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

17 thoughts on “Stay With Me

  1. I read your blog post with tears streaming down my cheeks. As a “50-something” with a husband who won’t address his mental health issues, and having only made a handful of friends in my entire life, I feel very alone and isolated. Chronic depression doesn’t make accepting that I’m not really “friendship” material any easier.
    I’m going to send you an email with the entire contents of my comment; just too long to leave here, lol.
    If your health allows it, is there anything you can do with your children’s school as a volunteer that might help you to met other folks? I realize it’s summer break, but perhaps in the fall.

    • I look forward to your email. Only one who truly underhand the depths of loneliness can relate as you have expressed. Loneliness is so painful, in or out of a relationship. I personally think it us even more difficult to feel that loneliness while in a relationship, but then again, pain is pain is pain is pain. I hope too join some local country groups for single parents, etc to help. I SO appreciate your comment and support! (((hugs))) Here for you, too.

  2. Thanks.

    I hope you will be better.
    I understand very well what you said about pain and loneliness.
    The key is to live with such things or situations. To live despite of…

  3. Wow,The comments about social anxiety are as if i said them !I’m seeing a psychiatrist partly for depression and learning how to deal with a chronic illness…Fibromyalgia .When she aked if i wanted to treat my social anxiety i said no,to be honest my other problems are more immediate and the anxiety is part of who i am,ive had it since before i can remember as a child.I will be following your blog with interest.As you said sometimes all it takes is one online recognition or contact to make a huge difference in our lives:)

    • Thank you so much for visiting and reading. I really appreciate your comments and sharing. I am glad to know that you can relate and hope you are doing well right now!

  4. Hey Amy:

    I’m not going to say I know how you feel, I’ve been down so low I’ve sought help, but does anyone ever really know the despair of another? But we can tell when someone else is hurting, we can feel sympathy for them and we can share our strength, lend our support and encouragement.
    I love the song you’ve included in this post. I’ve played it ten times straight … (I have ADHD, I can do that and still love it). A Canadian singer/songwriter ~ Bruce Cockburn ~ wrote a song called “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” and one couplet from that song always gives me a lift:
    “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight,
    Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight”
    So start kicking, Amy,
    your friend,

  5. Hi love–sending you a hug from Kentucky. As a new mom, feeling some of that, I found refuge in our libraries—storytimes for kids, but even later, taking my kids there, browsing for books, getting out…you may find community there! Joining a community garden is another peaceful and nurturing thing that has brought me connection.

  6. Hi Amy, thanks for sharing your story with us. As I mentioned, I have been through the same thing, and your courage and spirit will get u through.
    Here is part of a Kenny Loggins song that came out after my divorce, and it hit home. It is about his divorce. and he is explaining to his children why he did it. I just thought I would share with you. BIG HUGS

    I did it for you, and the boys,
    Because love should teach you joy,
    And not the imitation,
    That your momma and daddy tried to show you.
    I did it for you, and for me,
    And because I still believe,
    There’s only one thing,
    You can never give up,
    Never compromise on,
    And that’s the real thing you need in love.

  7. Been there. Left a marriage 7 years ago. I had the chronic illness, but he had the depression and wouldn’t acknowledge or treat it. I was trying to treat my RA and had therapy to learn to live with his. For too long – but I’m loyal and had made that “in sickness and in health” promise. The transition was difficult and I see me in you. Good days and bad days, good times and bad. And yes, it was lonely. Even though I had a large group of friends, it was lonely. Although not as lonely as those years of sitting side by side watching TV with the ex husband out of my false sense of loyalty.

    It gets better.Trust me. You get more comfortable with being alone (different than lonely), you find that doors are opened and new relationships begin. And life continues and before you know it, the loneliness is a thing of the past and you’ve built a new life for yourself.

    As for me, I’m turning 50 in a couple of weeks and I say bring it on. I dreaded 20, 30 and 40, but 50 has found me to be completely happy, fulfilled and loving my life. I wish all the same for you.

  8. You write beautiful and bare all. What a gift you have. And what a blessing to have met you this week for a lunch with a totally different agenda. I too feel my circle of friends is small, but feel blessed to be manifesting the introductions of great, powerful, transparent, authentic women like you.

    • What a delight to read your comment Brenda! I am privileged to have met you, what a treat. Thank you for your kind words and for reading. I so look forward to reading over at your blog ScaredStable very soon. Let’s keep in touch. =) Again, thank you!

  9. Oh do I ever relate to loneliness and anxiety. The truth is that I never admitted either to myself until recently.

    During a search for treatment for my chronic pain, a dr. prescribed Lorazepam to help me sleep through the pain – and I discovered that anxiety had been complicating a depression-pain situation. With my anxiety (somewhat accidentally) toned down, I found it easier to cope with the day-to-day demands of being unwell.

    As for loneliness – I never would have described myself that way until meeting my current boyfriend after long stretches of single-hood and half-hearted relationships. Now, I look back at everything before him, and I can admit to myself that I was deeply, deeply lonely.

    Not that a significant other is needed to combat loneliness, the real key seems to be what you’ve already achieved: self-awareness, the courage to identify and confront the feeling.

    You sound immersed in a community of people that you respect and that value you – keep up the good work, and thanks for reminder that we will all be susceptible to loneliness, but that we can adjust our outlooks to overcome.

  10. Wow Amy, great post! We all feel things as individuals differently, but I can relate to saying or feeling lonely. I have a learning disability and quite often find things get confused in my head. I need patience and understanding and sometimes I feel I don’t get that…… but I know I do, because I have some great (but very few) friends. So I feel a tad guilty when I say that. Intimate relationships don’t always work out for me, possibly because of the confusion and needed patience/understanding. It’s hard…… but I manage to keep a smile on my face with some things I do, the few friends I have, and through my writing. Should you ever need a friend the sign on my door is always open.

  11. I know this post is old, but I’ve recently been coming to terms with the fact that I do indeed have depression – something that I cannot say out loud yet. And yet, I am incredibly lonely, dealing with chronic pain that keeps me from getting out. I rarely comment anywhere, but your stark honesty was what I needed today – so thanks for letting me know that no one is truely alone.

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