This morning, I realized that I know a lot of people (my Facebook connections, for example, are over 400 and I’d guess that I’ve met at least half of these folks in person). Yet, nobody has checked in with me to find out how I am doing even though I very publicly announced my recent break-up (on Facebook, too) and how much it was impacting me. People send e-hugs and “likes” (which I presume were signs to let me know they know… not that they really liked I wasn’t feeling well). Since then, I haven’t gotten any notes or emails to say “hey, just wanted to check in.” I have only one friend and she of course knows since we talk ever day via phone.
Maybe this then is what made me vulnerable to be swept off my feet by a man with lots of narcissistic traits: Social isolation. And that’s a catch-22 with the low-grade depression I tend to fall into: Caring connections would probably help keep me out of the hole and it’s incredibly challenging to care about connections when I am in the hole. As I look back over the past few years, I can see all the times where I could’ve reached out to someone with that “hey, just wanted to check in” email to check in with them after they had lost someone (whether in a break-up or through a death). I didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe because it would have taken more energy than I had after holding myself together. And, yes, there’s some shame around that, though maybe not enough to push me into the hole because I have already reached out this morning, purposely counteracting the pull of the shame. So, out of all these insights came a vow to be more open about my struggles, my loneliness, and also to reach out to others in support in the way I would like to be supported. After all that’s how friendships are built, I think…
Update about 12 hours after I wrote the above: Several people quietly reached out to me, reminding me that I am not really as alone as I think in these moments of loneliness! A big bow of gratitude to all of you!
And I also found it funny to realize that I am still craving solitude for my healing. It is interesting how close loneliness and solitude are – and I am going to explore if I can turn the next experience of loneliness into solitude, which is actually something I treasure!