“Do you understand what it means to be truly lonely?
True loneliness occurs in this world when you’re in a room full of people, and you still feel so empty inside.
When you live in a house full of people, yet you don’t know how to communicate with any of them, even when they speak the same language as you.
When you are outside, and cannot feel completely comfortable, ever, because you’re not enclosed any more.
True loneliness is when you’ve had just about as much isolation as you can stand, yet you can still take more, even though it’s killing you.
Loneliness is when you’ve cut everyone off from your life because you feel that you do not deserve them…you’ll only let them down, with your loneliness.
When you become so isolated that you feel almost as though you’re trapped inside a huge cube of ice, but instead of melting, it just stays frozen solid.
It is when you feel so trapped inside of yourself that you can hardly breath, and every time you do, you feel as though you’re going to die from the effort.
When you finally realise that days have passed, and you have no recollection of what time it is, nor the desire to find out – it doesn’t matter.
You curl yourself away in the tiniest fetus ball that you can humanly manage, but don’t know what you’re really hiding from.
When you refuse to answer the door or the telephone, even though you crave attention and human contact.
When you become so lonely that you worry constantly about whether or not other people even notice you anymore, or if you’ve just faded away.
When sounds, food and images that used to bring you joy don’t even do their job any more, they just make you feel worse.
The feeling that this will never get any better, and this is as good as it possibly gets.
People will tell you to “get over it” and “just do it”, but they do not understand that for some reason or another you can’t!”
For me, Loneliness has been there from day one really. I can remember my first day of school, and how my mother tried to convince me that it “didn’t matter if I had friends or not”, little did I know, she was probably psychologically pre-conditioning me for what was to happen.
Throughout primary school I struggled to fit in, but it was OK, because it didn’t matter that I had no friends and that nobody understood me, right?
I had perhaps one-two friends in primary school, but we were constantly “breaking up” over things I would say or do that would usually piss them off, so I made it a bit of a mission to not really bother trying to fit in any more.
By the time I reached intermediate and high school, I was friendless and although lonely, comfortable with it to some degree. I was labelled at school as a significant outcast, because I did not like Madonna, The Proclaimers, and New Kids on the Block (which was what everyone so greedily seemed to be lapping up at time time!). Instead, I loved horror films, and listened to Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, and W.a.s.p (among others).
Music and films asides, I thought differently to anyone else I encountered too, I had different ideas and ways of doing things that others seemed to not understand or communicate well with. Other people seemed to find me “odd” or “Strange” and I was labelled as an outcast almost immediately. People avoided me like the plague, and I was beginning to feel that what my mother had told me all those years ago was finally actually coming true – it didn’t matter if I had friends or not”.
Humans are (by nature) considered social animals, and therefore it should have been easier for me to socialise, shouldn’t it? But instead of putting myself out, I withdrew within and became a very internally depressed and sad 13-year-old.
I carried a lot of those feelings into mid-adolescence and became increasingly more dependent on my own company, I noticed that even though I was (to a degree) comfortable with my own company, I still craved attention and acceptance from others, I just never got it, that’s all.
Acting out to obtain that attention or acceptance has not served me well, and has usually resulted in more people deserting me (which in turn results in me feeling worse than I did before!), but I think that I have somewhat made a certain degree of “peace” with my loneliness as a whole.
I am not a psychologist, so I cannot comment from a psychologically-minded point of view, I can only comment from a human experience point – but it is my understanding that had I had the proper nurturing and been encouraged correctly to engage in contact with other humans as a child, then perhaps I would not have such trouble doing so now.
My family is surrounded in secret, right from their earliest roots, but in choosing to break their secrecy (or at least my own), I think that I have somehow made peace with some of my inner turmoil. Sure, I am probably lonelier now than I have ever been, but it’s become somewhat or a normality for me to not have personal interactions with people. However, I do still crave these things, as we all do, and hope that someday I may know what it is like to experience true “normal” life.
What is normal, anyhow? I have never been one to conform to normality, but I have often noticed others doing so, reaching for the newest fads with eager hands, and wanting to “be like everyone else”. I just want to be stable, happy and surrounded by caring people who I can connect properly with – I am proud of most of my “differences” and unique tastes in many different things. Sharing them with others (or at least being on an even level of understanding with others) is a dream, but it may never come true – I have accepted this now.
Taking the sting out of my loneliness came about by just accepting it as loneliness and that it may not ever change. I am, of course, open to it changing, but I am also mindful that it possibly never will.
Am I ok with that? Not really, but it is reality, and I can handle it sometimes.
It is when I cannot handle it that it becomes unbearable and I cannot communicate those feelings to anybody, because they simply do not understand that the inner turmoil associated with over 30 years of social isolation and loneliness simply cannot be measured by someone unless they have indeed experienced it themselves. The feelings associated with this are intense, painful and sometimes last for months and months at a time.
You see, all the rest is just a facade – it is indeed me holding all of that loneliness and isolation down inside myself and pretending to not let it show. I have become very good at this, and if I was an actor, I would have won an Oscar for my performance every year for the past 30. Other people have commented on me “presenting as well”, but that is because I have convinced them of that – I have no idea how to communicate my inner turmoil, because I never learnt how to do that, and learning something new as an adult is actually much harder than what you would initially imagine.
I have accepted that people are not see-through, so how are clinicians and people who are “supposed to help us” supposed to know the inner turmoil which I suffer with? Why do they assume that people are not hiding their true emotions? Would it not be better practice if they were trained to notice some of the tell-tale signs?
Despite the numerous “psychological tests” disclosing that I have BPD and suffer from a lot of the symptoms, I have been told numerous times that I “cope well” or at least “seem to”. Really?? They do not live with me when shit gets bad, they don’t have to hear and see the turmoil which envelopes on a daily basis.
I think that my pre-conditioning has caused immense emotional damage on me as an adult, making it hard for me to express my emotions, but easier for me to hide the, from people.
I guess what I am trying to say here is:
Don’t pre-condition your kids, don’t try to force them to conform to an idea – encourage them and let them live, learn and berate on their own.
Don’t have secrets in your life which you force and pass down to your children, it’s not easy for a child to take secrets into their life and carry them through adulthood.
Don’t make excuses for your mistakes, own them and explain the reasons behind why you screwed up. Doing this will warrant acceptance and forgiveness from others.
If you’re a clinician, be open-minded to the idea that not everything is as it seems with BPD – we are very good at expressing our emotions, but also extremely good at masking them.
For now, I am (as I said) somewhat accepting of my loneliness, yet I welcome good, accepting people into my life who are patient, and willing to learn. I cannot always promise that it will be easy with me, but if you stick around I guarantee you will learn something!