03 July 2007

Overcoming Loneliness

I've talked about this before, but just needed a refresher for my own sanity.

Something that has been on my mind a lot is the concept of overcoming loneliness. It's been on my mind not just because it has shown up in other blogs recently, but because I've had some really big issues with it this past week and have been becoming more and more depressed. I've started to hermitize myself because of my depressive state, and that in turn isolates me from the world and only increases my loneliness thereby adding to my depression. It's a vicious cycle that feeds on itself trying to consume my happiness.

Why do I get lonely? I know a lot of people. I'm a crowd pleaser, so people usually like me. Why do I always feel like an outside observer? Why is it that even though I know people enjoy my company, I often feel like they don't so I don't make an effort to associate with them? Why do I look around the room when I'm at church on Sunday and think that I really have no desire to be friends with any of those people? If I'm lonely and want friends, why don't I just hang out with the ones I already have?

I was talking with a friend over lunch about being restless with my current situation. I've lived in So Cal for 7 years. I've seen it. Done it. It's a great place with plenty to do, so why do I feel like I never have anything to do? I've been in the same ward with essentially the same group of people for 3 years now. I just don't want to hang out with them any more. I want something new. Something different. I told him that if my business is not flowing well by the end of the year that I'm seriously thinking about renting out my condo and moving away. But where would I go? Would any other place be any better than the place I'm at right now? I would still have all the same problems. I would still be me. I would still be a Moho. I would still feel inadequate around other people. The only thing different would be what I saw when I walked out of my house in the morning. The rest of my life would be pretty much the same.

So I have all of these downers in my life that spiral me into loneliness and depression. I had been feeling worse and worse as the week wore on until Sunday night, when I was on my computer and my IM window popped up with a message "Hey buddy!" from AtP. He had some issues he was working through and wanted someone to talk to. Surprisingly enough, I had my loneliness issues and wanted someone to talk to. So, we complained about our problems to each other for a bit. Then a funny thing happened - I started to feel better. Eventually our conversation drifted into happier topics and by the end of the chat I was really feeling quite content.

That was great. It assuaged my loneliness. And yesterday and today I have felt really good too. And it all came to me. Not something new. Not something different. Something that I have known for a very long time, but sometimes forget about. Loneliness for me (most of the time) is a byproduct of focusing on myself too much. I was given the opportunity to sit and chat with AtP, and for a while I completely forgot about myself and my problems and focused my attention on him. I listened to what he had to say and did my best to be uplifting and encouraging. And you know what? It brought my mind out of the hole that it was in.

Being there for other people and helping them out is what it's all about. That is how I overcome loneliness.

Matthew 10:39
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Get out of yourself. Get out and help others. The loneliness goes away when you do that. I guarantee it.


Abelard Enigma said...

I know what you mean. It always perks me up when I chat with another MoHo online. But, I don't do it that often because I'm afraid to initiate chats. Being one of the oldest MoHo's makes me feel somewhat like an outsider.

Maybe we need to setup some sort of gay visiting teaching routes where we 'visit' periodically (via chats, emails, etc.) to see how the MoHo's we're assigned to are doing.

I say this half jokingly and half serious. Perhaps we should consider something like this. And not limit it to those of us who are active in the church and/or have blogs, or are even LDS at all (I know there are some non-LDS people who follow our blogs). Open it up to anyone who is interested.

Hmmmm, I'm gonna have to cogitate on this idea some more ...

Beck said...

I had lunch with a long-lost friend today, who called me out of the blue and wanted to get together to commiserate and to get caught up.

I've been feeling pretty lost and "lonely" as is common for us MOHOs and so was he... and I think our helping each other made a world of difference in both of our lives and in our restored relationship.

GET OVER IT! AND GET ON WITH IT! That's my motto.

Thanks for the inspirational post. I needed to be confirmed in my feelings today. This was perfect.

Chris said...

I struggle with loneliness and depression too at times. For some reason, yesterday was particularly bad for me. In the evening, I got on my knees and pleaded with God for help. When I was done, I didn't feel any differently. I decided to be productive by doing some cleaning. About 45 minutes later or so, I felt much better.

I am glad God will help us through our trials.

-L- said...

Loneliness for me (most of the time) is a byproduct of focusing on myself too much.

Yeah, me too. The problem is not only that I forget this, but that I just won't do anything about it. I know what I need to do, I just find it more inconvenient to lie around and feel sorry for myself. I think I'm getting better though.

Great thoughts.

playasinmar said...

Q: Everything you just said.

A: Companionship.






GeckoMan said...

I don't think that we with SSA have any special franchise on loneliness. It is a part of life, and all people deal with it one way or another. For me, the feeling of separation or loneliness fluxes in and out, often depending on my relationship with the Spirit. Loneliness has an inverse relationship to the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

If we dwell on ourselves, our inward navel, and become martyrs to SSA, then we can become depressed and detached. We may also become more susceptible to easing the pain of loneliness through immoral virtual means and lose the Spirit, which creates a downward cycle.

The solution for me is to be open to love, to pray, to love others and to serve them. I try to get outside of my loneliness and let it shrivel with neglect, to be busy doing the positive.

I like Abe's idea of Moho VT!