative thoughts triggered by covid-related stuff - that's what then lets me sit with myself in a meaningful way. Those interactions -whether small kindnesses, deeper discussions, helping someone in a physical or emotional way, actively listening to someone else's stuff - that is what, to me, is essential to getting to a better place as a person. Navel-contemplation has its place for sure but those interactions is what makes the meditation/quiet breathing times that much more meaningful. IMHO.

 

I agree B. That's why I said about needing others for our own well being. I get the impression from your posts that you are not only content with your life, you actively know/ have known what is / was best for you and were/are able to determine the how. Not sure if that's correct or not... Just from my own impression.

 

My advice is directed to help someone find that voice in themselves. It can be hard for some, myself included, to put myself first and ahead of someone else. And mine comes from a place, not of fear but of abundance.

 

Needing others all the time or placing our peace in others, even when it feels good can block out awareness of our own needs. Especially, since the OP sounds to be craving something for themselves. Being in a mind space of knowing and accepting I'm enough just because I am is a good goal that creates a good foundation for any other endeavors. When you start there, the world is your oyster.

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I agree B. That's why I said about needing others for our own well being. I get the impression from your posts that you are not only content with your life, you actively know/ have known what is / was best for you and were/are able to determine the how. Not sure if that's correct or not... Just from my own impression.

 

My advice is directed to help someone find that voice in themselves. It can be hard for some, myself included, to put myself first and ahead of someone else. And mine comes from a place, not of fear but of abundance.

 

Needing others all the time or placing our peace in others, even when it feels good can block out awareness of our own needs. Especially, since the OP sounds to be craving something for themselves. Being in a mind space of knowing and accepting I'm enough just because I am is a good goal that creates a good foundation for any other endeavors. When you start there, the world is your oyster.

 

Wrong impression entirely.

 

My advice is directed at exactly the same point. I don't want her to put herself first unless the situation warrants -not a one size fits all. I cannot always put myself first and that was true before I was a parent. I am not a fan of working on oneself unless that includes a significant component of interacting with other people in meaningful ways whether small kindnesses or otherwise. I am not a fan of using broad terms like "I am working on myself" without getting very nitty gritty and specific because if the person doesn't I find it's just a catch phrase used as an excuse to spin one's wheels and perhaps sign on to fancy self-improvement apps and read books. Apps and books also have their place. I was listening to a radio personality this morning. He is like me -back to basics -and also happens to be my age-ish. He said when he is feeling overwhelmed by stress -the stress of today -or finds that even minor stuff is getting to him he...... gets outside for a brisk walk. The end. That is not about interacting with others of course but I like the back to basics very specific approach.

 

Finding a voice in oneself to me should not be more than perhaps the very overarching mantra/broad goal unless the person is highly motivated to get down to the nitty gritty. By getting down to the nitty gritty -by acting in ways that show contribution -to another person, to a group, to a community, real, concrete actions - and by acting in ways that show you give a darn about yourself -drinking more water, brisk walking or dancing or even angry-cleaning, sleep routines that help prevent insomnia, etc - then in hindsight that voice will come -your own true authentic voice. I know -and see on Facebook -too many people who are constantly looking for and adopting the next trendy phrase or app or "self-care challenge" - and spinning their wheels and spending money they don't have, calling themselves coaches or looking for a "coach" etc.

 

Big disclaimer -none of this is to respond specifically to what you suggested. I am not saying you suggested all of this or even part of this - my post responds to your mistaken impression that I have it all together and always have, that I am always content or know what's best, etc - but much of what I wrote is unrelated to what you wrote. It's a general opinion. Its relevance to what you wrote is minor at best.

 

I think the OP can as you put it be "in a mind space of knowing and accepting I'm enough just because I am" - by being out there in the world. And then returning home or wherever it is that she spends solitary time and letting things gel naturally. Maybe with some breathing techniques or yoga (especially the breathing -4-7-8 Weil method breathing is so centering I find!) - but to me the focus should be out there in the world/back to basics.

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no offense was intended on my part. It was rather written as a compliment.

edited to add I didn't say you had it all together and always have. I said from your posts,, you seem content in your life, your choices and have the ability to know how to achieve your goals.

