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You Asked: I'm Painfully Lonely

You Asked: I'm Painfully Lonely


Dear Sugar,

I suffered from severe depression in high school and was given medication. While on the antidepressants, I had a suicide attempt. After suffering severe withdrawals from the medication, I decided I did not want to go the medicinal route ever again. I recently moved with my daughter to a new city. I don't know anyone except her father, but we are just friends now. I have explored every avenue of making new friends — gym, mom groups, work, online ads — but have had no success. I have dated a few men but after about two weeks, I don't hear from them again.

Every night I put my child to bed and just sit and watch television. On the weekends, she and I do things together but then I'm alone again. I am starting to feel extremely depressed again from this constant loneliness. I really don't understand what's wrong with me or why I can't manage to develop any new relationships. I can't bear the idea of medication again. What can I do to meet some people and perk up?

In Need of Companionship Corinne

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Dear In Need of Companionship Corinne,

It sounds like there are actually two issues going on here. The first being your frustration and sadness from not meeting new people and the second, your propensity towards depression. Though it's easy to think of your depression as simply a product of your loneliness, I think it's more effective to consider these things separate problems that you need to approach differently.

Meeting new people is not easy for anyone, and the difficulties you're having do not reflect who you are. Recognizing that your circumstances are only temporary is incredibly important. It sounds like you're doing all the right things and putting yourself out there so don't give up now. If you can keep up a positive attitude, eventually you will start to meet new people, and really, all it takes to combat loneliness is one good friend or a serious love interest — the rest seems to fall into place.

As far as your feelings of depression go, unfortunately, they're something you'll probably have to deal with in one way or another your entire life. Learning how to manage your depression when it comes creeping back is extremely important. Speaking with a therapist to learn some coping tools could make a huge difference. On your own, start by reminding yourself that depression does not control you and that you will not always feel how you do right now. Staying hopeful is the very best thing you can do for yourself. It's not easy, but talking yourself out of negative thought processes is one of the greatest things you can learn how to do. Remember: you will get through this!

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