Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Mobius Strip of Depression and Loneliness

It's not something I talk about much. For one, I'm generally a shy, laconic person in the best of times. Two, how do you even bring something like this up in conversation.

Person you only superficially know: "How's it going?"
Me: "Well other than being depressed and lonely, I'm alright, I guess."

Yeah, probably not. I recently came across a collection of cartoons that conveys what I often feel like in my melancholy state. This one sums up pretty well what I was just talking about.

I feel as if I'm fighting battles with myself and that I'm doing just well enough to stay afloat. Barely. Many times I feel as if I'm on the verge of losing control and spiraling down and only the thinnest thread is holding me up.

The intense loneliness I feel makes it seem that much harder to imagine a path forward. Interestingly I just ran across an interview that summed up well how I feel there too.

Another tragic example concerns lonely people. The lonely are interesting because it’s so tempting to say: "Oh, lonely people. Yeah, those are just losers, or whatever. Those are people who can't make friends." Actually, the data suggests that the vast majority of lonely people don't lack any social skills at all. It's just they found themselves in lonely situations.
You move to a new town and you don't really know anybody. How do you meet people? It's hard to meet people. The longer that persists, now the longer you've been lonely, and then ‑‑ this is the key part with the lonely and the busy and the money and the poor ‑‑ now that you're in that state, your behavior changes, and the way your behavior changes seems to keep you in that state.
It's actually about how being poor changes how people think and often leads to people making bad decisions that leave them in a continual state of poverty. A vicious cycle if you will. I know exactly how that feels. I've had more than one person give me flippant advice along the lines of "you just need to get out more" or "you just need to focus on the positive things." Yeah, if it was that easy I wouldn't have a problem, would I?

It's a struggle. Some days are worse than others. Sometimes there's a reason. Sometime's there's not. This internal struggle is what I try to keep in mind when dealing with someone I want to punch in the face. Maybe they are going through some battle with themselves too, something that no one else sees.

Of course some people may be fighting their battles, but still need a punch in the face. Either way, I'll be wrestling my own demons while I weigh the pros and cons of following through with said punch. And whether or not I go through with it, I'll still probably be feeling sad and lonely.