 

Nope not to that extent. I've worked really hard to know how to achieve each of my goals. And I work hard now on other goals -particularly those related to parenting and even more narrowly parenting during this pandemic. I am "content" for the most part and have not always been for sure. Content in quotes as it varies of course. I really do thank you kindly for the compliment and very sorry if I misunderstood.

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Nope not to that extent. I've worked really hard to know how to achieve each of my goals. And I work hard now on other goals -particularly those related to parenting and even more narrowly parenting during this pandemic. I am "content" for the most part and have not always been for sure. Content in quotes as it varies of course. I really do thank you kindly for the compliment and very sorry if I misunderstood.

 

Very true... success usually comes from hard work and there is more than one way to solve a problem.

 

Thank you for the apology and for accepting mine. 🙂

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I very much agree with Lambert's words which I think were plying at the deeper levels of self-healing and maintaining healthy self-esteem. I think this is extremely difficult in times of distress when the world's worries are clamouring at us. I can't speak for anyone else but when things were so lonely and so painful and I was dropping old ideas and realities for new ones, all I wanted at the time were familiar distractions. I wanted to find a deeper meaning to life and reached out to various associations and volunteer networks and most of all, I sought out individuals and groups that were similar to me in mind and thought. I think the ideas shared in the thread like volunteering which Batya mentioned are so helpful because it is the starting point also of where support networks and new patterns of thoughts and reconditioning happens overall before we achieve calmness, peace, quiet and a really unshakable sense of self and confidence out of all of it.

 

I know I couldn't have done it alone but I also know that eventually I had to do it alone. The support from those support networks and associations ended and I felt myself going back to my familiar independent self without the need anymore for those trainee wheels so to speak. I completely agree with focusing on nutrition too. What you put in your body affects your moods and how you feel about yourself, your energy levels throughout the day. Speak to a doctor too about developing ways to exercise (without making your injuries worse - work around them if you can).

 

Next year sounds exciting for you - mentally and intellectually. You don't have to let the few months leading to 2021 pass by without much purpose. Create a purpose for yourself even if they are small things. If you've been doing certain things a certain way, can you improve on it? It can be anything from your morning to evening routines. Is there something there that you can take a look at and change instead of going day to day and following what you did in the previous day? I like the idea of being present and mindful. I think that's where we start to feel less and less dependent on others or the need for a romantic relationship to fill parts of us that we think are lacking. All that will come in time when you least feel like you need ​the company of someone.

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I very much agree with Lambert's words which I think were plying at the deeper levels of self-healing and maintaining healthy self-esteem. I think this is extremely difficult in times of distress when the world's worries are clamouring at us. I can't speak for anyone else but when things were so lonely and so painful and I was dropping old ideas and realities for new ones, all I wanted at the time were familiar distractions. I wanted to find a deeper meaning to life and reached out to various associations and volunteer networks and most of all, I sought out individuals and groups that were similar to me in mind and thought. I think the ideas shared in the thread like volunteering which Batya mentioned are so helpful because it is the starting point also of where support networks and new patterns of thoughts and reconditioning happens overall before we achieve calmness, peace, quiet and a really unshakable sense of self and confidence out of all of it.

 

I know I couldn't have done it alone but I also know that eventually I had to do it alone. The support from those support networks and associations ended and I felt myself going back to my familiar independent self without the need anymore for those trainee wheels so to speak. I completely agree with focusing on nutrition too. What you put in your body affects your moods and how you feel about yourself, your energy levels throughout the day. Speak to a doctor too about developing ways to exercise (without making your injuries worse - work around them if you can).

 

Next year sounds exciting for you - mentally and intellectually. You don't have to let the few months leading to 2021 pass by without much purpose. Create a purpose for yourself even if they are small things. If you've been doing certain things a certain way, can you improve on it? It can be anything from your morning to evening routines. Is there something there that you can take a look at and change instead of going day to day and following what you did in the previous day? I like the idea of being present and mindful. I think that's where we start to feel less and less dependent on others or the need for a romantic relationship to fill parts of us that we think are lacking. All that will come in time when you least feel like you need ​the company of someone.

