Stay With Me

I must admit life feels lonely these days. There are moments when the silence and wonder of it all is perfectly peaceful and there are times when it is downright painful. I realize more and more just how much I like companionship. My children are fabulous and most wonderful adventurers in life, but you know, adult companionship just provides an extra level of engagement.

It’s interesting to look back over the years, the times when social anxiety and depression were at its worst and how isolated I would become. Sometimes it wasn’t even completely apparent on the outside, but inside I would be retracted, pulled inside my own mind and gut. On the outside I would smile, on the inside I was a tear-stained face. I became afraid to go to class in college. I didn’t even want to order a pizza on the phone. I grew to be almost afraid of the mall, and I love shopping! (Now I dislike the mall for entirely different reasons… can we ban all aggressive and over-bearing shopping mall kiosk sales people, please?)

I have always been better in one-on-one settings than in groups. It is part of my personality and who I am, but I see how I have improved at socializing and enjoy it more, perhaps again, or perhaps for the first time. It was not unusual for me to completely duck out of social engagements that involved large groups of people in years past, but for the last couple, there is more of an excitement (rather than the previous dread) that surrounds the idea of a social event. I have observed myself branch out in ways that I once never imagined I would be able to do, much less enjoy. It is a significant marker of better emotional health and confidence, it is a sure sign that I have grown and feel better. I embrace this and marvel at it in moments, because the change feels quite dramatic at times.

So, here I am, ready and willing to be more social, but lacking the companionship that would make life so much richer. It can be a by-product of depression, anxiety and the like, to have fewer friendships. I am certain that I have missed out on some connections in years past because of this. The friends I do have are exceptional and truly treasured, but at times my circle feels small. As my world online has expanded exponentially, it’s still challenging to form a new off-line social community for myself when I am a “thirty-something” adult with children, especially since I don’t have a babysitter!

So, the raw truth is that I’m lonely. I am facing new challenges, holding on to hope and looking forward to good things ahead. I am staying strong (most days!) and doing my very best to be the healthiest I can be, but I crave companionship. I admit it. Does that make me a weak woman in the midst of these circumstances? I don’t think so, I think it makes me human and honest.

One of the greatest gifts in life is to know that when you are most afraid or most uncertain you have someone to reach out to, someone who might grab your hand and pull you in for hug. I am so grateful for the handful of people in my life that I can call up late at night if needed;  their gift of friendship, love and support is absolutely priceless. Those friends and family, support online and off, are most treasured to me, so if you’re reading this, please know it.

If you are lonely or need a friend, don’t hesitate to send me a message on Twitter or leave a comment here, and as soon as I am able I will make sure to let you know that you are not alone in this world. Some of the worst moments in my life have been eased and made bearable because of reaching out to a friend online and letting them know that I just need the comfort of knowing I’m not alone. We have to reach out and let others know, it’s the only way to get the comfort that we need.

If you have happened to come here reading, I ask that you stay with me if you’re able. Leave a comment, share your thoughts on experiencing loneliness in times of crisis or in day-to-day life. Have you suffered from the loneliness and isolation that comes from depression or living with chronic illness? If so, how have you coped with it and what eased the ache for you? If you, like me, have come a long way from where you once were, share that with me too. I like to rejoice with others about their triumphs. I am certainly happy to celebrate my little victories and happy to celebrate yours too!

A song that I have come to love recently is called ” Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam. I thought I would share the lyrics and the song with you. Within the lyrics you will find “stay with me” repeated a couple of times as well as the reminder to just breathe. Sometimes that is all we can do, sometimes we have to be reminded to do it! (You know what I mean if you have ever been there.)

Just Breathe

Yes I understand that every life must end, aw huh
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw huh
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love
Some folks just have one,
Others they got none, aw huh
Stay with me
Let’s just breathe.
Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win, aw huh
Under everything, just another human being, aw huh
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
To make me bleed.
Stay with me
You’re all I see.
Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see
No one knows this more than me
As I come clean
I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw huh
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take, aw huh
Nothing you would take
Everything you gave
Did I say that I need you?
Oh, Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see
No one know this more than me.
As I come clean
Nothing you would take everything you gave.
Hold me till I die
Meet you on the other side

Finding My Way

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling a little lost recently. Everything has changed in my life, and yet some things remain the same. The need to care for my children, my health and to provide financially are the mainstays, living beautifully while doing it all is my mantra. Since finding out that my main source of income would come to a halt effective June 30th, (not to mention work that I have felt very passionate about) I feel a bit like I am wandering.

I know I am capable of good and great things. I know that the world needs what I can offer, but finding the right fit and an opportunity that will allow me to shine is the trick.

It hasn’t been that long since I told you about a job search I was on, and now I am back at it again. I am happy to say that my previous employer let me go as part of a change in business plans, not because of any personal detriment. I know they are on my side. But it still feels a little lonely out here. Wandering… looking for my way.

My passion for health activism and advocacy, my love of social media and my desire to become a more educated individual all helps me to feel empowered during this time. I believe that my skills and experience will take me somewhere wonderful, but it is challenging to know where to begin the search, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, although I know it is there.

I thought I had things all mapped out. I had obtained a second job, I have been able to work from home. I was working on getting into a groove. Then boom, in an instant, everything changes. That’s the way it works for us all usually. Our lives and journeys take on a whole new direction at a moment’s notice. Just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, right? So, it’s back to the question of how we deal with it.

I’m coping. I’m searching. I am looking for direction. Meanwhile I am looking for ways to enjoy the small moments when I can. I am relishing in the fact that while I don’t feel fabulous every day, I am feeling pretty darn good. Stress is certainly taking it’s toll, but I am, all in all, doing okay. Even in the midst of hardship I have enjoyed some great personal victories. I celebrate those and fully enjoy those moments of feeling good about me.

While I am here looking for my way, managing my health, the health of my children, and keeping a level of “normalcy” in tact, I am completely open to receiving a map, a guide, or even a job offer. So, don’t be shy… feel free to share. (Smile.)