How Do I Deal with Loneliness?

Dear GoodTherapy,

My life is a sad state of affairs. I have no real friends to speak of, just my cat Lula. Even she doesn’t like me very much. I can’t work because of a disability. I basically sit at home all day eating myself a little closer to irreversible depression and eventual death.

This is no way to live, but it’s all I’ve got. I used to rationalize that being alone was okay because I’m an introvert, but that’s dumb. Introverts need love and socializing too. I have nothing! I feel so lonely.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect me to go out and make a bunch of friends. I’m ugly, not very interesting, and I’m not easy to get close to. I don’t let people in. Not sure why, I just never have. So then the question becomes, how do I accept my life for what it is? Is it as simple as no longer judging it as meaningless and empty? Please help me stop feeling so alone. —Only the Lonely

Dear Lonely,

I hear your very real sadness coming through. Thank you for reaching out. I am actually hearing two different questions in your message—how do I accept my life as it is, and how do I change it to be less lonely?

I recommend you start by finding a therapist in your area. I hear a lot of negative self-talk and negative self-concept in your message. Finding a way to appreciate what you have to offer yourself and the world around you will be an important first step. Your comment about not letting people in—and that you never have—lets me know the work really begins there in understanding what about connecting with others is scary for you.

I hear a lot of negative self-talk and negative self-concept in your message. Finding a way to appreciate what you have to offer yourself and the world around you will be an important first step.

You also mention not wanting to judge your life as “meaningless and empty.” I agree this is an important goal! Feeling a sense of purpose is essential to long-term well-being. That purpose can be localized or it can be on a broader scale, but feeling that we matter, that we have an impact, that we have a reason for being here is important. You are not alone in struggling to find purpose. Again, working with someone to explore what is meaningful to you will be important.

You are right: introverts need connection too. It is up to you, though, what connection looks like. I have known people who had many friends and were very social and still felt extremely lonely. Meaningful connection with self, with others, and with the world around us can help reduce feelings of loneliness. I encourage you to start that journey by finding someone who can help you work on a meaningful connection to yourself, one in which you feel more accepting of who you are. From there, you can explore how to connect with others.

Best of luck,

Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC

Erika Myers
Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC is a licensed psychotherapist and former educator specializing in working with families in transition (often due to separation or divorce) as well as individuals seeking support with relationship issues, parenting, depression, anxiety, grief/loss/bereavement, and managing major life changes. Although her theoretical orientation is eclectic, she most frequently uses a person-centered, strengths-based approach and cognitive behavioral therapy in her practice.
  • 4 comments
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  • Lisa L

    Lisa L

    September 26th, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Introverts are so misunderstood. Introversion does not = antisocial!!

  • Leelou

    Leelou

    December 29th, 2018 at 7:02 PM

    I too have struggled with loneliness and one of the things that has helped me is getting onto Secondlife. It is an online social site that you create an avatar and that avatar socializes with other avatars/people online. It is kind of like a chat room that has avatars. It is helping me hon my skills at interacting with people. I have never been one for small talk and this makes it hard for me to break the ice and move towards developing a friendship. But Second Life has helped me to become more comfortable with my socialization skills. It is not for everyone but it might be a place to start…and you don’t even have to leave you home.

  • Annalee w.

    Annalee w.

    November 9th, 2019 at 6:01 PM

    Thank you for trying to help me.Did you only send this to me?Love you💘🌹🌼

  • Debra

    Debra

    April 23rd, 2019 at 3:59 PM

    Hi Sweetie,
    I’m disabled and went through a very bad divorce and I’m on a fixed income of spousal support. I removed myself from my previous acquaintances because my life style changed so much and my friends have slowly been moving from the area out of state and my youngest child has gone off to college leaving me with her cat and I’m very much alone. My disability was caused by a doctor, the anesthesiologist injured my spinal cord and then it was covered up for eleven years while I endured many tests always feeling like my life force or energy was leaving me and unfortunately I was right. I live my life dealing with pain and loss of strength and energy. That being said, I refuse to give in! I get down and depressed often about the things I can’t change, but if I give up and don’t fight for my life I’ll surely die and if not in body then in spirit and then what’s the point? My life is a struggle probably like yours, but it’s the only life I’m going to get. I make sure that the food I eat is good for my body and indulge here and there, but for the most part I believe my body is a temple and I try to teach my brain to grow and make an effort not to let my body grow. Extra weight causes more pain and discomfort so it behooves me to keep my weight under control. I think that’s what it’s about sweetie, what you have control over…apply! Focus instead on what you can do because I guarantee you there is someone who’s in a worse place and wishing they were as functional as you are. There are people who are dying every day who want to live and you have the most precious thing…life! Can you improve your quality of life? Do you want to? You can see a therapist as recommended and I agree, but it’s up to you. A therapist can’t do the work for you so there only as good as you allow them to be. You get to decide, change to make your life more worthwhile or continue to die a slow death. I choose life, I choose to apply myself by learning how to deal with my pain and dysfunction because no body cares about me more than I do. Believe me I was screwed over by doctors and hospitals etc… lost really badly in my divorce and my sense of well being has been challenged on all levels so I relate to you in your situation. It’s a daily process of getting up in what ever capacity you can, I wake in intense pain every day of my life, but I’m always glad to wake up. You can be too, just try to change how you view your life and the work you have to do to change it. It’s baby steps and before you know it life will have improved. You will most likely be who you once were, but with the right focus you can be better than you ever were. Life is precious!

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