 

Agree with all of this. I had to change from working out almost exclusively indoors at our fitness room and at a specific time (right after school bus drop off at 720am) to having my son home full time and no fitness room (and, later, no safe fitness room) - so I had to go back to working out outdoors at sunrise which I do every single day. That's so minor compared to other covid-changes we had to make and, in turn, minor compared to what others are enduring -during this time in particular self-improvement is -well it seems impossible!

 

I did make a decision in March as soon as things went haywire -and this is to Rose's nutrition point - I promised myself I would not go back to the mindless nibbling I used to do -I'd broken the habit of it in July 2019 and I could see how this pandemic might get me back into my old ways -it only put a few pounds on me but made me feel icky and was the wrong way to eat. So yes nutrition and exercise -and-to me anyway -avoid getting sucked into those MLM programs or apps (but weight watchers I hear is fine/reasonable) - even if you only want to maintain weight I wholeheartedly agree with Rose's focus -pun intended since it's good for your heart.

 

You do eventually have to do it alone -but the alone part will draw on what you learned about yourself in part by interacting with others including helping others.

 

Exciting times indeed!!

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When I was younger I used to fly out of bed like a bat out of hell. Not sure why I did this. It's just the way I've always been since I can remember. I've never been a slow riser. My previous partners never understood where I had the energy. It's usually pants on, shirt on and before heading to the grocery store at 7 am, I'd already done everything most people would do in a day in thirty minutes in the house. I don't think this was a good thing and I'll explain a bit more later.

 

More recently I started waking more slowly and forcibly keeping my eyes closed to think and meditate a bit for a few minutes before starting my day. I'm sure this doesn't work for everyone. It's just a thing I've started doing. The reason for this is I'm consciously tailoring my thoughts already to how I want my day to unfold. If there are things I know I have to tackle, I've thought it through. If there are things I want to try doing differently, I have some ideas. Instead of flying out and waving about at the world like I used to I feel a lot more purposeful and collected as I move through the day. Surprises and unexpected things do happen but I've discovered anyway that I'm capable of fitting a lot into a day, a lot more than I was even able to before but conscious that I don't have to if it can be helped. Previously minor issues used to upset me and big issues were draining. I wasn't very mindful. I think for someone like me forcing myself to stay still and be more mindful or think in the mornings has helped me organize myself better and achieve a lot more than I would otherwise. This adds to self-fulfillment overall. I've started feeling a lot better about what's going on and where my life is going now than just a year ago or two years ago.

 

Not sure if this helps but it's helped me a lot. Just wanted to share.

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When I was younger I used to fly out of bed like a bat out of hell. Not sure why I did this. It's just the way I've always been since I can remember. I've never been a slow riser. My previous partners never understood where I had the energy. It's usually pants on, shirt on and before heading to the grocery store at 7 am, I'd already done everything most people would do in a day in thirty minutes in the house. I don't think this was a good thing and I'll explain a bit more later.

 

More recently I started waking more slowly and forcibly keeping my eyes closed to think and meditate a bit for a few minutes before starting my day. I'm sure this doesn't work for everyone. It's just a thing I've started doing. The reason for this is I'm consciously tailoring my thoughts already to how I want my day to unfold. If there are things I know I have to tackle, I've thought it through. If there are things I want to try doing differently, I have some ideas. Instead of flying out and waving about at the world like I used to I feel a lot more purposeful and collected as I move through the day. Surprises and unexpected things do happen but I've discovered anyway that I'm capable of fitting a lot into a day, a lot more than I was even able to before and also be a much more pleasant person while doing it. Previously minor issues used to upset me and big issues were draining. I wasn't very mindful. I think for someone like me forcing myself to stay still and be more mindful or think in the mornings has helped me organize myself better and achieve a lot more than I would otherwise. This adds to self-fulfillment overall. I've started feeling a lot better about what's going on and where my life is going now than just a year ago or two years ago.

 

Not sure if this helps but it's helped me a lot. Just wanted to share.

 

I love that and sometimes do that before bed. I can't at this point in my life because I want to get my workout out of the way before my son gets up if possible and I have limited time to get him ready for school. For me I always worry -just slightly these days -that if I don't get up right away I'll lose motivation to work out. If I wake up too early and it's not safe to go outside (in pre covid days I'd simply go down to the fitness room, sigh) then often I'll read instead of grab my phone which also feels fulfilling in the way you described!

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